Updated: Oct 1, 2020
We chat US Elections & having a cold one with Living Color's Vernon
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
I’m John Malkin, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the Chicago-based band The Simple Radicals. We are a retro-rock band that combines sounds and styles from some of our favorite bands like Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Green Day and Cheap Trick.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE?
We just released a song and video called “Rich Man Wanna Be King” which provides a candid and somewhat mocking lampoon at our current president. It was just released on YouTube and it’s already racked up 100,000 views and climbing. Our album, "New Revolution" (https://open.spotify.com/album/4rgBmqnv7h3p5gYPGjiXfU) has been out for about a year. For those Living Colour fans, you will recognize the guitar-God Vernon Reid who played lead guitar on our track "Medicate".
WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?
“Rich Man Wanna Be King” was written as a general statement about the corruption of money in politics and politicians who are purely interested in using their office to enrich themselves. The video just made so much sense to use Trump as the proverbial lampoon. Our album, "New Revolution", is our most personal and poignant project that tries to capture what is going on in society today.
CAN YOU SUM UP THE ALBUM IN A FEW WORDS?
“New Revolution” is about the extremes of what people are going through today and their efforts to instil a revolution of change. About using their voices to create the catalyst for change and to better their lives and society as a whole.
WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
Pearl Jam’s “Ten” album. Life changing. Probably the most talented, electrifying and inspiring band in the last 30 years. I’m absolutely mesmerized with the writing of Eddie Vedder 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.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?
We’re loving the reaction to our video “Rich Man Wanna Be King” is getting. A lot of people are having a dialogue about the video and their political beliefs on the post on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SimpleRadicals/. A lot of passion on both sides of the aisle for sure!
WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
I love the outdoors…especially the mountains. Hiking, kayaking, running. And even just staring at the mountains. There’s something about mountains that stimulates my creative juices.
DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
I always have a little bit of anxiety before I go on. But once we plug in and the crowd starts to get into the music I get totally pumped and play off the energy of the crowd. There’s nothing better than sharing your own music with new and old fans.
HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?
I developed the concept and wrote the songs for the “New Revolution” album and began laying down the construct of the songs in the studio such as the rhythms, lead beds, drum sequencing and scratch vocal tracks. John Griffin and I played in many bands over the years and I reached out to him to on Facebook and asked if he would listen to the tracks and consider laying down the leads. He loved the tracks and laid down some absolute incredible shreds and then rest is history. The Simple Radicals were formed.
HOW DO YOU WRITE? - DO YOU HAVE A KEY SONGWRITER, OR DO YOU ALL WORK TOGETHER?
I wrote all the music and lyrics for the album “New Revolution” as well as “Rich Man Wanna be King.” My fellow Radical, John Griffin wrote all the lead guitar shreds in the lead beds that I created for him. I gave him an open canvas to work from and he painted some amazing pictures on each of the tracks. We’re collaborating on some new material from the beginning. It’s really a fulfilling process and we’re having a blast contributing ideas on the songs.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Life as we see and know it. When you distil it down to the basics and just take a look around, you’ll see that it’s so dynamic and malleable. Things develop and change right in front of your eyes every second. The challenge and opportunity are to capture that energy and decide what you want to do with it. It’s literally an open book with so much to write about.
WHAT IS NEXT?
We’ve been quite busy during the pandemic and hoping to play live as soon as it’s safe to do so. We’re about to release a wicked cover version of Jefferson Starship’s “White Rabbit” where we collaborated with an incredible husband/wife duo called Che-Val. We’ll soon be releasing a quarantine video to our song “The Optimist”. And, we’re about to release a podcast called “Music & A Brew” where we crack open a cold one with different musical artists. So far we’ve had one with Kenny Aronoff (drummer for John Mellencamp), Todd Sucherman of Styx, Vernon Reid of Living Colour, Daxx Nielsen of Cheap Trick, and Jackie “the Joke Man” Martling from the Howard Stern Show.
PLEASE TELL US ANY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS SO WE CAN SHARE.
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