Free Radicals (band)

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Free Radicals
Background information
OriginHouston, Texas, U.S.
GenresJazz, pop, rock[1]
Years active1996–present
MembersJason Jackson
Pete Sullivan
Nick Cooper
Al Bear
Nick Gonzalez
Tom VandenBoom
Matthew Serice

Free Radicals is an American band from Houston, Texas, that combines elements of several genres: jazz, funk, ska, reggae, hip-hop, African, and Indian music.


Free Radicals' live band includes six or seven members.[2] On recordings — The Rising Tide Sinks All (1998), Our Lady of Eternal Sunny Delights (2000), Aerial Bombardment (2004), and The Freedom Fence (2012)[3] — Free Radicals invites a group of 50 or more musicians and vocalists into the studio.

Drummer Nick Cooper founded the group in 1996, with a goal of specializing in improvised music.[2] In 2000, The New Yorker wrote, "The horn-heavy, continually evolving collective Free Radicals produces a wildly eclectic fusion that has as many influences as there are items in the Houston, Texas, pawnshop in which they honed their sound during all-night jam sessions."[4] In 2010, Dawn wrote that the artwork and message about underwater oil-leaks, oil-wars, and bank-crashes on the band's first CD was like a "premonition waiting to become true."[5] Free Radicals frequent collaborators and guest musicians include Al Pagliuso, Dan Cooper, Harry Sheppard, Gloria Edwards, Nelson Mills III, and Subhendu Chakraborty.

Free Radicals performs many concerts,[6] marches and fund-raisers for anti-authoritarian and radical groups like food not bombs, peace festivals, and charities events including a continuous 24-hour concert in November 1999 to raise money for Kid Care, a health program for children.[7] They have protested against Halliburton, and participated in marches for immigrants' rights and for a Houston janitor's union.[7]

Awards and honors[edit]

Free Radicals has won the following 20 [8] Houston Press awards:

  • 1998: Best Jazz, Best Unsigned Band[9]
  • 1999: Best Jazz, Best Funk, Best Drummer[9]
  • 2001: Best Jazz[10]
  • 2002: Best Jazz[9]
  • 2003: Best Jazz[9]
  • 2004: Best CD by Local Musicians[11]
  • 2008: Best Jazz[12]
  • 2009: Best Jazz, Best Drummer[13]
  • 2010: Best Jazz,[14]
  • 2011: Best Jazz,[15]
  • 2012: Best CD, Best Song, Best Jazz [16]
  • 2013: Best Jazz [17]
  • 2014: Best Jazz [18]
  • 2015: Best Jazz [19]


  • 1998: The Rising Tide Sinks All
  • 2000: Our Lady of Eternal Sunny Delights
  • 2004: Aerial Bombardment
  • 2012: The Freedom Fence
  • 2015: Freedom of Movement
  • 2017: Outside the Comfort Zone


  1. ^ Rowland, Hobart. "The Free Radicals". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b Okuhara, Greg (2006-06-01). "Music Notes: Free Radicals set to bombard Bryan". Knight Ridder News. p. 1.
  3. ^ Dansby, Andrew (2012-06-15). "Free Radicals Tear Down Fences". 2995.
  4. ^ "Music". The New Yorker. 2000-03-27. p. 1.
  5. ^ Ghazi, Sahar Habib (2010-07-12). "Jewish music for Palestine". Dawn.
  6. ^ Serrano, Shea (2009-04-29). "Fresh Fruit: Mango's attempts to resurrect Westheimer's bohemian past". The Houston Press.
  7. ^ a b Okuhara, Greg (2007-07-05). "Musical reaction to Houston's Free Radicals". Knight Ridder News. p. 1.
  8. ^ Rouner, Jeff (2011-01-28). "Free Radicals Blend Break-Dancing, Capoeira Into Fitz's Show". Houston Press.
  9. ^ a b c d Lomax, John (2006-07-27). "Bring Back the Jams!". Houston Press. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03.
  10. ^ "Mount Coy". Houston Press. 2001-07-26.
  11. ^ "Best CD by Local Musicians". Houston Press.
  12. ^ "2008 HPMA Winner List". Houston Press. 2008-07-30.
  13. ^ "The 2009 Houston Press Music Award Winners". Houston Press. 2009-07-31.
  14. ^ "Like Hell Yeah". Houston Press. 2010-08-19.
  15. ^ "Your 2011 Houston Press Music Awards Winners". Houston Press. 2011-11-16.
  16. ^ "The 2012 Houston Press Music Award Winners". Houston Press. 2012-08-08.
  17. ^ "The 2013 Houston Press Music Award Winners". Houston Press. 2013-08-07.
  18. ^ "The 2014 Houston Press Music Award Winners". Houston Press. 2014-08-08.
  19. ^ "Suffers Dominate But Hpmas Celebrate Every Corner Of Houston Music Scene". Houston Press. 2015-08-21.


External links[edit]