By: Patrick McKenna, Staff Writer / Street Punk
Preceding even the Ramones, Death—a punk band out of Detroit in 1971, and the focus of the ace documentary “A Band Called Death”—provided some of the most revolutionary music ever heard; encompassing the speed and fury that would become a cornerstone of the late 70s punk movement in California, New York, and Washington D.C. Credit has yet to be given to Death on behalf of the work they did for punk. However, the thrashing, eccentric music they created wasn’t what made them so unique at the time, their distinction arose from the fact that they three African-American brothers. When the connotation of being black in the early 70s music business was “R&B or not for me,” the brothers rebelled, leaving their mark for all to see. In our present age, the idea of a band made up of metal and classic hard rock enthusiast all of whom are African American brothers is still moderately odd. The general assumption is hip-hop holds a special place for African Americans—with little room for deviation if commercial success is desired. Radkey, Missouri’s own rabble-rousing punk rockers, is here to prove this stereotype wrong as loudly as possible. The band is made up of guitarist—Bad Brains front man lookalike—Dee (19), bassist Isaiah (17), and drummer Solomon (15). With a tight-but-dirty sound resembling the Misfits, the Who, and the Orwells (another young up and coming Midwest punk band), Radkey has the high energy to match the tenacious nature of their music. Dee channels his Danzig with baritone howls of anger and destruction, while the concrete rhythm section of Isaiah and Solomon provide an intensive-meets-intimate sound.
The baby-faced brothers formed their band with the intentions most classic punk bands held in the past—for something to do that was expressive and fun. Their appearance at Mojo’s in mid-September was the climax to their first official tour, and the looks on each members face said exactly how happy they are doing what they love. With evident influences stemming from 70s hardcore punk bands to 90s alternative-rock, Radkey’s sound combines a terrifyingly fast and reckless instrumental breaks with melodic choruses sung at that captivatingly low drawl—all of which are basic punk elements. Rebellious in its nature, the music Radkey makes seems to be facing a reemergence in the underground garage music scene.
Just as their founding fathers, Death, did so long ago, Radkey moves towards bringing classic punk back to a well-deserving music scene: starting with Columbia. Watch out for these brothers—you wont have to strain yourself to hear them.
See just what I’m talking about as the brothers perform “Cat & Mouse,” courtesy of Wreckroom Records:
Patrick is currently a freshman majoring in journalism. He’s originally from Elmhurst, Illinois. He listens to an absurd amount of music, ranging from classic rock, pitchforks top picks, or even some soultastic Al Green. He hopes you understand his strange vocabulary and intensive love of strange music.