Not long after Grandaddy disbanded, frontman Jason Lytle relocated from California…
- Posted on Sep 22nd 2010 9:14PM by Benjy Eisen
"We've been on the hunt for this Admiral Radley since the day he popped into our lives, 'bout 6 years ago," guitarist Aaron Espinoza tells Spinner. "He gave us some sage advice, a few riddles and left us with something -- let's just say that it's very important that we find him. Hell, we even named our band after him."
The band wrapped up a short tour of the West Coast earlier this summer and was heading home to L.A. when they heard that Ad Rad himself was spotted drinking beer at a honky tonk in Oildale, Calif. -- about 40 miles south of Earlimart. Merle Haggard's hometown.
"We'd searched through most of California, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Tucson, even Bozeman, Montana. Had some good leads, but never found him. Felt like we were always just one step behind the admiral. But when we got the tip about Trout's in Oildale, we knew this was it." says Espinoza. This is beginning to sound a bit like a ghost story, isn't it?
On Monday nights, country legend Red Simpson takes the stage at Trout's. That much is true. "He's a good ol' boy," Espinoza explains. "Part of the old historic Bakersfield country scene, which included Buck Owens and Merle Haggard." Most of Simpson's hits involve truck driving: 'Truck Drivin' Man,' 'Truck Driver's Heaven,' 'Born to Be a Trucker,' and so on.
Admiral Radley, as a group, pulled into Trout's and by Espinoza's account settled into a booth. Naturally, they ordered rounds of beer and whiskey while looking high and low for their man. They were surrounded by what Espinoza describes as Radley's "kind of people" -- but no admiral. Finally, they worked up the nerve to ask Simpson himself if he knew where Radley could be found these days.
"Red squinted his eyes, looked around and muttered 'Well, I ain't seen that son of a b---- since the demolition derby in '73. If you find him, you tell him he still owes me 50 bucks!'" recounts Espinoza. Not all was for naught, however: Simpson invited frontman Jason Lytle onstage to sing a Merle Haggard cover with him. The night finished with Simpson telling stories about Admiral Radley, the man, to Admiral Radley, the band.
"We're definitely closer to finding him than we've ever been," says Espinoza. Admiral Radley will have ample opportunity to look for Admiral Radley throughout the rest of September, as they're currently trailblazing through the west, on a tour with Band of Horses. That is... if they're not making the whole thing up.