Pulley – The Golden Life

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Man, Scott Radinsky is an interesting guy. The level of success he’s achieved in both professional athletics and punk rock is unparalleled. It’s especially impressive when you factor in that his punk career not only includes being in a hardcore band that put out a record on Mystic in the 80s, but also in Pulley who were at the top tier of the 90s Fat/Epitaph melodic punk boom.

I can think of a few other people who have had some sort of career in both sport and punk rock, but those who come to mind have only a peripheral or brief affiliation with the former. Ross Knight from Cosmic Psychos won a world championship in weightlifting, Mick Jones reportedly had a tryout with Crystal Palace, Bob Mould wrote scripts for the WCW, and Russ Rankin from Good Riddance is a talent scout for the WHL.

Scott, on the other hand, was a legit Major League Baseball pitcher, most notably for the White Sox and Dodgers. According to his Wikipedia page, his teammates in Chicago called him “Rad” (which is how he will be referred to from this point forward in the review) and he rode his bike to Cominsky Park for games. He later became a fan favorite local hero while in LA. 

I like to envision a scenario where Rad is just super focused in the bullpen during a game listening to his Walkman, and Bobby Thigpen walks up and is like, “Hey, Rad. What are you listening to that’s got you so jacked up?”. To which he replies, “RKL” and then stands up and throws a flaming 120 mph fastball into the bullpen catcher’s mitt. The catcher then has to remove his mitt because of the heat. Rad lowers sunglasses onto his face and looks into the camera just as the bassline to “Hangover” starts. Then the White Sox lose the game to the world champion 1991 Minnesota Twins.

There are a lot of different iterations of this. Make up your own! It basically just needs to include Rad, any random Nardcore band, sunglasses, another MLB player of that era (preferably American League for accuracy), a flaming baseball, and the bassline to “Hangover”. 

Moving along, Rad put up solid numbers throughout the 90s, despite missing the entirety of the 1994 season winning a battle against Hodgkin’s Disease. His playing career squeezed him out of being in Ten Foot Pole (who his 80s band Scared Straight had morphed into), due to his inability to tour during the MLB season. Rad just went ahead and started a better, more successful melodic punk band, who began a string of well received records on Epitaph in 1996. As his playing career came to a close, Pulley kept active and Rad began a career as a pitching coach for a variety of MLB and minor league squads.

This album is Pulley’s first in six years, and only their second in the last 17. I had to go back and refresh my memory of what the “classic” Pulley records sounded like, but stylistically this one does not seem to stray too far from the winning formula. It’s a strong batch of songs that their fanbase will be stoked on. Rad has the perfect vocals for melodic SoCal punk, similar to contemporaries like Tony Sly. Although I don’t listen to this type of punk very often as a man deep into his forties, I sure as hell did as a teenager deep into his 40s (of Olde English), and that nostalgia will always be there for this sound. If you’ve ever moshed in a pair of Arnettes and would like to revisit that period of your life, then check this one out. 

–Zack Akenson

Tracks:
01 Repeat Offender
02 Lonely
03 Wake Up
04 Two Winds
05 Align The Planets
06 Northbound
07 Sad Song
08 Golden Life
09 Frances
10 Dust Off The Dreams
11 Transmigration
12 California

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