It's about time that we all get to know Radioux City. A band we missed back in the day - its indefatigable lead singer still out there carrying the banner today. The band had it all... great songs, tongue-in-cheek storytelling, fantastic musicianship, arena worthy stage presence, and, oh yes... plenty of hair! What more could a rock fan ask for? To wax analytical, only one thing held them back, and its the biggie... the financial muscle of a major label to break down the otherwise insurmountable walls of obscurity. Seeking a workaround, the band hit the road, but touring is an expensive affair and the balance ledger soon brought their lofty dreams crashing back to Earth. More than anything, it was frustrating. How could a band that was so good, and who had poured every once of their soul (pun fully intended) into their music and live shows, get nowhere? Truth is... it happens everyday to thousands of talented musicians. The difference here is that most defunct bands never get another chance, much less two chances - so far. The new CD title says it all... this music is finding a way to survive!
Like many before them, the story was over - for decades - a done deal, but it appears there is more to be written. Today, people really are, at long last, learning about the band; buying their long-lost CD and hearing the songs performed live for the first time since 1990. There is nothing on their faces (young or old) that resembles concern. They know little of the past, nor do they care at all that the music, or even the musicians, might be... don't say it!... well... not 20 anymore. But as they realize what they are witnessing; the people smile, they sing, and dance; forgetting all about the troubles of their day. What more can a rock band ask for?
The Radioux City story begins with lead singer, Gary Brandon, who, after departing White Sister (EMI ST-17127) in late 1985, endeavored to start an original heavy rock band that he could front. After a brief detour touring the world in 1986 with Atlantic Records recording artist John Parr, Gary returned home to Los Angeles and set about pursuing his goals as a solo artist. A series of demos (circa 1986-87) did not produce the desired result, so Gary took a short-term job with a commercial painting company that a fellow musician owned.
It was on this job site where Gary met guitarist John Perez, who had moved to Los Angeles from Columbus, Ohio, and also worked for the same painting outfit. They immediately hit it off; became roommates and started working in the evenings on some new songs. No more thoughts of going solo... John was a fantastic guitarist and an excellent recording engineer. This duo formed the core of what would soon become Radioux City. With the addition of drummer Pete Kneser and rhythm guitarist Sammy Brown (both found through a local musician headhunter agency), the original incarnation of the band was complete.
The guys agreed that they would strike out in a new direction, and slowly move away from the standard melodic rock formula. Over time, they created a very unique mix of heavy rock guitar and funk guitar styles; AC/DC meets Prince (if you will), with a clanky synth bass (a choice they now regret), huge vocal harmonies and big drums; a formula they liked to call "Soul Metal" or "Groove Metal". Gary dawned a rebellious vocal alter-ego and even dabbled in rap, ultimately leaving behind the more comfortable rock vocal sound found on the band's early recordings.
Popular music was changing and they believed that they had created something very special, with an immediately identifiable sound, that given the proper chance, might really take them far. They all agreed... something this good couldn't remain undiscovered for long! ... right?
With this mindset, they set out to conquer the world, and began touring the southwest United States. Marshaling all their own funds to travel, they played numerous shows in Northern California, Southern California, Nevada, and New Mexico. Their live show was proving to be a powerhouse; better suited for arenas than the small venues that imprisoned them. Audience reaction was always very positive, but they soon realized that they desperately needed to find a way to get in front of much larger crowds.
They continued to push as hard as they possibly could until 1992, when, unable to find a record label that would carry them to loftier heights, and out of money, the group could not venture out again. They packed away the Marshall amps and reorganized into a pure funk band. All of the original Radioux City recordings that they had bet everything on, and a seizable amount of live video footage, went straight into the vault (as they say).
forward to present day. While shopping with his wife and young son in
a local supermarket, Gary received a call from a small record label
based out of Las Vegas. The voice on the other end was keen to release
the band's archived recordings. Astonished that anyone even knew about
the long-lost tracks, Gary agreed to sign a licensing deal that would,
at the very least, allow the music to be compiled into a professionally
packaged format. It would take quite some time for this to come to fruition,
but finally in August of 2015, the physical CD became a reality. Unfortunately,
there was no evidence that the label promoted or distributed the album
in earnest, so it never even got out of the starting gate.
Thankfully, the story doesn't tragically end there. In March of 2017, Gary inked a new deal with AOR BLVD Records; a U.K.-based label that reissued the CD to a much wider audience. Label head, Paul Rudland and A&R Executive, Kelv Hellrazer, made it a point to throw a lifeline to the disenchanted singer, offering the support and encouragement needed to give it one more go. The U.K. version (entitled "Soul Survivor") features 14 tracks, instead of 11, two fresh recordings (2016) by the original band members, an archive track not included on the previous release, colorful new artwork, and a complete re-master.
Additionally, encouraged by enthusiastic crowd reactions to the songs and the more legitimate commercial release by their label, Radioux City has finally been able to see worldwide awareness begin to grow. Written reviews in foreign magazines and web sites are starting to come in and the results are quite favorable. Listen to the powerful comments made by Rick Lewis and Matt McChesney, (two prominent radio personalities in Denver, Colorado) endorsing the band during their popular Broncos pre-game show "The Truth" - 103.5 FM.
Despite the above, there remains a grueling battle ahead to breakout from this modest beachhead. To that end, there is thought of forming a second incarnation of the band. Provided Gary can find the right mix of new musicians (never an easy endeavour), the plan would be to write and record a brand new Radioux City follow-up CD, and if possible, have some of the original members guest on these new recordings. In the meantime, Gary will continue to support the release of "Soul Survivor" in 2018 by performing the songs live with his formidable solo band.
Events in the near future will scribe the content of this newest chapter in the band's history. It could be amazing... or it could all amount to somewhat less. Gary is under no illusions. But for now, there is motion, and as LL Cool J used to say... "Don't call it a comeback!"
Call this epilogue... an awakening.
upload date: April 28, 2017