Unless you’ve been a professional athlete while maintaining a steady music career, you probably can’t imagine what Scott Radinsky’s calendar has looked like for the last 25 years. Forget juggling two regular jobs; Radinsky has managed to balance the life-consuming act of playing and coaching major league baseball with a steady career as the frontman of punk veterans Pulley (and previously Ten Foot Pole) in the offseason.
“I don’t think some of the guys [in Pulley] realized that I was on an eight-month tour [playing and coaching baseball] every day from February until October, and then I’d come home and a couple of weeks later we’d go out on a three-week European tour playing a gig every single day,” Radinsky says. “It’s always been kind of crazy, but it’s always been kind of fun and like a vacation. We were never being forced to tour. We were touring because we wanted to. Maybe because it was never full-time, it was always really easy and fun to just hang out with the guys. That’s how it always was from the beginning, so it never seemed like a ludicrous thought to keep it going.”
While it may not seem like “a ludicrous thought” to Radinsky, the fact that Pulley recently released their sixth studio album just a month after the vocalist finished his first season as the Angels’ bullpen coach (and just seven months after he underwent open heart surgery) is an impressive feat. Sure, it took a full 12 years for the band to follow up on their last album, 2004’s Matters. But let’s see your favorite act put out more than two EPs as their singer rises through the ranks of a minor league coaching career after spending more than a decade pitching for such teams as the Chicago White Sox, L.A. Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals.
Although the 48-year-old has never experienced full-blown mainstream music success, Radinsky knew what Pulley fans wanted to hear on No Change in the Weather. The band’s signature brand of driving punk rock has improved since their 1996 debut album, Esteem Driven Engine, but their sound has remained consistent, and that's what keeps the crowds coming back. Regardless of the surrounding circumstances, that consistency — along with a high level of personal commitment — is something Radinsky has always brought to both his musical and athletic endeavors.
“There are different levels of baseball and there are different levels of being in a band, and I’d say I’ve experienced the highs and lows of both,” Radinsky says. “I’ve been on 15-hour bus rides through the Pacific Northwest traveling with baseball teams, and I’ve been on 12-hour van rides and sleeping on floors with the band. I’ve been on a bus for a festival tour, and I’ve been on a private charter airplane going to a Hyatt hotel, so it’s kind of like I’ve lived the spectrum from top to bottom on both ends.”
After dominating shows around the area in cities like Long Beach and San Clemente to promote the release of No Change in the Weather, Pulley is headed to the Whisky a Go-Go to play the Christmas party for their label, Cyber Tracks, run by NOFX guitarist El Hefe. They'll share the stage with labelmates Unwritten Law, Implants, This Legend and Margate.
“I know the record label did something last year for a Christmas party, so we’re really looking forward to it,” Radinsky says. “We were already kind of excited, and the fact that we have new music recently out makes it that much more exciting for us.”
At any show, there’s always the chance that Radinsky will have to chat with an inquisitive baseball fan about his day job while he’s in punk-rock mode. “Ever since the evolution of the computer in the mid-’90s, it’s been a lot tougher of a topic to avoid,” Radinsky says. “I used to totally avoid and separate the two [careers], because anytime a sports guy would ask me about it, he was always some kook asking me a question he didn’t know anything about, and the music guys who would ask always had a lot of resentment about sports.
“There are definitely more sports people who ask dumb questions about music, because the music people have usually at least done their homework and have a little bit of a clue,” Radinsky continues. “When I get asked to talk about my ‘alternative rock band,’ I just turn my ear and say 'thanks' and walk away.”
Pulley perform at the Whisky a Go-Go on Friday, Dec. 16. More info.