New Noise Magazine reached out to a diverse group of artists and asked them to speak about their personal experiences with dealing with their overall wellness. The topic of being in good physical and mental is an exclusive spotlight coinciding with Issue #32 of the print magazine, deemed The Wellness Issue. Each artist speaks with a refreshing transparency on the struggles they face and how to better go about their own health.

Featuring Isaiah J. Radke III of Radkey

Photo by Alan Snodgrass

Three-piece literal “band of brothers,” Radkey—comprised of vocalist and guitarist Dee Radke, vocalist and bassist Isaiah J. Radke III, and drummer Solomon Radke—embody everything that’s wonderful about the garage punk scene of yesteryear, but with a fresh, youthful energy that’s impossible to resist. The family band formed around a shared love of rock ‘n’ roll, and officially released their debut LP, Delicious Rock Noise—originally called Dark Black Makeup—via Another Century in 2016.

How To Start: How To Get a Project or Idea off the Ground

When you start a band​, ​you should probably be a “​b​and​.” Work out a 25-minute set of original music, and throw in an interesting cover to take your set up to about 28 minutes, so​ that​ you’ll have that extra bit of time to clear offstage and let venues know that you’re super cool about set times, so they will hopefully book you for tighter shows that require more trust. ​​

It’s also pretty important when starting out to have a decent sounding demo disc of your best ​two​ songs to give out for free or “​whatever you want to pay for it.” It’s all about the music.

And, ​as an opening band, ​consider every live set a 30-minute chance to blow minds and show the world—room—what you’re all about. Start strong and end with your best song. The biggest part of winning people over as new band is keeping them wanting more.

Best Tips or Advice You’ve Ever Gotten

Don’t let anyone know that you’re sick onstage, ​don’t have kids, ​don’t get married, ​don’t break two laws at once, ​don’t turn your back to the audience​, ​and the most important​: ​play the same show to five or 5,000 people.

Nutrition on the Road

You have to be so careful with this on the road. You may not feel like it’s a crazy big deal​, but​ ​it only takes one bad meal to ruin ​three​ days of shows. If you’re on a budget and you wanna stay relatively healthy​, always go for something simple and fried if you can’t do a salad—chicken usually being the safest bet. If you wanna eat cheap and stay full while feeling mostly alive​, ​keep it to the chicken strips, nuggets, sandwiches, and salads with chicken as the main event.

Featuring Joshua Fiedler of The Juliana Theory

The Juliana Theory
Photo By Jesse Korman

Emo old-schoolers, The Juliana Theory, were all set to embark on their 20th anniversary tour in July and August when they instead decided to “be a band again.” On June 30, they announced—via Twitter, Facebook, and their official site—their intent to postpone the tour, refund ticket sales, and focus on writing their first new music since 2005’s Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat. Also, they love you.

How To Start Over

It was 1997. I had just graduated high school and was enrolled at a local community college. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, outside of playing music and possibly doing something with my limited artistic ability. Academics were on the back-burner, really. I snagged a job at a corporate record store where I got to listen to my favorite records all day long as I imagined myself onstage performing and touring the world as a full-time musician—but, at that time, that was just a distant reality.

Two months prior to starting college, I formed a band with some friends, and we called ourselves The Juliana Theory—lame, right? We played a few shows here and there. Those shows eventually started to become more frequent as we started to pick up a decent following in our hometown. Then, to our surprise, and with a little luck thrown in, it turned to full-on tours within a year and a half. So, I did what any other 19-year-old would do at that time: I dropped out of college at the first glimmer of someday fulfilling my lifelong dream.

Fast forward seven and a half years, four record labels, four full-lengths, three EPs, and a live album, and it came crashing to an abrupt halt.

It was 2006. I had gotten married the year prior and, like most young couples, we had dreams of children, a house, and all of those fun “adult-like” things. There was one problem: I now had no money to support my new dreams. The fact that I had no college degree and some retail jobs was a tricky thing to get around. That doesn’t support a wife and—future—kids. My wife had a full-time job and a college degree, so she was set. I, however, had to pick something and pick it fast. Granted, this is no easy task to get your head around. For years, I would be traveling around the world, playing music for a living. I’d be home for a few weeks or a few months, we would write songs, and then, back on the road we went! I had to find a way to completely change my lifestyle, practically overnight.

Luckily, I had a friend who owned a local retail chain, and if I played my cards right, I could be a manager once they had a new store opening. I worked there for a year, and eventually figured that I would venture out into the world to make more money. I jumped into the world of sales. In the world of sales, you need to know how to talk to people and come across as an honest person. It also pays decently for not requiring any degree. I’d like to think of myself as coming across as a genuine person, and quite frankly, all my years out on the road touring was good life experience. It took me from a shy kid to a more outgoing person who knew how to talk to just about anyone. I worked my way through one mediocre sales job to the next while keeping my head down and working hard. I eventually gained enough experience to obtain a great job at a very good company that I love and am proud to work for. My wife sure did put up with a lot and was definitely the breadwinner for a while there! Now, she likes to bust my balls for having no degree and making more than she does! [Laughs]

I believe when you work hard creating music that you love and push that music out into the world by touring and promoting, you can easily put that hard work into another career. Whether that is a white-collar office job, a blue-collar union job, or owning your own business, hard work is key in life.

I also think it’s important, regardless of what career path you take, that you keep playing. Never entirely give up something you love that is your true passion. Even if it’s at home or with a friend a couple times a month, don’t ever let that fire go out. You never know when it may resurface, and it’s best to hold on to it.

Featuring Mike Hill of Tombs

Tombs

Brooklyn-based avant-garde metal five-piece, Tombs, formed in 2007 and have continued to buck expectations ever since. Following numerous lineup changes, the quintet of frontman Mike Hill, bassist Ben Brand, guitarist Evan Void, synth player Fade Kainer, and drummer Charlie Schmid truly hit their stride. After their stellar 2014 Relapse Records release, Savage Gold, the band dropped an EP entitled All Empires Fall in 2016, then followed it up with a new LP, The Grand Annihilation, via Metal Blade Records on June 16. Tombs are currently set to support Kreator on several dates in late October and early November.

How To Start Over

How many times do you feel stuck in life? Be it your job, a relationship, or just a negative recurring cycle that may be obstructing your happiness. It may feel like the entire fabric of the universe is standing in your way and imprisoning you in this realm of misery. The situation may seem like it’s out of your hands, but in reality, you are in complete control of your destiny.

Sometimes, your brain is your worst enemy. As time goes on, our society gets more and more abstract; we live inside of our minds, creating virtual connections, creating entire environments for ourselves. Expectations, old patterns of behavior, and the routine of everyday life grind a railway that we just end up following without question. Often times, this railway takes us to negative places and obstructs us from living fulfilling lives. We just assume that this is the way life is and that the anxiety and emptiness we feel is just part of the adult life experience.

The same way that we made “bad” decisions, we can make “good” decisions that will take us over the fence into a greener pasture. Our reality is made up of our perception. If we perceive ourselves as being trapped, we become trapped. The first step is to change our perception of ourselves. Do you see yourself as a victim? Do you imagine that you can’t overcome any of the obstacles that stand in front of you?  Most likely, you haven’t been following your instincts about what you should be doing with your life.

In certain occult practices, there is an “uncrossing ritual,” which is used to remove blockages in your life. Though I do not believe in “pulling rabbits out of hats,” I do believe that meditating on something with intention will yield tangible results. I’m not suggesting that you just burn a few candles and leave it to the mysterious forces of the universe to change your life, but rituals help us focus our intention. The work is internal and will generate action. Sometimes, it takes an external process to drive our minds into a new direction. Sometimes, during these rituals, you can see a direction that may have been obscured by years of distraction.

The process of starting over must not be engaged without preparation. First, identify the items in your life that are making you unhappy, making you feel stuck, or standing in the way of progress. It could be a job you hate, a bad relationship, or just a series of bad habits, but they have to be identified and evaluated. Maybe something drastic has to be done, like quitting a job. I do no recommend just walking into work one day, telling your boss off, and walking out. You should put a plan together, evaluate the consequences. It may be a slow process, but stay diligent and stay on the path. List your steps and execute the plan. Remember there are always consequences to your actions and be aware of them. After making the decision to take action, you have to be comfortable with the fallout of your action plan.

Once you’ve cleared out your life, the most important thing is to avoid filling it back up with the same types of things that made you unhappy in the first place. For example, if you quit your job, don’t just get another job in the same field or with a similar vibe. If you ended a relationship, don’t find another person who is the same as the person you just dispelled. Take this time to work on yourself, to improve your understanding of who you are, and attract the right things to fill the space you just cleared out. The pathway to truly starting over is difficult, but it’s worth the struggle.

Good luck!

Featuring Carley Wolf and Jonny Wolf of The Ghost Wolves

The Ghost Wolves
Photo by Jacqueline Badeaux

The Ghost Wolves—the Austin-based duo of vocalist and guitarist Carley Wolf and vocalist, drummer, and keyboardist Jonny Wolf—are Texas road-dogs who crank out loud, visceral Delta Blues-meets-The Cramps-style rock ‘n’ roll. Their newest album, TEXA$ PLATINUM, was released on April 21 on Hound Gawd! Records. It follows up 2011’s In Ya Neck EP, 2012’s Getchya Hip Thrust! / Black Crow 7” single, and 2014’s Man, Woman, Beast LP.

How To Start Over: Changing Bands, Careers, and Relationships

CW: Don’t be afraid to start over. I started with rock ‘n’ roll in middle school, but from there, I played rockabilly, classical, folk, and jazz in many different projects. I explored many genres before returning to rock. By the time we started Ghost Wolves, I was mostly known as an acoustic musician who played upright bass and mandolin. The change shocked people and probably turned a lot of people off, but you can’t worry about them. Follow your muse, your heart. Stay true to your art, whereever it may lead. Don’t fear change or judgement.

JW: Quitting can be a great thing. I was in a band previous to The Ghost Wolves that was doing really well. We were in the Americana genre right before bands like The Lumineers and Alabama Shakes popped big-time. We had a deal with a big label and were touring playing festivals, everybody making a living doing it. But I really disliked some of the music we were making, especially near the end, and being in that band gave me the urge to do something louder and more aggressive with The Ghost Wolves. Having to play drums on songs I hated made me want to write my own and be rid of people telling me what to do all day. 

How To Start: How To Get a Project or Idea off the Ground

CW: Just do it. I know that sounds simplistic, but you have to put yourself out there. Take risks. Push yourself past your comfort zone. Play shows, go to shows, be a part of the community who is doing what you want to do—and if there isn’t one, start one.

Community Building and Organizing

CW: Go to shows and play shows. This is really important. Try things out. Make friends. Change friends. Move to a new place if you feel you need to. Get people together. Play open mics.

JW: I think it’s important to identify the best venues in the towns you want to play, get booked there no matter what, make a great show, and then, if they treat you right, make a point to come back within six months. Then, do that three to five times, and you might have a crowd there. 

Journaling and Other Ways To Process Feelings

CW: Journaling is a great tool. I aim to do it daily, but there are also weeks I go without doing it. There is a book called “The Artist’s Way: [A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron] that recommends doing daily “morning pages” of free-writing to get whatever you are dealing with out, so you can focus on writing or being creative. I tried it for a while and loved it. It just gets your juices flowing. It takes discipline to keep it going, but if you are seeing the benefits from it, that shouldn’t be too hard.

Being Healthy With Social Media

CW: Stop staring at your phone all day. Stop taking selfies. Read a book or write in your journal instead. Of course, it’s important to post about your shows and keep your audience engaged, but if you need to, set a limit for yourself. Don’t let it distract you from your life.

How To Be OK on the Road: Taking Care of Your Body, Voice, and Instruments

CW: Control your partying or you won’t last. Don’t smoke cigarettes. Get some rest when you can. Eat healthy. Brush your teeth twice a day, and floss them if you want to keep them. 

JW: It’s really tough to do these things. In terms of gear, we carry spares of the most important parts of our show: amplifiers, drumheads, hardware, that kind of thing. Your voice and body are really up for grabs, depending on your choices and how you perform. A big thing for health is how your tours are booked. If your drives are too long, you will have a bad time. We tour in regions where we can hit shows within one to five hours of each other every day. That’s practical and actually enjoyable. We bought an RV-style van that we can stay in on show nights, so we don’t have to show up to a nasty hotel at 3 a.m., have to check out by 11 a.m., and pay for the privilege.

On our off-nights—which are rare—we like to buy a nice hotel and have a lay-in: watch movies, eat good food, drink a bottle of wine. Soak in the tub, that kind of thing. Those recharge days are key. Drugs, we generally stay away from. I can’t imagine being out of your gourd on a daily basis on pills or whatever and trying to keep up the grueling pace of touring life. Beer and whatever drinks you like are fine in moderation, but if you’re doing hard stuff nightly, you might not last long. Just my opinion—I’m sure people do it, but I couldn’t personally. 

Best Tips or Advice You’ve Ever Gotten

CW: Always wear pointy boots, so you can kick people’s ass if you need to. No, but really, “Don’t stop.” I hear that a lot, and it’s a reminder to keep going, even when it’s hard. And let me just make that clear right now: it’s not easy.

JW: Tre Cool [from Green Day] told me to only do The Ghost Wolves, no other bands or jobs. I think that’s good advice. Sticking to one thing really focuses you on what needs to be done on a daily basis. 

Being Organized On Tour

CW: I keep a tour notebook with all the numbers: mileage, gas costs, food costs, lodging costs, other costs, pay, cash merch, card merch. It’s important to me to know what the numbers are. I also keep and file all of the receipts in a little plastic file folder that has labeled tabs for different items.

You will make most of your money on merch if you do it right. Put time into your merch table. Set it up before the show, shine a light on it, go to it after your set. Talk to people. Have interesting stuff for sale. Have a square reader so you can accept cards. Make bundle deals for the super-fans. Have an email signup sheet to stay in touch with people. All that stuff makes a difference to your bottom line, and fans appreciate it too.

How To Maintain Morale and Discuss Issues Constructively

CW: I’m an optimistic person, for the most part. When things aren’t going well, I try to look at the bright side anyway. It’s really hard when other people in the touring party are negative, though. That’s a good way to bring everyone down. So, if you are feeling negative, I guess try to keep it to yourself to spare everyone else. If you really have an issue you want to talk about, bring it up in a measured way, and try your hardest to not let it get out of control. Stop complaining. Crybabies go home!

Nutrition on the Road

CW: You have to be conscious of what you are eating or you will be unhealthy. With so much sitting in the van, it is easy to put on weight if you eat junk. It is also common for musicians to have health problems due to eating late at night and then going to bed. Don’t lay down right after you eat or the acid reflux will get you and cause all sorts of terrible problems.

I eat a plant-based diet, so I carry food with me. We have a cooler in the van with peanut butter, hummus, avocados, fruits, veggies, stuff like that. We also have a trucker oven that we use to make rice and quinoa and to heat up beans and chili. It’s nice, because we can get it going at the beginning of a drive and have a hot meal when we arrive. We also carry instant soups and ready meals we can heat up in a pinch. Eating this way may not be the most convenient thing to do on tour, but it makes us feel good and keeps us healthy. I’ll put it to you this way: neither of us have ever had food poisoning on the road. That’s the worst.

JW: I eat a plant-based diet. It’s healthier, better for the animals I love, and better for the environment. It can be challenging on the road sometimes to find decent food, but we manage, and we feel better for it. We try not to eat too heavily before shows—usually, after shows, but not too late at night either. It’s bad to go to bed just after eating. We carry a cooler in the van stocked with snacks and drinks. I also have a pour-over coffee deal so I don’t have to drink crappy coffee. That’s great.

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