On Episode 15 of the Agents of Innovation podcast, we were joined by the Radio Birds, a Rock and Roll band that hails from Atlanta. These birds have really learned to fly on their own the past few years.
Like some of their fans, I first encountered this band when they were known as J.K. and the Lost Boys. Back then, they had simply come down to the Rock by the Sea charity music festival as volunteers. The next year, they were invited to play. However, those lost boys — the rest of the members of the band — really have gotten lost – or rather, have gone off in different directions in their lives. Lead man Justin Keller acquired new band mates, Colin Dean (on drums) and Chase Lamondo (on bass). And more recently they added Mike Ford on lead guitar.
By 2013, “the band had changed so much,” said Justin Keller. So, they sent out notice to their fans that they would be searching for a new name. They had some nominations and they eventually sent them out for a vote. Radio Birds kind of stuck. It seems fitting too, because since that fresh new start, this band has really risen to the occasion and taken off like birds in flight.
In 2014, the Radio Birds were invited to play on The Rock Boat – a roving music festival at sea. That same year, the New York Times sent a reporter on board to get a story about this new travel phenomenon of thousands of music fans taking a cruise with about 30 bands and artists. The Radio Birds caught the reporter’s eye — and not only were they prominently featured in the article, a photo of them landed on the front page of the travel section of the Times.
The Radio Birds learned of this feature while they were in Austin, Texas playing at the SXSW music and technology festival. From there, they have returned as crowd favorites on the Rock Boat in both 2015 and 2016. Last year, one of their songs, “Ease My Mind” was featured as part of the soundtrack of the film, Road to Paloma. The song also plays in the film’s trailer. And more recently, they created a music video for their song, “Wait for Me in the Fall.”
We spent some time talking with the Radio Birds about what it’s like to live so many nights on the road. “Traveling together is like maintaining a family,” said Keller. They do spend a lot of time together — perhaps more than most families. In 2015, they played over 150 shows around the country. And this year, they are prepared to play just as many shows as well as kick into some more song writing and recording.
Their longtime manager, Dustin Boyer testifies to how their hard work ethic is helping them be successful. “They are probably the easiest band I’ve ever worked with. They know it’s a lot of hard work and they just go do it,” said Boyer. Hear more about what they had to say on Episode 15 of the Agents of Innovation podcast.