Rad Trads head­line Night­fall

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - MUSIC - BY BARRY COURTER STAFF WRITER Con­tact Barry Courter at bcourter@times­free press.com or 423-757-6354.

A half dozen years ago, six mu­si­cians, all in their early 20s, found them­selves meet­ing reg­u­larly in a Man­hat­tan bar. They were all friends from col­lege and even though they were all mu­si­cians, they did not play in any groups to­gether.

The club owner asked them one day why they kept com­ing to his place. Once they told him they were all friends and mu­si­cians, though not in a band to­gether, he sug­gested they join forces and play at his place.

“He said if we played, the beers would be free,” says Michael Fa­tum.

That was mu­sic to their ears, and since they’d all stud­ied jazz at New York Univer­sity and had sev­eral horn play­ers among them, they started do­ing cover ver­sions of fa­vorite songs with a jazzy in­ter­pre­ta­tion. Some­times it might sound a lit­tle like a Louis Arm­strong riff and some­times it might sound more like New Or­leans leg­ends Dr. John or Allen Tous­saint.

What­ever the song, or how­ever tra­di­tional it might start out, it was de­liv­ered with a rad­i­cal, al­most punk at­ti­tude and en­ergy. They came up with name The Rad Trads, and peo­ple loved them. What started out as a way to drink for free, quickly be­came a way to pay the bills as they were much in de­mand.

And not just in New York. They’ve played on four con­ti­nents and all over the U. S. The Rad Trads will stop in Chat­tanooga on Fri­day night, May 26, for Night­fall.

Fa­tum says their unique sound has got­ten them a wide va­ri­ety of gigs over the years.

“We might do a jazz club one night, then a rock club, then a bar mitz­vah, then an out­door fes­ti­val.”

Fa­tum is joined in the band by his twin brother, John, on drums; Pa­trick Sar­gent, sax; Alden Har­ris-McCoy, gui­tar; and “Big Red” Mike Harlen on bass.

While fans loved their cov­ers, the guys were all writ­ing new ma­te­rial and, about a year ago, they de­cided they wanted to put those on a CD, so they recorded “Must We Call Them Rad Trads” last year.

Fa­tum says the CD was recorded es­sen­tially live to tape on an ana­log eight­track ma­chine.

“So if you didn’t like your gui­tar solo, you had to deal with it. We got the crackle and pop of the tape, and it was this mag­i­cal thing.”

He says they are cur­rently record­ing their next record, and they are go­ing the com­plete op­po­site route with a digital record­ing and lots of over­dub­bing.

“I think one song has like 60 tracks,” he says with a big laugh.

The band is very likely go­ing to change their name since t hey have been play­ing less and less tra­di­tional jazz. It has caused some con­fu­sion at some gigs, es­pe­cially at jazz clubs and fes­ti­vals.

“Plus, there is a sect of re­ally in­tense Catholics called the Rad Trad,” which they dis­cov­ered at a dive bar in Mis­sis­sippi of all places, Fa­tum says.

What­ever sound the guys in The Rad Trads are putting out, Fa­tum says it is al­ways de­liv­ered with one goal in mind.

“Fun is the word. It’s a gas.”


The Rad Trads

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