The New Minority:
An Interview with Radio Moscow

Words by Russell Carstens

Radio Moscow is a rock n roll band. And while some claim that the genre is losing its mainstream appeal, that hasn’t stopped this trio of blues brothers from pumping out a new collection of rumbling reverb with their latest effort, Magical Dirt.

Tipping its hat to guitar gods like Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana, the album also takes listeners into left field by melding these influences with the likes of scorching stoner rock, Eastern-driven psychedelia, and a tinge of Captain Beefheart-esque vocals. The louder you crank it, the better it sounds, so dinky iPod earbuds won’t do this one justice. Heck, they might even melt and fizzle from the band’s assault.

We caught up with Radio Moscow’s front-man, Parker Griggs in between shows, where he shed some light on the topics of favorite guitarists, mapping out solos, and the recent surge of ‘synthetic’ music…

It’s easy to hear who your influences are (in a good way), but are there any that listeners wouldn’t expect?

Parker Griggs: We listen to a lot more underground stuff that really influences us as well. A lot of times people say we sound influenced by the bigger acts, but they aren’t what we normally listen to. Some of my favorite bands include the smaller groups of the past like Power of Zeus, Randy Holden, Steamhammer. All sorts of old music. Lately I’ve really been enjoying Turkish music of the ’70s.

Are the songs on Magical Dirt written by the group or solely you?

Pretty much all me on this album besides the one cover (‘Gypsy Fast Woman’).

Are the guitar solos planned or improvised in the studio?

Mainly all planned out…. but can slightly change in the studio. The solo for ‘Before it Burns’ changes completely because I switched it from guitar to be on electric sitar – that was all on the spot and I dig how that turned out. But I spend lots of time at home working on the songs on my 4 track recorder first, so it’s mainly already planned out. Live things change from the album though, more on the spot.

As a band, what are your goals for 2014?

We hope to keep expanding what we do to a bigger audience by continuing to tour and such. Hoping to tour new countries and do America again because it’s been too long. Just keep playing and enjoying and hopefully get a lot of new stuff ready for the next album as well.

Do you have any favorite venues you frequent?

Hmmm. There was a cool place in Seattle called The Comet, but it’s no more sadly. There’s some awesome spots in Europe like Kafe antzokia in Bilbao. It’s always fun to hit Austin, TX and New York City.

Better guitarist: Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page? Why?

I love Jimi more if I had to say. He just played with so much soul and expression. His guitar always sounded huge! Page is great too…. but I am more inspired and keen on others from the era. Like Keith Cross, Peter Green, Ollie Halsall, Rory Gallagher, John Cipollina, etc…

What do you think when people say that guitar-based music is dead?

It isn’t popular as it once was, but there’s a lot of people who still like music like that. Back in the ’60s and ’70s there are a lot of amazing musicians and a lot of competition. You really had to know how to play to make it somewhere. Nowadays there’s less people playing and more kind of synthetic music taking over…. But people still do appreciate rock and roll – it’s just not in the mainstream anymore. | Magical Dirt