The Missouri brothers putting nookie on ice in the name of punk rock.
In the heart of middle America, in the kind of small town that throws up promise rings and abstinence campaigns, three teens are refusing to have sex for reasons other than sucking up to God. They are doing it – or not doing it, rather – in the name of punk rock.
“We had this pact before we started the band. A no-sex pact,” says Dee (guitar), one of the three Radke brothers, aged 19, 17 and 15, who make up Radkey. “Even protected sex. It was so we wouldn’t have babies. No child support. So I guess the fact that none of us have been with a woman makes us unique.”
“We do all the other stuff,” brother Isiah (bass) clarifies, “just no penetration. We didn’t start the band to attract girls. We did it to make good music and inspire people.” And they have: on the strength of some general slaying at SXSW and one EP, ‘Cat & Mouse’, the Radkey boys have just returned from their first UK tour with a riot of buzz still ringing in their ears.
Marooned in St Joseph, Missouri – once famous as the starting point for the Pony Express and the end point for Jesse James’ life, now just terminally neglected – the brothers have spent the past two years carving out a name for themselves in the strand of rock that bred the last great anti-fornication revolution: hardcore punk. But there’s also something much more melodic, more carefree in their slashery. It’s the Misfits, but it’s also Weezer, early Foos, Nirvana, all mixed with the rich pickings of ’70s dude-rock and punk they tore out of their dad’s record collection: Led Zep, The Who, Sabbath, Ramones. He’s a ‘loss prevention officer’ at the local Walmart. The boys were home-schooled by their mom. “At school, no-one got us,” explains Isiah. “We were the weird kids. So we figured, why don’t we just be the weird kids at home?” There’s a finishing-each-other’s-sentences closeness between them that suggests the brothers already had all the friends they ever needed: in fact, they still sleep in the same room together at home, by choice.
“We’re just close,” says Dee. “It would definitely take a lot for anything to come between us.” Short of a groupie with a turkey baster, perhaps nothing ever will.
Need To Know
Based: St Joseph, Missouri
For Fans Of: Cerebral Ballzy, The Germs
See Them Live: The band have tentative plans to return to the UK in September
Buy It Now: The ‘Cat & Mouse’ EP is out now
Believe It Or Not: Radkey are such big fantasy geeks that they went to see The Hobbit four times. That’s 12 whole hours of Bilbo Baggins