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As a band, Radio 4 (Greg Collins, Anthony Roman, Tommy Williams, Gerard Gerone, PJ O’Connor) has existed for about five years. As a concept, they’re about as old as the city from which they’ve sprung. In many ways, Radio 4 is the quintessential New York band. Understated yet vocal, cynical yet hopeful, blasé and yet undeniably excited by their peers, Radio 4 take the amalgam of sub-cultural emotions and meld them into danceable middle-finger rock perfect for this politically charged atmosphere. Seeing Radio 4 play live gives newfound hope to a city of folded arms. Something about the crack-spun percussion, invasive bass-lines and superior melodies seeps into the crowd, fueling a dance frenzy uncharacteristic of most New York experiences. In preparation for their Wednesday night romp at Bowery Ballroom, Anthony (bass, vox) and Gerard (keyboards) took a few moments to regale Gothamist with tales of Kate Moss, hotel exile, and drinking in Alcatrazz.


What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?

Anthony: Driving on the Belt Parkway with my father
Gerard: That’s pretty tough. I’ve lived here my whole life. I do remember my mom and my grandmother taking me shopping all the time on the south side of Williamsburg. My mom said I used to get all excited when I would hear Latin music from the cars and the streets, but I don’t remember that too well. It would make sense though.

What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?

Anthony: My favorite memory of NY is probably the summer of 2001. It was a great time leading up to getting married, and the music scene in NYC was alive and real new and innocent… and obviously we hadn’t had 9/11, which is my least favorite memory of NYC.
Gerard: My favorite memory is the first time I got drunk in a bar on the Lower East Side. My uncle took me; I was about 17 years old. It was a bar called Alcatrazz… total heavy metal bar. It’s now a Japanese restaurant on St. Marks and Avenue A. My least favorite memory is too personal to talk about. Sorry.

What is your favorite place to drink in NYC? What’s the best night of the week to go out in the city?

Anthony: Favorite place to drink-lately? I’ve been liking Hi-Fi on the weeknights. What’s the best night of the week to go out in the city? Wednesday.
Gerard: All my favorite places are gone. I guess I’d have to say Hi-Fi, which used to be Brownies, just because I bartended there for a long time and Mike Stuto (the owner) would be pissed if I named another bar.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York? Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?

Anthony: Favorite thing is a bunch of people come down that we know. Least favorite is how cool everybody acts. Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn? Brooklyn is closer to where I live so I can go home between soundcheck and the show.
Gerard: Favorite thing is that I know when the show is over I can go and sleep in my own bed. I don’t really have a least favorite thing about playing shows in New York. Maybe the crowds sometimes, but they’re usually pretty receptive.

(Obvious question alert, but please elaborate) Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?

Anthony: Yes. We incorporate different styles into our music… dance, punk, reggae… which we feel follows in the multi-cultural tradition of NYC.
Gerard: Yeah, I think it shows. There’s probably lots of different reasons why, but New Yorkers have a little bit more attitude than most people, and I think that’s what comes through. The majority of New York bands have a bit more of a “fuck off” quality about them than most bands.

Now its time for some fill-in-the-blank action:

“You know you’ve made it when….”
Anthony: Kate Moss comes to see you in London.
Gerard: Your friends call you to come to your shows instead of you having to call them.

“It’ll be time to pack up the gear for good when….”
Anthony: Kate Moss comes to see you in London.
Gerard: When it’s not fun anymore.

“I’ll never forget the first time I….”
Anthony: Rode the Cyclone in Coney Island.
Gerard: I’m getting old, I can’t remember the answers to these “first time” questions anymore.

“I’ll never forget the first time [insert another band member’s name here]….”
Anthony: PJ got us kicked out of the Columbia Hotel [in London].
Gerard: I’m not touching this one.

And finally, lets have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following (if you’ve got no discernable feelings, make something up that won’t embarrass you in the morning):

Yankees
Anthony: Arrogance.
Gerard: I don’t like baseball. No, I’m not a communist.

Mets
Anthony: Charming.
Gerard: See above.

Britney
Anthony: Identity crisis.
Gerard: She did a Pepsi commercial with Bob Dole and said we should all back president Bush. She should be forced to sit in a room while Fred Durst sings the whole Limp Bizkit discography… acapella.

Bridge & Tunnel
Anthony: Long Island.
Gerard: White baseball hats, khaki pants, baby blue button-downs, and an endless array of ridiculously named shots of alcohol.

The Darkness
Anthony: Awful.
Gerard: “Darkness everyone, the darkness is spreading.” – Rick James

Times Square
Anthony: Mixing [new album] Stealing of a Nation.
Gerard: There’s a really good analog synth store there now. Other than that, there’s no reason to go there.

Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws
Anthony: Stupid.
Gerard: I’m a smoking bartender who plays in a band. What do you think?

Oh, and actually, I’ve got two quickies on the music tip:

Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup? Think fantasy sports leagues… and yes, the members CAN be dead (and no, you can’t just repeat the members of Damn Yankees).

Anthony: Paul Westerberg – vocals. Simon Gallup – bass. Charlie
Watts – drums. Bernard Sumner – guitar. Joe Strummer - lyrics and rhythm guitar.
Gerard: Supergroups are a recipe for failure. I don’t want to do that to my favorite musicians.

What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?

Anthony: Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
Gerard: Honestly, I don’t remember ever buying a record on its release date. I’m sure I have, but I can’t remember.

Radio 4 play Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, September 8th. Check them out on Conan O'Brien later that night. Their new album, Stealing of a Nation (Astralwerks) is out in the US today (Sept 7).