The Radishes are a San Francisco/Los Angeles based band with an attacking sound that has been described as Nirvana meets Motorhead. Although musical comparisons are easy to come by, vocalist/guitarist Paul Stinson likens their sound as White Stripes meets the Stooges meets NIN.   Not too shabby.  Toss in the Radishes fiery vocals and their ominous song-writing with loads of pop, punk and metal, and you have an act that could be headlining the big festival stages if they weren’t doing it the small “Do It Yourself” route, in part due to Stinson’s self admitted "laziness."

Composed of Stinson ( vox, guitar), Scrote (guitar, bass),  Paul Barker  (bass, noise) and Rey Washam (drums), it’s the Radishes’ veteran chops that have enamored the quartet as a worthy voice. Barker was the bass player for Ministry, Revolting Cocks and Lard, while  Washam manned the skins for Ministry, Scratch Acid and Rapeman. Meanwhile The Radishes have enlisted Wayne Kramer of the MC5 on an EP tentatively set for release in Winter, 2007.  With all things looking good on their tour of duty and their recent full length, Good Machine making waves, Glide had a chance to kick the truth around with Stinson.

Your sound has been described as Nirvana meets Motorhead.  Why don’t you set the record straight – it’s who meets who?

We definitely like the Motorhead reference so let’s keep that.  I can see how my voice gets likened to Kurt, which is great, but our music is a little more along the lines of White Stripes meets The Stooges meets NIN.  Recently someone suggested a little Thin Lizzy too, which I don’t mind at all.  That’s a lot of “meeting” I suppose, but you should never ask the band to describe their sound!

Tell us about your new album- Good Machine.  Is there a single style or sound you were going for and was there a central theme or message? 

It’s funny because I see that album as almost a transition album, even though it was our first full length release.  We did a prior EP (Sophia) with a different drummer and with me and the engineer trading off on bass and in a lot of ways I think of that as the sort of seminal Radishes sound.  But on Good Machine we had the chance to work with an amazing drummer, Earl Harvin, and I was experimenting with a few other “types” of songs.  For instance, we personally really love the song “Killers & Romans,” and in fact we just made a video for it which should be out any day, but that’s not the type of song that we’re generally associated with.  That kind of song really taps into my Nick Cave and Television and some other influences.   So I would have to say that, for me, Good Machine is partly an album about learning how much we wanted to make really loud, hard, garagey rock music.  And I think the lesson learned is that we tend to be best at that.  The new EP that we just recorded with Paul Barker, Rey Washam and Wayne Kramer will have some more stuff in that direction as well, with a few little quirks thrown in just to keep it interesting and new.  I tend to get bored pretty easily and you’ll probably hear that in the different types of songs that pop up.

How did you hook up with Paul Barker and Rey Washam of Ministry?

Our bass/guitar player/producer Scrote (yeah, that’s his name) had been playing and recording with Paul and Rey over the past year and a producer that they were working with suggested that they (as a three piece) hook up with Wayne Kramer.  That particular idea never worked out, but subsequently it seemed like a natural fit for Paul and Rey to start playing with The Radishes and after that it was just a short jump to the idea to bring Wayne on board.  Plus, Wayne had heard some Radishes stuff and liked it so . . . .

You worked with Wayne Kramer of the MC5 on the Strychnine EP, what words of advice did he provide and how did he develop the Radishes’ sound?

Wayne is the consummate professional, an amazing guitar player and a super nice guy to boot.  A funny story about the Strychnine session is that we scheduled it for a weekend in L.A. and everybody cleared their schedules (which, as you can imagine with these guys, were pretty packed) and we all showed up at the studio and recorded not a single note because, in layman’s terms, the board blew up.  Amazingly, we were able to get everybody back the very next weekend, even Wayne, who had to fly to Spain to play a music festival and basically showed up to the session with no sleep and not sure what time zone he was in.  One thing a lot of people don’t know about Wayne is that, apart from being the lead guitar player in the MC5, he’s also a very talented and accomplished player in many other genres, including jazz.  I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum – strictly guitar riffs for dumbies – so having Wayne’s knowledge of scales and modes working with my basic rock riffs turned out to add a great, weird, and strangely complementary component to the songs.  It’s hard to explain, you’ll just have to hear the new EP.  Other than that, the main thing I learned from him is that I really need to get this pedal he was using called The Death Rattle.  Rock n roll.

You went the DIY route with Good Machine.  It appears to be the opposite way to go in terms of distribution and PR support.  Are you happy with the decision and why did you decide to go this route?

I hesitate to admit this to anyone but one of my main motivations (or lack thereof) is laziness.  Sure we could have toured the country and sold CDs at shows and worked out a deal with a distribution company, but I’m just not quite that on the ball.  And, frankly, I’m not looking for too much out of the music business at this point beyond my own artistic satisfaction and that of the people I work with.  (well, o.k., I also aim to please the audience.)  Not that I don’t want to get our music out there, because I do, and I think people should hear it and when they hear it they’ll love it.  But I’m not too concerned how many people hear about it, or how fast.  I’m more a fan of word of mouth, and I think that, to a certain extent, it’s good if people start talking about you and the buzz starts that way, rather than relying too much on “PR.”   Don’t get me wrong, we do have CD Baby distribution and plenty of digital availability (e.g., iTunes, SNOCAP, Napster, etc.), which at this point in time puts our music in way more places than old-school physical distribution ever would.  Eventually we’ll also probably have normal physical distribution and probably a label (potentially with the new EP) but I haven’t really felt the need or inclination to make that happen through my own efforts.  Did I mention I’m really lazy?

What’s been the live performance highlight of 2007 for the Radishes?

Definitely the reopening night of the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco.  This is a legendary club which was reopened by the original booker Tambre Bryant and we were literally the first band to take the stage at the Mab since it closed back in the 80’s.  It was also memorable for being our first live show with Paul Barker and Rey Washam.

What’s next for The Radishes?

Wow, lots.  We’ve got the new EP coming out soon, probably in January or so.  We’ve got the video for Killers & Romans very nearly finished and ready to release, and we’re also planning on working on a new video for another song from Good Machine, maybe Hook Me Up.  We’re setting up shows right now for the West Coast and, as always, I’d like to go back into the studio to do some more recording.  Scrote also works with a professional band with a horn section, female backup singers, keyboard, the whole nine yards, and we’re thinking about recording some sort of huge, over the top operatic type thing, Radishes style of course.  But that means I need to start thinking about writing songs again and that usually takes me awhile because of the laziness factor I’ve mentioned several times.  But definitely lots to come from The Radishes.


Radishes Web Site

Good Machine MP3

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