Free Radical

With his Buddy Holly specs, shoelaceless Jeff Spicoli sneakers, Bermuda shorts and a goofy T-shirt that asks, "Where the Heck Is Kosciusko, MS?" Rad Richard is the visual definition of a hipster doofus, a cat that steadily balances between coolness and nerdiness. The guy's also a bit of a nut. He doesn't like to give out his age or last name, and he claims to be from the kingdom of Freedonia. Not even his friends know what he does for a living. Rad Richard is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, covered with secret sauce.

But if there's one thing he isn't eccentrically vague about, it's his local public-radio show, Rad Rich's Rock n Roll Revue. In the wee hours of Monday night (really Tuesday morning), the Rad guy provides an alternative to a world where "alternative" has become just another "Buzz"-word. Those looking to find the trendy swing stylings of the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, the shiny, happy skacore of No Doubt or the commercial punk of Green Day will find the music selections a little off-kilter. That's exactly how Rad Richard wants it.

"There are a lot of bands -- a lot of bands in Houston -- that don't get any type of recognition or any type of emotion," says Richard. "That's what the show is about: promoting an underground scene that's not being heard on these types of radio stations."

So Richard enlisted Buddy Demon, bassist for local rockabilly band The Luxurious Panthers, party DJ The Big E, ska and reggae enthusiast Glenn "Fatty G" Morrison and local music journalist/musician Danny Perez to help him spin everything from the Hillbilly Hellcats to the Hissyfits. By jamming all these styles onto one slate, Richard is doing more than just promoting his concept of good music, he's looking to unite audiences.

"That's another aspect of the show: bringing people together, you know," he says. "The rockabilly/swing kids, punk kids, ska kids, oi! kids, whatever, bringing 'em all together, man."

It takes a kook like Rad Richard to teach the world to sing (or, in his case, mosh) in perfect harmony.

-- Craig D. Lindsey

Rad Rich's Rock n Roll Revue airs on KPFT/90.1 FM on Mondays (Tuesdays) from midnight to 3 a.m. Info: www.members.tripod.com/radrichrrr.

 
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