Who are the members of The Simple Radicals?
o John Malkin – Lead vocals, guitar
o John Griffin – Lead guitar, vocals
o James Page – Bass guitar
o Griff Johnson – drums, vocals
How & When did The Simple Radicals form?
I (John Malkin) developed the concept and wrote the songs last year for the “New Revolution” album and began laying down the construct of the songs in the studio such as the rhythms, lead beds, drums and vocal tracks. I reached out to my fellow Radical John Griffin who I played in a band with a few years ago and asked 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. The Simple Radicals was formed.
Where was the first place The Simple Radicals performed?
We just finished our album “New Revolution” and were asked to play the AMB festival outside of Chicago, Illinois. John and I had to pull together a drummer and bass player to play live with us and we rehearsed all the songs on the album in one afternoon. We totally rocked the house. It was insane!
What inspired each of you to start music?
Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam 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. When I heard Pearl Jam’s "Ten" album I studied it day and night and still study it to this day. It truly had an influence on how I write and construct my music.There are so many bands that have influenced us over the years including Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Iggy Pop, Pink Floyd and Cheap Trick.
What’s the story behind the new song?
The song and video “Rich Man Wanna Be King” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehjT9RZdpe4) provides a candid and somewhat scathing lampoon at Trump. It was just released on YouTube and it’s already racked up 110,000 views and climbing.
What inspired you to put together a new album & what it is all about?
Our album, "New Revolution" (https://open.spotify.com/album/4rgBmqnv7h3p5gYPGjiXfU) is about the extremes of what people are going through today and their efforts to instill a revolution of change in our society. It’s about using their voices to create the catalyst for change and to better their lives and society as a whole. The guitar-God Vernon Reid from the band Living Colour plays lead on the track "Medicate". Wait until you hear his shredding.
Will you be touring to support the new album? If so, when?
We had an amazing 2020 lined up to support the album including playing two showcases at SXSW, playing festivals with Jefferson Starship, Puddle of Mudd, Molly Hatchet and Blackfoot, and starting a tour in Chicago. But it all was nixed due to the pandemic. We’re on the docket to play SXSW showcases next year as well as the festivals that were canceled so we’re excited about that. We’re planning to play live as soon as the apocalypse is over.
What is your song writing process?
I see a lot of images and moods when I write. Certain chord progressions, finger pickings and riffs often direct me on how the song is constructed and then the lyrics start to flow. It’s a bizarre process but it works for me. I actually write a lot of my songs on an acoustic guitar. Even riffs such as the ones on “New Revolution” and “Medicate”. I feel that if it sounds good on an acoustic then it’s going to sound even better when it’s plugged in.
What’s your first thoughts when you get up on stage?
My first thought is how much respect I have for the audience in front of us. They took the time out of their busy lives to come see us. Or they happen to be in the venue when we showed up to play and they just want to hear good music.
Where was the first venue you played?
The first gig we played as The Simple Radicals was at the Annual Artist, Musicians and Band Festival at the Penny Road Pub in Barrington, Illinois. Great venue with a fantastic crowd who totally welcomed us.
What is your most memorable moment from any live performances?
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!
Describe the atmosphere when you’re performing
We love to perform live and our fans know that. We feed off their energy and passion and try to give it right back to them in the way we play our music. We also try to interact with the audience as much as we can since our songs are so personal to many. There is nothing more rewarding than watching people sing your lyrics back to you and lose themselves in your music. It’s intoxicating.
What band would you like to perform with the most?
We would love to perform with the Foo Fighters or Pearl Jam. We’re a retro/alt band that combines sounds and styles from some of our favorite classic/alt-rock bands like the Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam.
Will you be touring in the United Kingdom any time soon?
We would absolutely love to tour the UK. I wish it could be sooner than later but it’s even hard to go into other states in the US right now without having to follow quarantine rules