Radio Drive is an Alternative Pop Rock band featuring me, Kevin Gullickson. As the engine behind Radio Drive, I have won international awards and nominations for my music. My songs have been aired on radio around the world alongside major artists and has topped indie charts and received rave reviews. I have been featured on web zines, podcasts and radio shows.
My music has been used on shows airing on NBC channels, Animal Planet, National Geographic, Comedy Central, Fox Channels, History Channel, Spike TV and Discovery Channel in the USA and TV programs around the world.
I have worked with amazing producers and mixing engineers over the years, including:
Gene Paul, the son of legendary Les Paul. Multi Grammy Award winning engineer whose credits include Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, U2 and more.
Chris Garcia, whose credits include Adele and Katy Perry.
Stuart Epps, whose credits include George Harrison, Bill Wyman, Jimmy Page, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Oasis and more.
Robert L. Smith, Academy Award winning and Grammy nominated producer and engineer, whose credits include David Bowie, Aerosmith, Paul McCartney, and more.
Brendan Dekora, Grammy and Academy Award winning producer and engineer, whose credits include Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, Billy Idol and more.
I've always had music in my life, even from an early age. I've always loved music and wanted to write my own songs and share with others. I started playing drums at age 7. At age 10 I started writing songs with a friend. Later in my teens I was putting bands together and playing high school gigs. After graduating, I moved to Minneapolis/St Paul and put a band together and began playing all the major clubs. And the journey continues to this day.
I record and perform under the band name of Radio Drive. It's really just myself and I hire musicians to record albums and play live gigs. I used to have an actual band, but found it difficult to keep 3-4 guys together with the same level of commitment and dedication. Life happens, and that's okay. I found I gained more ground and accomplished so much more going it alone.
There are so many skills I've learned over the years on many levels, both musically and personally. A few years ago, I signed up for online courses for singing and guitar. Even after playing and singing for a few decades, I knew there was so much more for me to learn. Even personally, gaining the confidence in myself that carries during a live performance.
For me, when I see someone perform and that song hits me deep inside - that is impressive. To me that is success. It could be a full band or just one person and a guitar. Also, I'm impressed by extraordinary talent. For example, when I see some of these guitar players shredding at a hundred miles an hour, I'm blown away.
Typically, I will get a snippet of a song idea. It might be a guitar riff, a lyric, a melody. It usually comes when I don't have the time to work on it right then and there. So I'll capture that snippet by recording it on my iPhone. I might hum the part, or sing the lyric, just to capture the idea. Then when I have time, I'll go into my studio and work on it. I usually record a reference track singing and playing guitar. I'll add midi drums as a reference to get the beat going, then build from there. I'm thankful to play several instruments, so I'll start adding guitar and bass guitar parts, piano and keys, then work on the vocals and harmonies.
Other times I intentionally set aside time to write songs. I'll tinker at the piano or pick up the guitar and start strumming. Then continue putting it all together.
As for the lyrics, sometimes they all come at once with the music. Other times, the lyrics come after I've developed the music. I'll sit down and get a theme, what I want the lyrics to be about. Then start brain storming writing ideas. At that point, I don't think too much about rhyming or structure. I just capture ideas. Then I'll work it out into the cadence of the song.
It's funny how sometimes a song is never really finished. You just have to stop. Otherwise, I can be working and reworking a song for months. Funny thing, I've even released new versions of some older songs because I've worked out, what I think, are better versions.
My worst performance was years ago when we were working with a booking agent. They booked us a club that wanted Top 40 music and here we come, playing Alternative Rock. It wasn't the right audience for our music. There were several hundred people at the start of the night, but they began leaving over the next few hours. At the end of the night there were a couple dozen people left. The good news, those remaining people absolutely loved our music. We learned to make sure the club/venue was a good fit for our music.
Thank you! I am so thrilled and honored that my album "Before the Day is Through" won Best Alternative Rock Music. This is huge! I'm thrilled to have the international recognition from a panel of amazing talent. I'm thankful the many months of hard work and dedication is recognized. I share this award with all the gifted musicians and talent that contributed to the album.
I only found out about this amazing honor and winning the award, today. I'll be getting the word out on my social media platforms. I know this award brings with it a higher level of confidence for me and respect in the music industry. I'm very pleased.
The biggest challenge for me on recording this album was the limitations of budget and resources. I didn't have an unlimited budget, so I had to be creative in finding people to work with who were both affordable and talented. I'm thankful to say, I found those very people through an online community of musicians. I was able to connect with musicians from around the world to work on my album, as they contributed their talents.
Be persistent. Keep practicing. Keep learning. If you want to be a great songwriter, get involved in workshops, song writing groups, attend webinars. There are so many resources available. It's all out there. You have to take the initiative to learn all that you can. I always say, learn all the rules, then break all the rules. The rule is: There are no rules. But you still need to learn them to go beyond the rules. I hope that makes sense.
So many people have inspired me on so many levels, musically and personally. Bono has been a huge inspiration to me. He seems so grounded and rooted in who he is. Even with all the success, money, fame and attention, he still seems to have a quiet confidence that hasn't changed over the years.
Again, so many people come to mind. Paul McCartney is another person who I admire and has motivated me. He worked with the Beatles and wrote so many hits that changed the music industry. Then, when the Beatles broke up, he went on alone. He played all the instruments on a few of his albums. That really inspired me when my band(s) broke up. I saw that Paul went on alone, and I could do that, as well.
I would love to work on a song with Paul McCartney. That would be amazing to write something. He's been such a huge influence on my music over the years.
So many people come to mind, I'm afraid I couldn't narrow it down to just three and I wouldn't want to leave anyone out.
Perseverance and dedication. Never give up. Never surrender. Always keep faith and hope alive.
Right now I'm already working on new music. I'm looking at releasing an EP soon. I've got a couple songs mostly finished. I'm really excited about these new songs. Now that spring is here in Minnesota, I'm looking forward to getting out and playing live gigs again. It's been 2 years since the last live show, mainly because of Covid. Then last year I spent working on the new album. I'm ready for some live gigs.
The first thing that comes to mind is how it's so hard for indie musicians/artists/bands to make money. Live gigs don't pay much when you're doing original music. Thousands of streams only pays you pocket change. It takes so much time and money to put together a live show or an album. It would be nice to see indie musicians able to make some money. I don't have any solution for that. Merely an observation. Having said that, if I could interject a positive note: The internet has made it possible for indie bands to be known around the world. So the opportunities are out there. Indie musicians have to be more creative to finding solutions.
Kevin Gullickson is one outstanding individual, possessing tremendous talent in music, bringing it to the global stage, and he is owning it.