Remember when rock music had just one name: Rock? This was before the days of this hardcore/posicore/emo/screamo crap. A band's style didn't have to be dissected into category, then subcategory, then clever combination of two subcategories and so on. But now, if you even hear current rock music that's reminiscent of the stuff from back in the day (pre-'90s), it is dumped into the classic-rock genre, which makes it sound, well, old. It's a world obsessed with categorizing and materializing every sparkly new musical act out there, but thankfully, Orange County band Radio Saints is back after a brief hiatus to just rawk. The days of hard partying and schmoozing for a record deal are over. More mature and less idealistic this time around, the band just wants to get back to the gritty basics.
Discussing the band's previous almost-success over pitchers of Pabst, vocalist/bass player Derrick says, "They wanted to turn us into a rock boy band. It was all about image. The suits told me to grow a goatee and start wearing fedoras."
"We forgot why we even started," chimes in vocalist/guitarist Ryan. "When you're contractually bound, you lose creativity. It became more of a 'have-to' rather than a 'want-to.' You've got to find a balance."
For a band that has been through so much—from recording in rat-infested studios to playing Joe Jackson's birthday party at Neverland Ranch—it's impressive the Radio Saints have managed not only to crawl out from the seedy underbelly of the music industry alive, but also to regroup and start again. "We needed a break from one another," says lead guitarist Brett. (Drummer Jason was absent due to being stuck at work. Or maybe he hates Pabst.) "Even if we weren't playing music, we would still be friends. We're like a family."
"In order to have a comeback, you have to be successful in the first place!" Derrick adds with a laugh.
Citing such influences as Guns N' Roses and Butch Walker, the Radio Saints claim they are a "people's band," that their target audience is the blue-collar working crowd as opposed to the stereotypical Orange County "spoiled-rich kids."
But if the band is so down on the record industry, why do they still call themselves the Radio Saints? "We're just that arrogant," declares Derrick.
"Were not opposed to the idea of success, but the record industry is full of disappointment," explains Ryan. "Big expectations take away from everything else, everything that matters."
What matters to them is their new, five-song CD of new material, which they'll debut at their upcoming show. It's honest-to-goodness rock spiced with two vocalists and the occasional piano.
"We're really anxious to play live again," says Ryan. "It's something we know we're good at."
Radio Saints perform with Night Child and the Cutthroats at the Blue Caf, 17208 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (562) 592-1302; www.thebluecafe.com. Fri. Call for time. $10.
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