Ok ok so here is the story of the band Radical Dads. For starters, Radical Dads is Lindsay Baker, Chris Diken, and Robbie Guertin. So now you have that info. Important to note is that we met in the late 1990s when we were all in college in the Northeast. I’m not going to say which colleges, but rest assured they were smallish and we majored in subjects that are, among the creative class, completely clichéd. But some of us happen to be putting those degrees to real actual use today, so go figure.
Back during those Northeastern collegiate years, we were all friends on account of liking similar cultural things and rebelling against similar institutional things. We were listening to bands that were au courant in certain circles at the time, such as the Pixies, Built To Spill, Modest Mouse, Sleater-Kinney, the Lilys, Pavement, The Clean, and Yo La Tengo. During the course of this liking/rebelling/listening, the three of us began to play music together in different combinations and with different aesthetic goals. One of the combinations was a two-guitars-and-drums arrangement, which is hard evidence that we may have some kind of twisted predisposition for basslessness. Or maybe that we want each instrument to be critical, without which the whole enterprise would fall apart. Or maybe a three-person band is just extremely pleasant logistically, in terms of synching schedules and traveling in vehicles. Choose your favorite reason.
The next thing to know is that, after college, we all moved apart and did separate stuff for a while. Which is what people do after college — they take time to “find themselves” and/or take foolish artistic risks to “make it in the biz” and/or take an unsatisfying job for the health insurance in case “something bad happens.” Robbie played in the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah during this time. In 2007, because of a variety of factors, we were all living in Brooklyn, NY, which is also a complete and brutal cliché that hurts to type. At that point we were overtaken by flashbacks to the golden youthful days and started playing music together again. We made it an official band with a name that we liked because it has internal rhyme. Plus it’s an homage to our actual dads.
This is going to sound overly earnest and also probably trite, but we didn’t (and still don’t) try to achieve any particular sound or stylistic goal in our music. Rather the sole criterion by which any song passes muster is that we like it. We do not try to write songs; the songs fall out of us. Later on we look at them and notice ideas and themes, but primarily we try to entertain ourselves without thinking too hard in regards to what anything is “about” or why we are doing something. Life is filled with hard thinking so music is a chance to not do that.
After a while we had a bunch of songs, and those songs became the album called Mega Rama, which was named after a ship that pirates took over and renamed. That came out in 2011 on Loud Baby Records and featured art by Michael Deforge. We always ask artists we like to do the cover art — that is important to us.
The next year we had a few more songs and we wanted to make another physical product-object, so we put out theSkateboard Bulldog 7-inch, named after a canine encountered at a local skateboarding facility. Matt Furie drew it.
In 2013, we released a full-length album called Rapid Reality, which gets its name from the misreading of a real estate business sign in New York City. It’s also about film and forward motion. It was released on Uninhabitable Mansions and somehow we convinced Dana Schutz to lend us an image for the cover. Also we somehow toured Japan in support of it, an experience we are wildly grateful to have had.
Later that year our friend Sam Martineau kindly released the Creature Out 7-inch on his label EAU Records. And even more kind was that he hand-silkscreened unique cover art for all 300 copies. Thanks Sam!
Now today at present we’re still metaphorically cooking along and getting ready to release another artifact — a tape called Cassette Brain. Robbie made the art himself using pictures of us as children. Pretty sneaky move, trying to play on our own tendency to be absolute suckers in terms of nostalgia. The tape is being released by Old Flame Records, an excellent outfit that is also releasing something else of ours very shortly, which you should undoubtedly keep your eyeballs and earballs peeled for.