PUBLIC RADIO IS: Moshe
Foster (guitar, vocals),
Nathan Javens (guitar,
vocals), Charles McHale
(trumpet), Dan Plimmer ('drummer extraordinaire') and
Tom Squires (bass). Javens
will be leaving soon, so check
their website for updates on
band lineup changes.
Dial Surfing with Public Radio
By Courtney Donovan Smith Translated by Ann Lee
Public Radio isn't very comfortable being termed a "party band", but that is the description many use to describe this thoroughly fun, crowd-pleasing act. The crowd response at Public Radio shows is fantastic, and there are few bands around on the pub circuit with such strong crowd rapport.
But don't let the term "party band" suggest this band is simple, crude or lacking artistry musically. "We're called Public Radio because each song is like a different radio station," says the genre-surfing band (describing themselves on Myspace.com as "a cosmic decoder ring of sound"). Songs range from the classic hardcore (and wickedly sharp) "Manwhore" to a song the band describes as the world's only "Jewish klezmer wedding ballad about a murder/suicide". Throw in some rock, reggae, alt country and anything else that catches their collective "aural eye" and the audience never knows what's coming next--except that it will be a wild ride.
The band, all foreigners, met up in 2005 at the celebrated Citizen Cain open-mic nights. Up to now the band has been driven by the tight-but-wide collaboration of their two songwriters. Sadly, however, one of those songwriters, Nathan Javens, is set to leave our fair isle. What this will mean for the band and audiences in Taiwan is unknown, but the group vows to continue working on their goal to define their own, unique sound.
As our interview came to a close, they noted that their songs were all about something personal. Uhm, guys, about that murder/suicide wedding ballad...
SEE: Public Radio regularly play live music venues, especially those like Living Room in Taipei and Grooveyard in Taichung that support original music. They are also frequently chosen to play outdoor events and festivals.