“Former New Radicals Frontman Kicks Ass Again,” by Sean Pravica

Jun 24th, 2020 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Gregg Alexander, frontman of the nineties alternative band New Radicals, reached a significant legal milestone over the weekend after he was arrested for the one-hundredth time. Like all past charges against the singer-songwriter, he was once again booked for assault.

While somehow managing to stay out of the slammer long enough to not only write a song again but get nominated for a fucking Oscar for it in 2015, Alexander remains best known for The New Radicals’ only hit, You Get What You Give. Though largely optimistic, with calls to basically love one another because you’ll be loved back if you do, Alexander ended the song with a slam-poetry-like rant against the FDA, cloning, and “fake computer crashing dining,” which remains one of the more mysterious images evoked at any point in popular 90’s music. The diatribe concluded famously with a threat to kick Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson’ assess, and potentially Beck and Hanson’s though his intentions towards them remain unconfirmed.

New Radicals keyboardist and percussionist Danielle Brisebois recalled Alexander’s penchant for fighting and noted that the lyrics in the song, apart from the fake computer crashing dining line, of which she could offer no further illumination, were far from metaphorical.

“Gregg has always kicked a lot of ass. It’s just who he is. He’s a radical.”

When pressed on what defines a radical, especially in comparison to more well-known and decidedly more peaceful examples of musical social justice warriors such as Neil and Peggy Young, Brisebois shrugged.

“That’s just it. He’s a new radical.”

New Radicals disbanded shortly after their only album, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too, was released in 1998. Alexander cited his weariness with an endless string of boring press events and the demands of touring for his decision to call it quits, but Brisebois explained that the frontman’s violent ways were also catching up to him at the time.

“Each new city was a new ass being kicked. He couldn’t help it. It didn’t take much, either. We were leaving a club once where he had just kicked someone’s ass for looking at him in a way he didn’t like, only to watch him kick someone else’s ass for parking their Mercedes Benz crookedly.”

“Are you going to go crash that thing after this?” Brisebois recalled him yelling, evoking another line from the only song anyone ever knew he wrote (Maroon 5 performed the song he was nominated for at the Oscars, as though it was their own, in a savvy decision that was for everyone’s best interest).

Indeed, Alexander’s rap sheet supports Brisebois’ claims that he sometimes just doesn’t know when to stop. His 57th charge of assault took place just after his 56th, where he attacked the officer taking his mugshot for telling him to take off his bucket hat.

While growing up as a Jehova’s witness in Grosse Point Michigan, Alexander began writing music early and even joined his first band, The Circus, while still in high school. Still, others who knew him reported that he has always kicked ass.

“He had to be separated from everyone else during PE,” former classmate Skip Hobbs said. “It was sometime after the twentieth atomic wedgie that school administration stepped in and said he would need to be isolated. They stuck him in the gym where all he did was wail on a punching bag for the rest of the year. In retrospect that seems to have been the worst thing they could have done.”

Still, Alexander’s violence may have even earlier roots. Sensei Mike Johnson, owner of Crying Tiger Karate in Grosse Point, trained Alexander to achieve his yellow belt, often the first belt earned in Karate and for which one of the main requirements is learning how to count to ten in Japanese. He declined comment for this story when asked about Alexander, only shaking his head after hearing his name.

What remains of Alexander’s career is uncertain, though Brisebois said she wouldn’t rule out a New Radicals reunion.

“I know Gregg’s been writing music still, and not just that song for Maroon 5. It’s good too, picks up where You Get What You Give left off.”

When asked if this was compositionally or lyrically, Brisebois said, “both.”

“It has the same hopeful sound to it,” she said before pausing. Then, “But yeah, the new songs are mostly a series of threats.”


Sean Pravica is a Californian writer and author of ‘Stumbling out the Stable,’ a story about mischief, authority, and occasional intoxication. His next book, ‘Hold Still Fast,’ is a collection of 200 stories 50 words and under and is due out in May by Pelekinesis. He also enjoys climbing rocks and spending time in the desert with his life partner.


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