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Brent Rademaker

Brent Rademaker hangs out at his Ybor Heights home with buddy Starsky.

Photo by Julie Garisto

Brent Rademaker hangs out at his Ybor Heights home with buddy Starsky.

Rad comeback: The 44-year-old surfer, skateboarder and rocker grew up in Tampa Bay and looks back fondly on his '80s alternative band, A New Personality. The group, inspired by Joy Division, opened for Duran Duran, Billy Idol, X and Dream Syndicate.

Gone west: Brent relocated to L.A. in 1987 with bandmate and older brother Darren. He lived in the City of Angels a "couple months shy of 20 years." The brothers composed tunes together and apart. (Brent later joined Further and the Tyde. Darren is still in the Tyde.) Brent lived in the hipster haven of Silver Lake, where in the late '90s, he co-founded renowned Sub Pop band Beachwood Sparks, a group that took up where the Byrds left off, combining earthy folk with dreamy psychedelia.

A shot of Poison: Bret Michaels, he said, persuaded the Rademaker boys into moving to L.A. "Poison was opening for Quiet Riot," Rademaker recalls. "The guys were hanging out at the (Bayfront Theater), drumming up fans, and I think something stupid, like banging groupies on the tour bus (laughs). … I remember Bret saying we should come to L.A. It reminded me of that whole Rodney Bingenheimer-Sex Pistols interview. They saw our hair, what we were wearing, and said, 'What are you guys doing here?' "

Why did he leave? After the Sparks' heyday, which involved recording a CD at J. Mascis' home studio and opening shows for Beck and the Black Crowes, the Sparks went on hiatus. Rademaker went through a self-destructive time of depression and substance abuse. "I always wanted to move back (to Tampa) and didn't want to under bad circumstances, but I kind of did," he said. "I was composing jingles and making good money, but I wasn't happy with what I was doing."

Since he's been back: Rademaker met his wife, Kathleen Nicholson, a year and a half ago, and still gazes like a schoolboy at the slender brunette in her late 30s. He also landed a job at Michael Murphy Gallery and bought a Mediterranean-style bungalow.

The solo shows: Rademaker sings and plays guitar with the help of other musicians, performing mellow tunes he describes as "sailboat rock." Most recently, he enlisted the help of Doc Lovett of Mojo Gurus. Rademaker's set includes new originals, Beachwood Sparks tunes and non-played-out selections by Red House Painters, the Byrds and Neil Young. There's even a finger-picking rework of Photograph by Def Leppard.

Reunions: Beachwood Sparks reunites in Seattle on July 13 for a huge Sub Pop 20th anniversary concert featuring Mudhoney, Flight of the Conchords and other music and comedy acts. The band also plans to record a new CD. A New Personality headlines the Orpheum showcase at Tropical Heatwave on May 17.

Hear him: 9 p.m. Friday at Kelly's Pub, 206 N Morgan St., Tampa. $3. (813) 228-0870.

Brent Rademaker 04/24/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:54am]
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