EMQ’s with THE SIMPLE RADICALS
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Chicago, Illinois based Retro-Rock band, The Simple Radicals. Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist, John Malkin, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
I’m John Malkin, lead vocalist/guitarist for the band The Simple Radicals. We’re a retro-rock band that combines sounds and styles from some of our favourite classic/alt-rock bands, like Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Pink Floyd, and Cheap Trick. I developed the concept and wrote the songs for the “New Revolution” album (www.open.spotify.com/album/4rgBmqnv7h3p5gYPGjiXfU) and began laying down the construct of the songs in the studio. I reached out to John Griffin, who I played in a band with a few years ago, to ask if he would listen to the tracks and consider laying down the leads. He loved the tracks, and laid down some incredible shreds, and the rest is history. We brought in James on bass, and Griff on drums, and The Simple Radicals were formed.
How did you come up with your band name?
The Simple Radicals more or less came out of the way my lead guitarist John Griffin, and I, look at life and music. We’re both non-conformists and non-conventional. We like to look at things differently. Stay simple. But think radical. Hence The Simple Radicals.
What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?
We’re based out of the United States in Chicago, Illinois. We’re so blessed to live in such a rich and vibrant city, with an incredible music scene. Rock, blues, reggae, metal, punk. The city is so versatile and filled with amazing musicians. Chicago produced rock icons like Eddie Vedder, Billy Corgan, and blues legends such as Buddy Guy, and Muddy Waters. In fact, Chicago blues is what bands like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin modelled themselves on.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our album, “New Revolution”! It has the guitar-God, Vernon Reid, from the band Living Colour, playing lead on the track ‘Medicate’. The album is about the extremes of what people are going through today, and their efforts to instil a revolution of change. It’s about using the power of their voice to create the catalyst for change, to better their lives, and society as a whole.
Medicate (Official Video) – Featuring Lead Guitar by Vernon Reid
Who have been your greatest influences?
Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Green Day and Cheap Trick.
What first got you into music?
As soon as I heard the power chords of bands like AC/DC, Pearl Jam, and UFO, I knew I wanted to play music. I was just blown away by the simplicity and complexity of their music, and how it brought me to another world. I actually started out as a drummer, and played in several bands, before moving to guitar.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Eddie Vedder is my musical hero. I’m mesmerized with his writing and try to capture the messaging, passion, and energy that he does in his songs. If I can even come within a million miles of that I’d consider it a success. Pearl Jam’s “Ten” album was life changing.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Coachella in California. It’s a great big melting pot of A-list music, art, and some of the coolest people in the world.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
A guy wanted me to sign a black pick with a black marker.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
The Simple Radicals can’t thank you enough for all of your continued support of our band. We hope to see you playing live as soon as the apocalypse is over.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
So many! But if I had to choose one, I’d bring back Kurt Cobain. Just to thank him for all he did to help shape rock music.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Playing live. I feed off the energy and passion of the audience, and try to give it right back to them, in the way we play our music… There is nothing more rewarding than watching people lose themselves in your music. It’s intoxicating. And honestly, I haven’t found anything that I hate about being a musician…yet.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I wish there were more terrestrial and satellite radio stations that played music from new and up and coming rock bands. Stations used to have programs that were dedicated to discovering and providing exposure to new bands. Seems like that is few and far between these days.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Pearl Jam “Ten”.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Vinyl by far. I love hearing the crackling of the stylus on an album. Plus holding the album and reading the liner notes. Nothing better.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
We were so fortunate to play the iconic Cutting Room in New York City last December, which is owned by the actor Chris Noth. What an amazing place, with incredible sound, stage, and vibe. Other bands that have played there include John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Sting, Sheryl Crow, and David Bowie. And we rocked the house!
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
If I didn’t have music, I’d probably be selling hats with Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
All of Pearl Jam. And I’d cook…nah…I’d order in.
What’s next for the band?
We have a lot going on and coming up. We continue to push our album, “New Revolution”. We just released a song and video called ‘Rich Man Wanna Be King’ which provides a scathing lampoon of President Trump. It was just released on YouTube and it’s already racked up 200,000 views and climbing.
Our video “New Revolution” has already racked up over 60,000 views and climbing.
We’re about to release a wicked cover version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”, where we collaborated with an incredible husband/wife team called Che-Val. We’ll be releasing a quarantine video to our song “The Optimist”. And we’re about to release a podcast called “Music & A Brew”, where we crack open a cold one with musical artists including Kenny Aronoff (drummer for John Mellencamp and tons of others), Todd Sucherman (Styx), Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Daxx Nielsen (Cheap Trick), and Jackie “the Joke Man” Martling, from the Howard Stern Show.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
You can check us out on Spotify:
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Um…what’s a Jaffa Cake?
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Radical.
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