When she decided to relaunch her solo career in southern California, singer, multi-instrumentalist and native Texan Sara Radle realized she had some work to do building her own fan base.
“The people who know me in Los Angeles know me from The Rentals or Walking Sleep,” she adds. “It’s a little scary going out there on your own when people are only familiar with you in one certain perspective.”
Radle feels as though she’s back on track musically with her latest solo album, Four. And with that number in mind, she addressed a handful of topics related to her life and career.
Four most favorite songs from your childhood and what made them special:
Sara Radle: ” ‘Daydream Believer.’ The Monkees were my first favorite band, and quite honestly are still high up there in my book. They had people like Neil Diamond and Carole King writing for them, so they had such great tunes!
” ‘Donna.’ I had a crush on Lou Diamond Phillips as Ritchie Valens in La Bamba. My brother made me a cassette copy of the soundtrack, and I fell in love with Ritchie, too.
” ‘Hello.’ I remember I thought there was something so sad and beautiful about [that Lionel Richie song].
“Anything by The Beach Boys. I would drive around with my dad all day, just waiting for a Beach Boys song to come on the oldies station. I loved the harmonies!”
Four cool artists you met by way of your folk-musician parents:
Radle: “My parents ran the San Antonio Folk Music Festival, so I got to meet a few legends through that. Odetta was regal and kind of intimidating. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott was drunk — fun, but drunk. Tom Paxton and Townes Van Zandt were both very nice. I was kind of young when I met them, but I have good memories from those festivals.”
The four coolest things about living in Los Angeles:
Radle: “The weather. The weather. The weather. The weather.”
Four things you miss the most about Texas, and why:
Radle: “My parents, my friends, the landscape and the general friendliness of people. I was born and raised in Texas, so I’ll always have a fond nostalgia when thinking of it.”
Four words that best describe Rentals leader Matt Sharp:
Radle: “Silly, insecure, frustrating, focused.”
Four must-haves when you’re on the road:
Radle: “This American Life podcasts or talk radio: After playing music and listening to other bands all night, it’s great to give your ears a break on those long drives.
“Slim-Fast. I know, I know — it’s super-girly, but picking up one of these in a convenience store keeps me from grabbing a back of chips or M&M’s.
“Running shoes. I tend to stay pretty active, so sitting in a van for long drives can get frustrating for me. I like to stay in hotels with gyms, or I’ll find a local gym and get away for a run for a couple of hours every other day or so. It also helps to break free from the group for a little while and get some time for myself. Zoning out on a long run helps me to stay sane.
“My good pillow because van sleep is the best sleep.”
Four songs that best sum up your new album, Four:
Radle: ” ‘Fooling Nobody.’ It’s the perfect example of my pop/punk past melding with the indie-pop singer/songwriter influences I’ve had lately.
” ‘The Baxter Hill’ — best example of girl-group influenced vocals.
” ‘Song for Adam.’ It was one of my first experiences writing for a string quartet. I have a feeling I’m going to be doing a lot more of that in the future!
” ‘Superstar.’ It’s unlike anything else on the album. I had to turn up the vixen when recording vocals for this one. I didn’t know I had that in me!”
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior
Sara Radle on tour (schedule subject to change):
* Sept. 18 and 25: Casey’s Irish Pub — Los Angeles
Photo by Anthony Knasas