Interview + Listen: Jason Lytle of GRANDADDY/ADMIRAL RADLEY

I Hearted Grandaddy. Like, BIG TIME.

In fact, the California indie fringe dwellers’ second album The Sophtware Slump pretty much crapped on everything else that came out in 2000 and is easily a Desert Island Disc. I still enjoy shaking the CD – the spine of mine has little bits of junk and dried leaves in it. When I’m feeling particularly hipster-nostalgic, I imagine singer Jason Lytle staying up late, placing shards of computer breakage and stickers in there JUST FOR ME.

I was lucky enough to see Grandaddy live a few times in Toronto and London along the way. Once in 2000, I saw a double bill of Bright Eyes and Grandaddy in a room that held 250. CAN YOU IMAGINE?. So I pretty much shed tears when they sorta broked up and disappeared.

Admiral RadleyEnter 2010 and Admiral Radley. Lytle’s been doing some solo stuff (and been out on tour with another BSR fave/Grandaddy acolyte, Midlake) but put AdRad together late last year with Grandaddy’s Aaron Burtch and Earlimart‘s Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray. This summer saw the release of the frankly awesome “I Heart California”. It’s a breezy lo-fi little platter, with a phenomenal self-titled track and an insanely fun “I’m all Fucked on Beer.”  Have a listen to it below before you buy the download, like I did.


Because I hearted Grandaddy and because I now heart I Heart California and because I heart Jason Lytle, I tracked him down in Montana a weekend or so ago, the day before a Japanese tour with Admiral Radley. I had pressing questions. He wanted to be outside, but answered them. Because Grandaddy’s AdRad dude is rad, dude.

How did Ad Rad come about?

I have been friends with Aaron and Ariana from Earlimart for many years. At some point we just hatched the idea, “Hey, let’s make a collaborative Grandaddy/Earlimart record. ” So…finally we did. We had no idea what to do with it. Then we realised if we wanna try and sell some copies we should name it. So we named it. Then we played a few shows ….and then we were asked to play some more. Now we are just going for it…..which is another way of saying we don’t know what the hell we are doing.

Admiral Radley I Heart CaliforniaI kinda got the sense you weren’t really into doing a band dynamic thing again, so what changed your mind?

I wasn’t into being a “bandleader” anymore. I’m still a little queasy about the idea of being in a band. I’m really too much of a loner at heart. Fortunately these guys are all my friends, and we have treated it like a summer vacation, moreso than a contractial obligation. We really do laugh a lot on tour.

What should everyone know about this album?

I don’t know if everyone needs to know about this album. Although if you have any fondness for Grandaddy or Earlimart , you may end up enjoying a good portion of it.

What are you looking most forward to on the Japan tour?

I’m looking forward to coming back totally thin and fit, because I’m not going to eat for the 2 weeks I am there. Last time I went to Japan I ate some vending machine sushi and got the worst (ever) food poisoning and it kinda ruined my trip. So I’m just gonna drink tea , and maybe eat the occasional piece of rice.

Tell me a secret about Midlake or the past tour you did with them. Will the next album have beards on it, do you think?

I had such a good, comfortable time travelling (literally in their van) with them. They were just as I hoped they would be. All good friends, good humored, polite, joking, no attitudes, and the same kind of respect and comraderie and brotherhood (?) that Grandaddy had. This sounds a bit dull…..but just like Grandaddy they’re not afraid to dabble in “lets get fucked up and resort to telling tasteless jokes and making fun of other people”. I must say this is a luxury that is only afforded to a close- knit group of friends. As they are. (Flutes or no flutes.)

Jason Lytle, Grandaddy/Admiral RadleyHow do you relax?

I spend alot of time on mountains and on unpopulated trails when Im at home in Montana. I also enjoy working in the yard. Playing my piano in the morning while drinking coffee really puts me in a good zone too. Other than that, I’m a person with too much steam to burn …so I ride bikes, run, skateboard, play the drums, hike, run some more……whatever it takes to wear me out and send me to bed.

If you come back to Vancouver, wanna go hiking with me? [Note to self, must become a good hiker. Or even a hiker.] We have mountains too, you know?

Yes …of course. I will leave it to you to book that gig in the Mountain Chalet, with the massive moosehead hanging over the stage and the gigantic stone fireplace. Avalanche safety videos will play during our set , and post-show activities will include Schnapps, crampons, and leiderhosen. \m/

2 responses to “Interview + Listen: Jason Lytle of GRANDADDY/ADMIRAL RADLEY”

  1. From one JL obsessive to another… cheers. IHC, YTTC, and DoD are in constant rotation in my car’s player. Love it.

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