A decade has made all the difference for three brothers in a punk band from St. Joseph.
In 2010, Dee, Isaiah and Solomon Radke picked up their instruments and formed a band in their former home in St. Joseph. This year, it will open for the Foo Fighters for its monstrous “D.C. Jam” concert and perform as part of Coheed and Cambria's “S.S. Neverender” cruise.
Before all that, Radkey wanted to come home to play some songs off its latest album, “No Strange Cats” (now available on streaming services and vinyl through a Kickstarter campaign), as well as a few new, genre-bending singles like the breezy acoustic song “Bend” and the punchy “Portraits.”
Radkey will perform with the Columbia, Missouri, rock band The Many Colored Death at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 13, at The Metropolitan, 107 S. Sixth St.
While the band is busy playing a variety of shows in the Midwest, bassist Isaiah Radke III took some time to talk about its success, newfound independence and what it feels like to be invited by the Foo Fighters to open for them. Some of the conversation has been condensed for space.
St. Joe Live: You guys have hit the 10-year mark as a band. Does it feel like it’s been that long?
Isaiah Radke III: Pretty much. At this point, it feels like we’ve been doing it for as long as I can really remember. The first real kind of thing we did outside of the house was being in a band, and we were really young at the time. So now it’s just like, ‘Wow,’ If I think about it, I’ve just been doing this for a good amount of my adult life — pretty much all of it.
SJL: Growing up in a band and on the road, what was that like?
IR: It was really cool ... The homeschool stuff was pretty crazy, but it was a really good way to get all the influences that we have and have all the time to practice and focus on kind of being really tight and stuff. We just weren’t super good at, like, social stuff. So getting out on the road and, like, going at it hardcore was really a big deal for us and forming us and getting us ready to be real kind of adults out there and a little more like normal.
SJL: The last time we spoke was when you guys had a billboard in Times Square. Since then, you opened for Jack White, you’re going to play on the Coheed and Cambria cruise and play the Foo Fighters’ concert. What have the past two years been like?
IR: It’s been kind of crazy. We had the opportunity to kind of do our own thing. Like, we got our label thing with Sony. We’re able to take control of our own career and just started playing a bunch of extra shows, playing as many shows as we could because we were in charge of booking them. And we were able to kind of build our fan base a lot more since we are making the calls. And things have been really sweet since then.
SJL: So you’ve seen the music industry from both the inside and the outside and your conclusion is that it’s better for you to be independent?
IR: Yeah, because it’s all about connections. Once you’ve been in the major label world for a while, like a lot of years, you just make a bunch of connections. As long as you are smart about things, you have built relationships with people, and you don’t really need any middlemen. You can just kind of do it yourself.
If there ever is a label that comes through, it’s not so much about like, ‘Oh my God. We need this label. So we can become a real band and get a career.’ We’ve already kind of been through all that stuff. So now, if a label ever comes around, (it’s) like ‘OK, but is this gonna boost us even more than what we’re doing by ourselves?’ Now you have to kind of have that conversation, as opposed to, like, ‘Oh, I’m just so stoked anyone’s even talking to us right now.’ It’s more like, ‘OK, cool. You want to help? Like, how can you help us?’ You know, it actually has to be a real good thing for us. Otherwise, it’s like, why would we stop doing this thing by ourselves?
SJL: With the show coming up in St. Joe, what should people expect?
IR: It’s gonna be really cool because we haven’t been there in a minute. We’ve got just a really crazy set and a lot of new music. And we’ve never played this venue we’re playing so it’ll be interesting seeing us outside of the normal spots.
A whole lot of shows don’t come through St. Joe. So we try to make make sure we get down every once in a while and kind of play the show that we’ve kind of crafted while playing around the world.
SJL: Speaking of performing around the globe, what was it like getting an invite to play with Foo Fighters? How did that happen?
IR: We got the invite for it. It was really an amazing day on the road to get that invite. It’s just amazing to be validated by pretty much the biggest rock band in the world. They’re massively influential on the band, so to be acknowledged by them is pretty much one of the major goals we started with when we were living in St. Joe, just starting the band in our little green room. It’s just crazy — really, really crazy.
Tickets to the concert are $7 online at eventbrite.com or $10 at the door. The show is open to everyone 21 and older.