LOS ANGELES, January 16, 2014 — Punk fans know Scott Radinsky as a singer from Pulley and Ten Foot Pole. Baseball fans know him as a relief pitcher and coach. Wells On Music spoke with Scott Radinsky last year while he was with the Dodgers for Spring Training regarding punk music, his bands Pulley and Ten Foot Pole, touring, and balancing baseball and punk.
Kevin Wells: What bands made you want to start a band of your own?
Scott Radinsky: The Descendents, Minor Threat, Fear, the Circle Jerks, I mean everything that was going on in the early 80s, Dead Kennedys.
KW: Why did Scared Straight change their name to Ten Foot Pole?
SR: I think we just didn’t really want to be associated with the whole straight edge thing. I think we were kind of in that lump and, you know, we were part of the scene in the 80s and just kinda wanted to move on. The music was evolving and we just figured it would be good to start new.
KW: How did you feel when Ten Foot Pole moved on without you?
SR: I just got this phone call and it was kind of just like getting fired from a job. I got the phone call and they said they were going to move on. I didn’t really know why. We had been together for 10 years. Nothing had really changed. This was in ’94, I got the phone call and I started playing baseball in ’86. So, it wasn’t something new that all of a sudden started happening. It was just we signed to Epitaph, the band was kinda doing okay and, I think, those guys all of a sudden felt like, “hey, we want to go for this.” They said, “We’re gonna move on without you.” I said, “Well, that’s kind of a joke, but alright, whatever.” At first, they offered to be my band. They said “We would like to continue Ten Foot Pole with a new singer and we’ll stop what we’re doing when you’re home during the winter. We’ll be the band and you come up with a new name and you be the singer.” I said, “No, no thanks. I’ll start a new band.” And that’s kinda how it worked.
KW: How did Pulley come about?
SR: I was in Kansas City when Dennis, the guitar player who ended up being the singer [of Ten Foot Pole], called me. I think I got off the phone and the first thing I did was call a couple people. I called Jordan, the drummer, and Mike, the guitar player, and we basically started Pulley right then and there. And then, about a month and a half later, the season was over and we literally recorded a record in two months.
KW: What was your favorite album to make either with Ten Foot Pole or Pulley?
SR: Rev was a good time because that was the first of really that kind of style and we were kinda going for it and we thought the songs were good. My favorite Pulley album, for sure, was Matters. The amount of time we spent with that and how we wrote the songs, I just think that was one of the better times we ever recorded.
KW: What is your favorite city to play on tour?
SR: L.A. is great and I love playing everywhere in Europe and South America and the shows we played in Japan. I love playing everywhere. I really can’t say there’s a bad city. Anytime you get a chance to go play a punk rock gig with your friends and someone shows up, it’s good. It’s a good time.
KW: What is the craziest thing that ever happened while on tour?
SR: One time we were in Munich and we were in this bus in Germany and we wanted go film. We had a camera, a video camera, we wanted to go film and pretend we were in a snow storm. So we drove the van out into this field under a tree and we start shaking the tree, you know, pretending it was snowing and the little creek we were sitting on, we didn’t know it was a frozen creek, ended up collapsing and the van fell in there. Out of f___ing nowhere in the German forest comes this old German man in an old school tractor and he pulled us out of this creek and we got to the gig. That was kinda cool. I don’t know if it’s crazy, but it’s kinda funny.
KW: Were you ever able to convert any of your baseball teammates to become punk fans?
SR: I’ve turned some guys onto music. It’s easier now. When I first started playing, nobody knew what punk rock was and they all thought it was a joke back then. Now, the last 10 years probably, I’ve had more of a relation with that generation because they’ve kind of grown up on that music, you know, the Green Day’s and the Offspring’s and it’s a little more normal to them. When I turn someone onto it now, it’s not so shocking to them. I don’t know if they’d go out and buy that music, but they at least have listened to it. I’ve turned guys on to come to gigs and they’ve had fun.
KW: Which do you get the most pleasure from, punk or baseball?
SR: It’s a different kind of pleasure, man. I really enjoy playing music. I always have and I’ve always enjoyed doing the other thing. I’ve been asked that question seriously 300 times and I can’t compare the two. I can’t say one or the other. They’ve both been a part of my life and they’re both something that I expect to do, I guess, or what I do do. So for me, it’s like, I do that and I do that. I obviously like both because I’m still doing both. There’s really no one over the other that outweighs.
KW: How did you decide to open Skatelab?
SR: We played a gig in Fresno at this place called Sugar Hill Skate Park, Pulley did with Strung Out. I don’t remember when, maybe ’94 or so. It was a skate park all day and then the guy cleared everybody out and we played on top of a ramp and I thought this was the coolest thing in the world. I had always been into skating. I had a buddy at home who was into it, as well, and he worked at this surf factory and he kinda had a little bit of a collection. And I had some boards and we thought this would be a pretty cool idea. So I just came home from Fresno and I said I want to try to do this. It took us about a year and we got it up and running. We went for it and we’re stoked about it.
KW: Do you have anything else that you want your fans to know?
Kevin J. Wells writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball