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Interview with John Malkin, the lead vocalist of Simple Radicals

Emmy recently chatted with John Malkin of Simple Radicals. Check it out below. Emmy: How did the name come about?

John: The Simple Radicals more or less came out of the way my lead guitarist John Griffin and I look at life and music. We’re both somewhat non-conformists and non-conventional. We like to look at things differently. Stay simple. But think radical. Hence The Simple Radicals.

Emmy: How would you describe your genre to someone who isn't familiar with your music?

John: We’re a retro-rock and roll band from Chicago, Illinois that combines sounds and styles from some of our favorite classic rock bands like Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Green Day and Cheap Trick. If you like those bands then I think you will like our sound. You can check us out on Spotify and YouTube: and follow us on,, and

Emmy: How did the band form? John: I developed the concept and wrote the songs for the “New Revolution” album and began laying down the construct of the songs in the studio such as the rhythms, lead beds, drums and vocal tracks. I reached out to John Griffin who I played in a band with a few years ago and asked if he would listen to the tracks and consider laying down the leads. He loved the tracks and laid down some incredible shreds and the rest is history. We brought on James Page on bass and Griff Johnson on drums and The Simple Radicals were formed.

Emmy: What are some of the artists that influence you?

John: Eddie Vedder is my musical hero. I’m mesmerized with his writing and try to capture the messaging, passion and energy that he does in his songs. If I can even come within a million miles of that I’d consider it a success. Pearl Jam’s “Ten” album was life changing. Other bands that have influenced me over the years including Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Green Day and Cheap Trick.

Emmy: If you could tour with any artist or band (still active or not) who would it be?

John: Pearl Jam hands down. Probably the most talented, electrifying and inspiring band in the last 30 years. But if I can go back into time I’d love to tour with Led Zeppelin. Just to watch them from the side of the stage would be worth it.

Emmy: What's your favorite show you've played?

John: We were so fortunate to play the Cutting Room in New York City last December. What an amazing place with incredible sound, stage and vibe. Other bands that have played there include John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Sting, Sheryl Crow and David Bowie. And we rocked the house!

Emmy: What's the future hold for the band?

John: We have a lot going on and coming up. We continue to push our album, "New Revolution" ( which has the guitar-God Vernon Reid from the band Living Colour playing lead on the track "Medicate". We just released a song and video called “Rich Man Wanna Be King” ( which provides a scathing lampoon of President Trump. It was just released on YouTube and it’s already racked up over 150,000 views and climbing. Our video “New Revolution” ( has already racked up over 60,000 views and climbing.  We’re about to release a wicked cover version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” where we collaborated with an incredible husband/wife team called Che-Val. We’ll be releasing a quarantine video to our song “The Optimist”. And, we’re about to release a podcast called “Music & A Brew” where we crack open a cold one with musical artists including Kenny Aronoff (drummer for John Mellencamp and tons of others), Todd Sucherman (Styx), Vernon Reid (Living Colour), and Daxx Nielsen (Cheap Trick). 

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