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Q&A: Admiral Radley

By Jennifer McCutchen on July 6, 2010


Q&A: Admiral Radley

Admiral Radley doesn’t play any tricks: what you see is what you get. With longtime pals Jason Lytle and drummer Aaron Burtch of Grandaddy, along with Earlimart's Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray, outfitting the troupe, it’s clear the quartet just wants to have fun. On the band’s debut album, they’re not taking themselves too seriously, as evidenced by tracks such as “I’m All Fucked on Beer” and “I Heart California,” a playful tribute to the band’s home state.

Recently, Lytle and Espinoza took some time to talk to FILTER about how they met, what it’s like participating in a “sad-off” and channeling “Beavis and Butt-Head.”


FILTER: Earlimart and Grandaddy have known each other for a long time. How did you guys first meet?

Jason Lytle: [Laughs] It’s a good story. It’s sweet.

Aaron Espinoza: [Grandaddy was] playing a show in Hollywood, and we wanted to go [but] didn’t have any money. So we were trying to figure out how we could get in. Ariana, who is also in Earlimart and Admiral Radley, got the job of phoning [their manager] and saying, ‘Hey, we’re all from Fresno, and we want to come see Grandaddy.’ We thought for sure the guy would be like, ‘Go fuck yourself; whatever, go buy a ticket, you asshole,’ but he goes, “Well, seeing as you’re from the Central Valley, Jason would love to put you on the guest list.” So we got on the guest list, got to see the show, and I met Jason that night.

What's best about working with each other?

Espinoza: I think Jason has such a unique voice. We basically share the songwriting 50/50. I would come up with a song that was mine and Jason would either play on it with me or sing with me. He has this really great knack of putting a stamp on it.

Through the recording of the album, what moments stand out for you?

Espinoza: This is un-fucking-believable, [but] I think it should be noted that the title track, “I Heart California,” was written in Jason’s van by him outside the studio about 10 minutes before we recorded it. That was just an amazing moment; I’ll never forget that. He just left for like 10 minutes, wrote down some shit, walked in, started playing piano, and then we had the best song on the album.

Lytle: Thank you for even acknowledging that. I don’t know what happened either. It’s just so weird. But you know what sucks? That’s how people used to make records. If anything I got one little eyedropper of what Queen probably did 50 times every day for two weeks.

What were you trying to accomplish with this record?

Lytle: I was trying to make sure my songs were a lot better than Aaron’s.

Espinoza: I think mine were way sadder than Jason’s. We had a sad-off going.

Lytle: Every time Aaron made a song that was really heartfelt and impactive, I got super self-conscious and channeled “Beavis and Butt-Head."


Admiral Radley's I Heart California will be released July 13 on The Ship records. For more, go to

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