Joshua Radin prepares to make the ladies swoon at First Avenue
Radin is likely more accustomed to making his young female fans cry in swooning adornment over his tall, dark and handsome mystique. Maybe it has something to do with his cottony soft vocals and snuggly, low guitar chords. Or maybe it's because he admitted he might play First Avenue this Monday night with his shirt off.
But there's more: he's best friends with Zach Braff, and a true small-town Ohio boy, he's recorded a song with Patti Griffin, and admits to digging Justin Vernon and Mumford and Sons. Despite his mushy music, we have every reason to hopelessly love this man, right?
Discover his sincerity for yourself in this interview Gimme Noise had with Joshua Radin prior to his performance Monday night at First Avenue.
Do you have a girlfriend?
You don't! - Shut up?
[Laughing] Why don't you shut up!
Truth or Dare?
Oh alright, that was it. I was hoping you'd say truth. You can always tell what type of person someone is by their choice on that question.
Really, I'm actually not a daring person at all.
So you're not an extrovert, you're really an introvert?
Do you ever go back home to Ohio?
Yep, I'm going back home for Thanksgiving.
So you're still rooted as a Midwesterner.
Yeah, my mom and dad and my sister still live there. But I don't actually live anywhere.
Is that why you don't have a girlfriend?
[Laughing] I don't have a home anywhere, I have a storage unit.
Yeah huh! I'm a Midwest boy; I just don't know where I'm going to land yet. I'm looking for a place; I don't know where I want to live. I figured I'm always on the road, so I might as well lighten my load. Bring a suitcase and a guitar and that's it.
What was it like when you first started playing guitar in NYC, when you first got out there - You were immediately popular with all the guys, right?
[More laughing...] That's funny, actually it's not usually too many dudes at the shows. A lot of girls, and if there are dudes its usually the boyfriends or the husbands that they dragged there. Or the husband and they got married to one of my songs to. So it's a lot of couples holding each other.
How does that make you feel?
It makes me feel alone. All those asshole couples, damn it! But what do I know about love... I'm single.
Well you know something about love, isn't that what all of your songs are about?
They're all about sex; they're all just like Prince' songs. No, the songs, I guess a lot of them are about falling in and out of love.
Does that happen to you often?
I told you that's the story of my life, in-and-out...
Are you recently broken-up, what's your story?
I've never been married, I don't have any children. I'm in my 30s, I'm thin and clean. According to Seinfeld I'm gay -- if you're in your 30s, you're single, thin and clean you're gay. My last girlfriend, we broke up about three years ago.
You've been single for three years?
I prefer romantic interludes with women who don't know my music. I don't prefer fans. I don't need my ego stroked like that... Other things...
How does such an attractive, straight guy make such emotional/sensitive music?
Phew, you know really I am like a callous type of person. And if I want to get sensitive I pull out eye-lashes to make myself cry. And then I get into this mode of like I'm going to cry now, then I trans-personalize and I pretend what it would be like to have feelings.
That was not expected, at all...
No, none of that's true. I'm a sensitive guy. I have different sides of me. I'm a Gemini ya know; I'm a split-personality -- the twins.
So you're friends with Zach Braff, is he the one that really got you out there?
Yeah I wouldn't have a career if I wasn't friends with him. He taught me how to play music, he wrote my songs. Yeah, I'm his puppet actually, he writes the songs, he puts me out on tour, and he actually buys all the tickets and then gives them away so people go to the shows. It's all just an experiment, like: "Can I make a rock star out of thin air?" [Laughing] No, just kidding. But yes he is my friend, and he is very supportive.
How did you meet him?
College, in Chicago.
What's some advice you would give to a young musician trying to make it out there?
I would say, don't try to make it. Just keep playing every day and make it from the heart. Just try to express what they're going through, and if it's honest then people will relate to it. Because we're not all that different from each other, and it's the people that try to make it, and make money from it and try to be famous that never end up really making it in my mind. Making it to me is not monetary, it's not how many records you sell or how many people come to your shows. It's when you got to sleep at night, can you sleep?
Oh see, there you are, there is Joshua Radin, the sensitive musician I was looking for. So when you came out with the new album, Rock & The Tide, was that a product of heartache?
No, that's like the first record that's not. There's a couple songs on there about missing my ex- girlfriend, but most of it is more just more about my life, my non-romantic life.
JOSHUA RADIN plays with Good Old War and Kelley James on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22, at FIRST AVENUE. 18+. $20. 6 p.m.