“We put this thing together two years ago. Our drummer Dave and I have been friends since high school, I ran into him and said, “We’re getting up in age; remember how we’ve always said we need to do something? Well, we need to do something,” then we added Chandler and the three of us hit it off,” said Radio Exile keyboardist and co-founder Charlie Calv. “I needed a songwriting partner and Chandler fit perfect, Jimmy is a great guitar player, and Kenny is a fantastic bassist.”
If the area has a super group or a “Frankengroup,” Radio Exile is it. Comprised of Calv (The Bronx Casket Co. /Shotgun Symphony) on piano and keyboards, drummer Dave Anthony (Dennis DeYoung/Joan Osbourne), vocalist Chandler Mogel (Outloud), guitarist Jimmy Leahey (Dennis DeYoung/John Waite/Allison Kraus), and monster bassist Kenny Aaronson (Bob Dylan/Bill Idol/Yardbirds); this collective group has come from seemingly nowhere, yet everywhere and they’ve gotten here quickly.
With a self-titled ten track debut disc and enough firepower per man to send this thing into orbit; Radio Exile is poised to be the next revitalized voice in an occassionally stagnant environment. “We didn’t pigeon hole this record,” says Calv. “We had a real fun time putting this together. I write most of the music, and Chandler writes the lyrics. I have a home studio. Most of us do so it’s easy to put things together. I would demo the tracks and send them to Chandler and he’d already have melodies in place and that’s not how I was used to working, it was usually the other way around but we made it happen and the result was an album that is different; each track is different.”
A small cast of guest musicians also contributes to the unique quality of this rockin’ new effort. Utilizing the talents of former Silver Condor and Trans Siberian Orchestra vocalist, the incomparable Joe Cerisano, Jessie Wagner (Lenny Kravitz/Kid Rock) and Amy Harnell (Tony Harnell and the Mercury Train) on the track “A Cross On Stone” lent a certain vibe to the tune that was not entirely expected. “We kind of, well Chandler wanted some female voices,” explained Calv as he seemed to search for the right phrases to do justice to their appearance. “I’ve known Joe for years; so between him and the ladies we pretty much said, “Do what you want” with the track and the end result was sort of a gospel feel. Joe has got such a great voice. Jessie is incredible and right now on the road with Duran Duran. Amy is great, I can’t say enough about her.”
According to Calv, the record was recorded in two parts because the members weren’t sure how the process would unfold from an artistic viewpoint. “Yeah, we did the record in two parts. We went into the studio and had only five songs written and thought we’d start there; let’s see how we all get along and how things work out before we dive all the way in was the thought process. Things went well so we had a one day rehearsal and the next day we started recording. We did it totally analog, well minus the big fat reel to reel tape,” said a now laughing Calv. “Recording this disc was a great experience. We used lots of percussion and Dave created landscapes; we wanted a new feel and he produced some classic sounds.”
“No Pity On The Highway” is the first single off of the record and was released with a corresponding video. In March, the band released the video for “Soulfire” -- one that Calv raves about.
“When we first put this together we were working with a management company out of New York and they thought we needed a focus track. Fortunately we were also working with Stephen DeAcutis (Corey Glover, Vanilla Fudge, Cyndi Lauper) as a producer and he suggested we try something different. Stephen had a good hand in crafting this record from start to finish. It was so much fun making the video for ‘Soulfire!’ It’s a killer video and has fire eaters and a Vaudeville feel to it. The director was only a 21 year old guy from Los Angeles and he had some great ideas; he’s a very talented.”
If you hope to see the band coming to a city near you; don’t get too excited. The possibilities of a tour of any magnitude or even local shows are on hold at the moment. “We’d love to tour but right now everyone is so booked,” states Calv. “Jimmy and Dave are getting ready to go on the road with Dennis DeYoung and Kenny has some time off before the next portion of the Yardbirds tour so we’re trying to catch the in between times and it’s looking more like festivals or larger shows with another act or acts.”
ABOUT THE RECORD
Overall, “Radio Exile” is without doubt, one of the best debut records out there today. Magnificently produced by Stephen DeAcutis (Vanilla Fudge, Cyndi Lauper, Corey Glover) who created a full sound while highlighting all of the right things and burying others in the mix so that they stand out when necessary. By blending all of the ingredients into a perfect talent entree that fans old and new should be clamoring for and creating a new sound from an old style; this disc is a winner and should be served up on everyone’s music menu.