Discovery: Radkey

Published October 10, 2013

ABOVE: (LEFT TO RIGHT) SOLOMON RADKE, ISAIAH, RADKE, AND DEE RADKE. PHOTO COURTESY OF PHIL KNOTT.

“Originally we were going to be the Primadonalds,” Isaiah Radke tells us of the rock-‘n’-roll band he plays in with his two brothers, Solomon and Dee. “But we didn’t want people to call us the Prima Donnas.” Instead, the siblings decided on a variation of their last name: Radkey.

Although none of the brothers are old enough to legally drink, they have been playing together for over three years—since Solomon asked if he could borrow Isaiah’s bass guitar for a covers band. “I decided that I wanted to play my bass,” Isaiah explains over the phone from his parents’ house. “That’s how it started. Just because I wanted to use what was mine and learn.” Their goal is a simple one: “You know all the music like Nickelback? We basically want to end that. That’s false rock.”

They recorded their first EP, Cat & Mouse, at Adrian Grenier’s Brooklyn DIY Studio, The Wreckroom. Next week, they will release their second EP, Devil Fruit, and we’re pleased to premiere their new single “Little Man,” below. An album is, of course, in the works.

AGE(s): 18 (Isaiah), 20 (Solomon), and 15 (Dee)

HOMETOWN: St. Joseph, Missouri

A GOOD ROCK SONG: Has to be loud. I believe that a good song is catchy. It doesn’t have to be, but that’s the way I like to write songs. A-Ha’s “Take On Me”—I consider that the perfect song.

CHILDHOOD AMBITION: I was going to be a divorce lawyer. It just seemed like a lot of fun to argue with people and dig up dirt on people and stuff like that. Would it get depressing? Maybe. Maybe I’m just a really bad person and would enjoy it.

ADULTHOOD AMBITION: I’d love to do Radkey until I die. Soundtracking would be fun. I’ve always wanted to be an actor, actually—even before I was a musician. I have put it on hold. But maybe I’ll get a chance someday.

FAVORITE FAMILY BAND:  Oasis. Aren’t they brothers? I dig that.

BROTHERLY LOVE: Sol’s the quiet one, I’m the outgoing, funny one, and Dee is the…other quiet one. Are we competitive? Not really—unless you count video games. We always got along. We were homeschooled, so it helped out a lot. We went to real school for one year and I hated it. I hated the kids. I could not stand it. Maybe I was already too weird. I just didn’t like that no one knew Led Zeppelin. I had to get out of there. I was eight.

THE FIRST SHOW: Our first show was in Miriam, Kansas, opening for Fishbone. It was a really big deal to us. We should not have been on that bill, but the other band dropped out and they asked us if we could play 30 minutes. They didn’t ask us how old we were or if we had ever played a show, but somehow we got on that bill. People took us seriously from then on. I was 15. Did we have enough songs? Kind of. I mostly just talked—not mostly, but I made jokes that were good enough to keep people occupied while we played, like, a seven-song set.

HECKLERS: I usually put them in the right place, because I’m much more clever than some drunk heckler. I actually like when it happens, because I like being a dick to people. I like having a reason to be mean to somebody. Especially if they’re trying to interrupt me at a show. So it’s almost fun to be a dick to drunk hecklers. I enjoy it.

N.I.G.G.A (Not Okay)“: There’s this black kid and he went to a mostly white school. He would deal with the self-deprecating humor and would let people call him “nigga”—the white dudes. I feel like that was just really shitty and disrespectful. How can you be friends with such people? You can’t turn such a disgusting word into something positive, no matter how hard you try. He would let that happen and it just made me sick, so we decided to write a song about that type of thing. While this song won’t end racism or people saying that, I just want people to know there is a percentage of people who think it’s not cool. Hopefully people can play that song and slowly understand that’s not a cool thing to do, whereas I don’t think there’s anything else out there telling people.

Most of the time I’ll get frat-boy types [coming up to me]: “You know man, I totally understand that, I relate to that,” and there’s no way they can possibly relate to that. But there was one guy, he was a white dude, who came up to me and he said one of the best things. He said, “I can’t relate to the song, but I really appreciate it.” And that was great, that he understood it.

GROWING UP: We’re going to be the money source and it’s really scary. But you never get anywhere unless you put yourself out there, so we’re really putting ourselves out there. My dad’s going to be our manager—he’s been on every tour so far.He’s totally cool. He actually makes everything easier because he does all the talking, comes to business stuff, and we just get to not worry about it. For instance, I woke up an hour ago and I had forgotten I had the interview, so he wakes me up and tells me what I have to do. I just hang out and write music.

DEVIL FRUIT COMES OUT ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15. FOR MORE ON RADKEY, VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.