Singled Out: Jason Heath & The Greedy Souls' Turn On (The Radio)
The song "Turn On (The Radio)" is one of those tunes that came from riffing and jamming in the rehearsal space. I was working off of a little progression that myself and the guitar player at the time, Matt Johnson, were bouncing around. Usually when we're in that frame of mind I'll just start singing as "the spirit" moves me and see what comes out of my mouth... and when I did the words "turn on the radio" came out when we got near the chorus.
I kept thinking to myself that those lyrics were kind of lame and didn't really want to take them any further. But then when I got into the car to drive home that night I turned on the radio and began listening, as I usually did after late night rehearsals, to Jim Ladd's radio show. He used to have this show, on KLSX in LA, he did that was free-form radio and he would play whatever he wanted to and he really elevated the DJ thing to an art form. He did a show one time on Martin Luther Kings Birthday where he mixed together Dr. King's sermons and speeches with music from U2 and others... It nearly brought me to tears it was so touching. Anyway, I began to think that maybe the idea of "turning on the radio and playing all the records we already know" wasn't so goofy after all, and then I started thinking about the spirit of rebellion in all the music that had always influenced me from Woody Guthrie to Public Enemy and everything in between. And that even though they were talkin' about some heavy sh*t they were still having a good time.
In the immortal words of famed Anarchist Emma Goldman, "If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution." So I started toying with ideas of us against them and imagined the idea of tuning into frequencies that could adjust and help equilibrate some of the imbalances in our social order, if you will. That's when the rest of the lyrics formed and fell into place.
We started playing it live quite awhile before we ever recorded it and so the guys in the band started throwing in different back-up vocal ideas and it really took shape as a sort of group anthem. When it came time to record it I really wanted to capture that '60s garage rock vibe so Jay Federici used his Vox Continental for the organ parts and we brought in Farayi Dominique to sing the backup vocals with the fellas and she gave the track a lot of soul!
It's a different sort of song than we're accustomed to as it's pretty much the same riff the entire song but the dynamics and passion seem to carry it along without out it getting stale or too repetitive... at least in my opinion. The screaming slide guitar wah wah solo might have som'n to do with that.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!