If you’re looking for a new band that delivers a jaw-dropping performance, make room for Radkey this summer. The sibling trio has been turning heads lately thanks to their stellar songwriting, incredible love of punk rock, and exciting live performance. But there’s another detail that has folks talking about Radkey: the band is made up of young teenagers. Guitarist Dee is the only one in the group old enough to buy cigarettes, while bassist Dee is 17, and drummer Solomon is only 15. None of the Radke brothers are old enough to drink, but you’ll find them rocking out in Lawrence bars and thrilling even the most inebriated of crowds.
The Radke brothers rocking out at the Replay
The band started as sibling rivalry at its finest. The boys were getting ready to watch a movie when Dee, the eldest, got a phone call. A band needed him to fill in at a show on bass. The problem is, the bass belonged to Isaiah. “At the time I wasn’t a musician, and I hadn’t played live, so I was jealous,” says Isaiah. “He’s playing my fucking bass, and I didn’t even play at the time. So I said ‘Let’s start a band, I want to play my bass, I don’t want you touching it.'” Almost instantly, Solomon committed to playing the drums, and the brothers were practicing every day.
Dee may have gotten a head start as the first musician out of the three, but now the entire band contributes to the songwriting process equally. “We’ll just jam sometimes,” says Isaiah. “A lot of it is just a bunch of crap, but sometimes it’ll be something cool.”
The trio had no problem finding shows to play in their hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. But it’s in Lawrence and Kansas City where they really turn heads. They’ve managed to establish themselves at one of Lawrence’s most popular venues, The Replay. “The reason we were playing Lawrence is because they’re the only people cool enough to have us,” says Isaiah. “We’re underage, St. Jo was like ‘Fuck that, we don’t want you guys trying to drink and all that.’ Lawrence let us play the Replay, which has been my favorite experience as far as playing live shows.”
For welcoming into the scene with open arms, the young band rewards mature audiences in Lawrence with flawless performances. Their songs aren’t your typical teenage angst-ridden lyrics. A night with Radkey throws you into a dark place with songs titles like “Irrationally Worse” and “Cat and Mouse,” which Isaiah says is about a woman who escapes her kidnapper, but spends the rest of her days running from him. The boys aren’t one to hide their feelings, either. They boast a song called “Fuck you, Grandpa.” The song is an ode to their own grandfather, who Isaiah says they share a solid hatred for. “My mom grew up with him, and he was a terrible dad,” says Isaiah. “He forgot my birthday this year, which is totally ridiculous. I could not believe that. I thought grandparents lived for that. He’s just a terrible idiot, but I like to talk shit on him as much as I possibly can. That’s how he got his own song.”
The band may frequent Lawrence, but you shouldn’t wait too long to see them. They’ve got a busy summer schedule, which includes touring, recording, and many shows (including the Afro-Punk Festival). In the middle of all that, they’re heading to Lawrence Field Day Fest. “It’s going to be huge, I can tell,” says Isaiah. “I hope people dance, that’d be great. I want people to dance, that’s my dream. I want to see some cool bands, and I want people to dance.”
If you feel like dancing (or seeing some of those cool bands Isaiah was talking about), head to Lawrence Field Day Fest July 5-8.