Photo by Matt Radke
Radkey has been a rock band since 2010 and a band of brothers for life.
The three homeschooled Radke siblings grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, listening to their dad’s vast record collection and teaching themselves to play instruments.
With Darrion “Dee” Radke, 25, on guitar and lead vocals; Isaiah Radke, 23, on bass; Solomon Radke, 21, on drums; and their father and manager Matt Radke driving the tour van, Radkey is truly a family affair — right down to the last letter. The letter “Y,” added to their surname, is key to their rad band name.
“It’s so much easier for us and doesn’t bother us at all,” Isaiah said of working so closely with his family. “I think getting along always makes things easier.”
Radkey recently released a new single “St. Elwood” via Red Music, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. The label describes the song as guitar-driven with thumping bass and reminiscent of the 1990s Seattle sound.
“It’s about struggling and trying to play venues in your hometown, but you have to travel an hour or two away to play shows in other cities that are willing to give a young band a chance,” Isaiah said of the track.
“We are excited and thankful for the opportunity to be on such a cool tour,” Isaiah said.
As teens, the dedicated brothers rehearsed at home and made impressive strides in their music career straightaway. Radkey played its first show opening for Fishbone in 2011 and released back-to-back EPs — Cat & Mouse in June 2013 on actor Adrian Grenier’s Wreckroom Records and Devil Fruit in October 2013 on Little Man Records.
The EPs promptly propelled the band from performing small gigs to high-profile shows including Riot Fest, Afropunk, SXSW, and the UK’s Download Festival. And the trio was tapped early on to tour with artists including Rise Against, the Joy Formidable, Touche Amore.
In 2015, Radkey performed at Coachella and released their debut album Dark Black Makeup, which was produced by Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys) and recorded, in part, at a studio in San Francisco’s Mission District in spring of 2014. The album was rereleased as Delicious Rock Noise in 2016.
“St. Elwood” is the most recent in a string of tracks Radkey released in 2018. The punk-tinged anthem “Basement” made several Spotify playlists. The band changed its tune with “Not Smart,” which veers from its psych-punk sound by adding elements of pop, according to Red Music. The songs will appear on Radkey’s upcoming album expected in 2019.
“We really don’t have a signature sound,” Isaiah said. “We just make the music we want to hear. We’ve always had a mix of different stuff.”
Radkey has been on the road consistently this year, having toured with Jack White and Descendents. The group was notably part of Mastercard’s “Start Something Priceless” campaign, which encourages people to “pursue a passion or purpose” and to turn adversity into strength. The campaign includes a docuseries and commercials and shares the journey of several emerging musicians who rose above bias or disability to realize their potential. Radkey, SZA, and other artists cover Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover,” the campaign’s theme song.
The Damned, Radkey, The Darts
Nov. 1, 2018