The name Gregg Alexander may not ring a bell, but the sight of him in a floppy fisherman’s hat probably would. Alexander was the one-man band behind The New Radicals, who created one of pop-rock’s most enduring songs when they dropped hit single “You Only Get What You Give” 20 years ago. Alexander disbanded the group just before sharing the second single from the band’s only album, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too, and, unlike most bands of the era, a reunion was never once considered.
That’s a bummer, too, because, as Alexander revealed in a new, rare profile in Billboard, he’s recorded and mastered between seven to 10 full-length LPs. Speaking of the what-ifs that accompany his decision to retire the band so abruptly, he said, “Nobody will ever know if five or six singles [would have come] out, whether it would have sold one more copy or 20 more million copies. Nobody knows, and I don’t fucking care at this point. But I was grateful when I left the business of being an artist. When I extracted myself from that situation, I had the same thing I have now: hundreds and hundreds of pop songs.”
Unfortunately, aside from a previously unreleased demo of Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too’s “Gotta Stay High”, we probably won’t ever hear any of them. “Maybe after I die, I’ll put them out every year,” he cracked.
If you can overcome the disappointment, the full profile is worth a read. Alexander digs into his reasons for leaving the industry, noting that the commercialization of the music business worried him. “You’re this scrawny little fucking musician, some 28-year-old, but all of a sudden, you become the conduit to people’s bonuses, their greater agendas,” he said. “There was a part of me that felt like it was going to fucking destroy me. I saw one chance to run out of the Hotel California, and I think I realized [that the only way to do that] was to burn that motherfucker to the ground.”
But don’t worry for Alexander; he’s made quite the career for himself as a songwriter for other musicians. In addition to working with Enrique Iglesias, Mel C, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, he’s als the writer behind chart-toppers like Santana and Michelle Branch’s “The Game of Love” and Ronan Keating’s “Life Is A Rollercoaster.” He was also nominated for an Oscar in 2014 for “Lost Stars,” a song he contributed to John Carney’s Begin Again.
Read the full profile here.