ESPN Music: Michael Costanzo
May, 24, 2012
By Alex Prewitt | Special to ESPN.com
Talk to the members of the California-based alternative band Radical Something, and they’ll throw out a litany of professional comparisons in describing their craft.
In performances, they’re like basketball players, under the lights on the stage, facing a crowd blanketed by darkness. In the studio, they’re like chefs, striving to cook that final meal with the perfect taste for everyone to enjoy. And in work ethic, the extra writing and practice behind the scenes, they consider themselves akin to football players.
Except they actually are football players.
In the band whose recent EP, “No Sweat,” reached No. 6 on the iTunes Overall Album charts, both Loggy (Alex Lagemann) and DJ Big Red (Michael Costanzo) played on the Cal football team under coach Jeff Tedford. What originated as a mechanism for stress relief under the weighty pressures of collegiate athletics has blossomed into a full-time career that’s taken off in recent months.
“There isn’t a college football player out there who viewed his career as the easiest ride of his life,” said Lagemann, a former wide receiver for the Golden Bears. “You give up a huge chunk of your 18-to-22-year-old life, and it’s stressful. There are times when going back to bed at 5 a.m. would be a lot more awesome than going to practice, but that’s why music was a way to express it. It was a way for us to go into the studio and let our minds run and make some creative stuff.”
Now that football’s ended for the members, they’ve found themselves with more energy, energy that’s been redirected into music. Costanzo used to limp around campus at “half a mile an hour” after practice. Now, he’ll stay up until 6 a.m. producing beats.
Buoyed by a work ethic attributed to their time on the gridiron, their musical careers have accelerated quickly. Radical Something’s debut album “We Are Nothing” opened at No. 9 on the iTunes alternative charts. This summer, they plan to release an original song every week, and have overseas shows planned too.
Their Cal roots have transferred into the entertainment world. Radical Something has found an ally in Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz, who attended Cal and has acted as a de facto mentor for the group, advising them on how to make it in the industry.
“The work ethic that you learn playing in sports very much transfers over to the music world,” Costanzo said. “In the end, anyone who’s going to succeed in something like music or all walks of life, you have to have that deep, burning desire to work harder and get better, and that really transferred over from being in football. If we keep working hard and doing our thing and never stop, we’ll see the results that we want.”