Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The Pitcher Is a Punk Rocker

Pop Beat: Scott Radinsky has a double life as a Dodger and lead singer for Pulley. Baseball's great, but he says he feels more at home in music.

January 24, 1998|JERRY CROWE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The worlds of major league baseball and punk rock have almost nothing in common.

Except Scott Radinsky.

The Dodger relief pitcher is also the lead singer for Pulley, a punk band that has recorded two albums for Epitaph Records and tours extensively each winter.

And though his Dodger contract pays him $900,000 a year and Pulley won't show up on the Billboard charts any time soon, it's clear that Radinsky shares more of a kinship with Johnny Rotten than with Johnny Bench.

"In baseball," Radinsky says, "I'm pretty much thrown into a world for eight months with people I don't have a lot in common with other than wearing the same uniform and trying to win. . . .

"I've met some pretty cool people along the way in baseball, but in music I feel like I can let my hair down. I feel more at home."

Not that the 29-year-old left-hander would want to pick one vocation over the other.

"There's no way I'd ever choose," says Radinsky, whose group will have played about 80 shows in Europe and the United States this winter before he reports to spring training with the Dodgers next month in Vero Beach, Fla. "I dig 'em both."

Leading the band onstage before a few hundred fans, he says, provides no less an adrenaline rush than taking the mound in the ninth inning of a tie game in front of 50,000 at Dodger Stadium.

"The intensity level," he says, "is just about the same."

(Though his Dodger contract contains standard clauses prohibiting him from high-risk off-field activities such as hang gliding, motorboat racing and rodeo, it makes no mention of stage-diving.)

Radinsky never actively pursued dual careers while growing up in Simi Valley. Inspired by mainstream rock bands such as KISS and L.A. punk groups such as the Circle Jerks and Fear, Radinsky started playing drums when he was 13.

He didn't get serious about baseball until his senior year at Simi Valley High. By that time, he had already spent several years touring up and down the coast with a variety of punk bands.

Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1986, he reached the majors in 1990 and spent five seasons in Chicago before signing with the Dodgers before the 1996 season. A key member of the Dodgers' bullpen the last two seasons, he is projected to play an even more vital role this year.

In each of his two years with the Dodgers, Radinsky has written and recorded with his bandmates in Pulley during the season before heading out on tour in October to promote the records.

Epitaph, which launched the multi-platinum success of the Offspring a few years ago, is home to such respected punk bands as Bad Religion and Rancid, and Pulley's two albums--1996's "Esteem Driven Engine" and last year's "60 Cycle Hum"--have been well-received by the skate-punk media.

"Their road-tested, high-velocity punk," Kerrang magazine said in a review of the latest album, "is pretty solid stuff."

Neither album has set the charts afire--combined sales of the two collections are fewer than 20,000 copies, according to SoundScan--but that matters not a bit to Radinsky, who three years ago was asked to leave his previous band, Ten Foot Pole, because he couldn't devote enough time to the group.

"The cool thing about this band is everybody makes a living outside the group," he says. "So whether they're full-time musicians in other bands or hold down other jobs, they don't need this band to survive. . . .

"We're just having a good time. And for me, music is mostly about having fun."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|