State Radio

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State Radio
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State Radio performing live at Terminal 5 in New York City on November 23, 2007
Background information
Origin Sherborn, Massachusetts, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock, reggae, ska
Years active 2002–present
Labels Fenway, Nettwerk, Ruff Shod
Associated acts Dispatch, Dukes of Funk, chuckfayamerica, Chadwick Stokes
Members Chad Stokes Urmston
Chuck Fay
Past members Mike Najarian
Brian Sayers
Pete Halby
Matt Shardlow
Nikki Glaspie

State Radio is an alternative rock band from Sherborn, Massachusetts, consisting of Chad Urmston (lead vocals, guitar), Chuck Fay (bass) and, formerly, Mike Najarian (drums). The band's first full-length album, Us Against the Crown, was released in December 2005, their second, Year of the Crow in September 2007, and Let it Go,[1] in September 2009. They released their fourth full-length album, Rabbit Inn Rebellion in October 2012.[2]


State Radio is a Boston-based trio comprising singer and primary songwriter Chad Urmston (also a member of Dispatch), bassist Chuck Fay, and, formerly, drummer Michael Najarian. The band's songs deal primarily with social and political issues and can be musically described as a combination of reggae, punk and rock.

Urmston, who disbanded Dispatch at the height of its popularity in 2002, formed State Radio later the same year. Focusing exclusively on guitar and vocals instead of the instrument switching he was previously known for, he brought in second guitarist Pete Halby, bassist Chuck Fay, and drummer Mike Greenfield to round out the lineup. After the debut EP Flag of the Shiners was released by Fenway Recordings in late 2002, State Radio went on a temporary hiatus throughout 2003 as Urmston recovered from throat surgery. They returned to touring and recording in 2004 as a slimmed-down trio with new drummer Brian Sayers. State Radio released a second EP entitled Simmer Kane in March 2004. This EP was a departure in style from Flag of the Shiners as it featured acoustic guitar and Erin Lashnits Coughlin, "Ras LC", on vocals. In December 2005, State Radio released its first LP, Us Against the Crown. After touring for a few months in support of this album, drummer Michael Najarian came in to replace Brian Sayers, playing his first show at Emo's in Austin Texas.

The second effort Year of the Crow followed in fall 2007, bringing with it an emphasis on louder guitars and sociopolitical themes. State Radio reinforced such themes by launching service projects in each city the band visited, and Urmston briefly reconvened Dispatch for a three-night charity performance at Madison Square Garden, with funds going toward Zimbabwe relief. State Radio maintained such political awareness on 2009's Let It Go.

State Radio opened for Dave Matthews Band on May 30–31, 2008 in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, and on June 3–4, 2008 in Camden, New Jersey.[3]

State Radio played at a concert near the 2008 Democratic National Convention alongside Rage Against the Machine and other politically active bands as an act of protest.

Official recording sessions for their third album began on November 3, 2008 in North Brookfield, Massachusetts at Long View Farm Studios. The album, entitled Let It Go, was released on September 29, 2009.

Following the release of Let It Go, State Radio launched their winter 2010 tour. The tour was titled "Lefty Rides Again" and visited many cities across the United States. State Radio also completed a small European tour during the last two weeks of March.

At the beginning of summer 2010, State Radio embarked on a cross-country tour, opening for John Butler Trio during their April Uprising North American Tour. This tour featured sold-out shows at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, Central Park Summerstage, and Boston's own Bank of America Pavilion. The latter two were co-headlining shows, while State Radio closed the last set in their hometown. At the end of the summer, the band returned to Germany for several more festival dates.

In 2010, the band won Best Social Action Song from the 9th Annual Independent Music Awards for "Calling All Crows".

The band's fourth album, Rabbit Inn Rebellion, was released on October 23, 2012. Urmston stated that it was the most "rock" thing the band has ever done. "I wanted to work on the rock side because I have working on reggae music for a while", says Craig Welsch, the band's producer. Guest appearances on the album include backup vocals by Matt Embree, Darren Buck and Kevin Kinsella, violin by Sarah Parkington on "Take Cover", guitar by Johnny Trauma on "Black Welsh Mountain" and Milt Reeder on "Freckled Mary" and vocals by Mackie Cromwell, as well as additional lyrics on "H.A.C.K.I.N. (Yeah Man)". A music video for "Freckled Mary" was released on October 15, 2012, directed by Michael Parks Randa.

In September of 2013, it was announced on State Radio's website and on their Facebook page that Mike "Maddog" Najarian had left State Radio to pursue a career in finance. Chad wrote, "above all, he drummed his ass off every night and it was an honor to share the stage with him and feel that mac truck energy coming from the kit."[4] As of 2014, State Radio remains without a drummer, but is still "[moving] forward."


Studio albums[edit]

Live Albums/EPs[edit]



  • "Gang of Thieves" (2007)
  • "Knights of Bostonia" (2009)

Compilation appearances[edit]

In the media[edit]

The band's song "Keepsake" was featured in the season three finale of Showtime's dark comedy Weeds. "Keepsake" was also featured at the end of the episode "Bullet" of Cold Case, and at the end of the 7th episode of the 2010 version of Hawaii Five-0.

In 2012, Kayem Foods, based in Chelsea, Massachusetts, used their songs "Right Me Up" and "Sybil I" in a series of hot dog commercials.

"Knights of Bostonia" off the album "Let it Go" was featured in the beginning of surf cinematographer Taylor Steele's latest film, "Innersections." The song was played during the opening section, in memory of Andy Irons.


In 2008, State Radio started an activist group called Calling All Crows to "inspire public service" and "promote human rights." Currently, they are working with Oxfam America's Stoves for Sudan Project. Calling All Crows is hoping to raise money for 5,000 stoves for 5,000 different women in Sudan through fan activism before concerts.


External links[edit]