Q&A: The Rad Trads

I chatted with Michael from The Rad Trads about the difficulties of touring and their sound.

Q: Where did you grow up?

I’m from the suburbs of Chicago. I have a twin brother who is the drummer in the band. We grew up playing music together. I moved to New York City to go to NYU, where I met all the other guys in the band.


Q: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?

Ohh that’s a good question. I think it hit me when my brother and I when we were in an after school program called Midwest Young Artists. When we were in Freshmen, we went on our first tour with a orchestra and jazz combo in Spain. That experience touring and seeing the audiences reactions, and playing music was a life altering experience. We soon realized that when you play music, it’s a way to see the world and connect with people you would never thought you would.


Q: Is there a story behind the band name?

We kind of got started playing in a bar called Radegast in Brooklyn. That connects to the ‘RAD’ part of the name. Also, it’s play on radical traditional. We all studied Jazz in college. We started playing that kind of music with more of punk rock mentality. We would be doing a punk cover, and then play a song that was inspired by B.B. King.


Q: What is the most difficult part of being on the road?

Purely the travel. As musicians, we’re paid to travel places. Our traveling is stupid. We had a gig in Malaysia last year. It took us close to forty hours to get there. We spent about thirty six hours there, then had to fly right to a festival in Alaska. By the way, there were THREE separate flights to get us from Malaysia to Juneau.

Last weekend, we drove a couple hundred miles in a few days. It’s VERY fucking exhausting.  ::laughs:: The secret for us is that we were friends before we were a band. As bad as the travel gets, I’m doing it with people I love.


Q: What was it like filming the music video “Keith Richards and I?”

That was hilarious. We did it in February in New York City. You can’t tell but it was fifteen degrees..COLD COLD COLD! It was pretty funny running around in drag in those cold temperatures. Actually, running around in drag in general was pretty funny. I had never done it before ::laughs::


Q: Are you excited about your set at WTMD’s First Thursday tomorrow night?

Yes! The bill is great! Our bassist Mike is from Maryland originally. We’ve been down a few times. Baltimore is a very unique, artsy city on the East Coast. Big things happen there. We’re excited to kick off our summer tour and this Baltimore show will give us that momentum.

The Rad Trads perform Thursday night at WTMD’s First Thursdays concert in Canton Waterfront Park!

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