Radkey's Exciting Rise
The Brothers Radke are taking the rock world by storm, and doing it their way.
By JEB BOHN
If you’re a rock fan, you need to check Radkey out.
Imagine walking through your hometown one evening, just as the sun gives way to dusk. You hear a distant rumble, wondering if you should have grabbed an umbrella.
As you continue your stroll, you dear drums and realize—despite all indications—it’s not thunder. The bass kicks in, threatening to send the USGS on a wild goose chase. Then a guitar roars to life, its raw tone delivering a mix of riffs that’ll grow hair on your chest and melodies that’ll make you certain some majestic dinosaur has set itself ablaze.
You would pity the poor soul if the sound wasn’t so damned beautiful.
You press on, approaching a garage, its door open wide; it has to be because the sheer sonic ferocity pouring forth would threaten to blow it up and do so with magnificent aplomb.
Each step becomes more cautious than the one before; fear blossoms, the fear that getting too close will cause your eyebrows permanently fusing to your skull. You can’t stop though, the call is too strong.
Then comes a voice.
It’s deep and booming; smooth yet powerful, and it draws you closer. You look down, unsure if your feet are moving or if the auditory wizardry has conjured some divine musical spirit to carry you to the promised land.
That, my friends, is Radkey.
2016: A Simpler Time
The circus of U.S. politics aside, 2016 feels like a lifetime ago. I was younger—though not particularly young—and found myself driving around in a silver Crown Vic (R.I.P., Bernie).
In an odd-for-me move, I was listening to the radio; no CD, no Bluetooth, just those magical waves traveling through the ether. I was tuned into 99.5 (back when they played rock) and caught the tail end of “Enter Sandman.”
Then—without preface—another song came on. I was immediately struck by its energy and pulled in. It intrigued me, something that doesn’t often happen when I’m scrolling the FM band.
The rollicking intro yielded to a chunky verse; heavy toms and a thick bassline laying the foundation for vocals I initially thought were performed by Glenn Danzig.
When the chorus kicked in, the energy level blew off the knob (not sure what the hell that means, but I’ll go with it); I was hooked.
The song was “Dark Black Makeup.” The band was Radkey.
On that day, a fan was born.
When I got home, searched the web and ordered their debut LP Delicious Rock Noise on vinyl—yes, I’m one of those guys—and awaited its arrival.
Armed with the digital files that accompanied the vinyl, I played the album while taking my then-4-year-old son for a drive. The same song that got me worked its magic on him, leading to him requesting it on repeat.
Naturally, I complied, and he learned the lyrics and began singing along. Witness the birth of another fan. I won’t ignore the fact that their cover of the Teen Titans theme helped.
Who Is Radkey? Who Are Radkey?
When I’m not busy being a snobby vinyl guy, I like to learn about artists who I enjoy. Comprised of the Brothers Radke (Dee on guitar and lead vocals, Isaiah on bass and backing vocals, and Solomon on drums and backing vocals), the band had been at it for over half a decade before they came to my attention.
They went on to appear at the Download Festival in 2013, giving the band greater exposure to European audiences. This was followed by an appearance on the influential UK program Later…With Jools Holland, granting another level of public interest.
They were gaining popularity and toured relentlessly to capitalize on it. Over the years, they’ve brought their unique punk-tinged rocked to crowds from London to Omaha, sharing the stage with the likes of Descendents, L7, Frank Turner, and Jack White.
Impressive, but that’s just scratching the surface.
That’s a spectacular run, a stretch that places the band firmly on an upward trajectory.
Need further proof? Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl featured the band in his outstanding documentary What Drives Us.
For The Fans
The mark of an artist is their body of work: a timeless album, an iconic painting, a *cough* beloved novel *cough*, but the mark of character is how said artist treats their admirers.
This is where Radkey truly won my respect.
They’re very active on social media, but it’s not simply posting updates. The band frequently interacts with fans, reciprocating the love that their shown.
That may not be a rarity, though it’s refreshing to see the genuine nature of the band in this age of disposable, plastic “influencers.”
Jesus, I really don’t like that word. I feel dirty just saying it, and not in a good way.
Perhaps the best example of this is prominent collection of fan art on their website. These guys appreciate their fans and they make no secret of it. For that reason alone, I recommend that the uninitiated check them out.
It’s the perfect time because these three hard-rocking brothers from St. Joseph, Missouri are on their way up.
Where To Find Them
As always, I recommend going directly to the source. Stop by their official website, where you can find show dates, purchase tickets, and visit the Rad Shop to check out the latest merch.
You can also follow the band and check out their music on the following platforms: