The New Radicals’ 1998 platinum album Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too was released on vinyl for the first time Friday, and Grammy-winning frontman Gregg Alexander provided Billboard with exclusive audio of the writing sketch demo for one of the album’s key tracks, “Gotta Stay High.”
The album — which featured the top 40 Billboard Hot 100 single “You Get What You Give” — was both the band’s debut and final album, as the New Radicals officially disbanded in 1999. Alexander has remained busy in the music world as a composer and songwriter, however, winning a Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals in 2003 for Santana and Michelle Branch’s “The Game of Love.”
“Listening back to our 90s ‘one take’ home demo here, with its out-of-time vocal delays, antiquated drum loops and yearning vocals crunched through cheap compressors, in retrospect is kinda like an innocent time capsule,” Alexander tells Billboard about “Gotta Stay High.”
Though it’s been almost 20 years since Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too was released, Alexander noted that not much has changed since he first achieved success as a musician.
“A couple of years ago while out on the night my song ‘Lost Stars’ [performed by Adam Levine in the 2014 movie Begin Again] was nominated for an Oscar, a fella at a party who was from a millennial rock band slurred ‘Gregg?? What was life like to have a global hit back when songs could at least try and say something about the world!? In the 90s!? The last mythical “rockstar” decade!?'” the singer recalls.
“I was at a loss for words, but he had his cellphone out so I half-jokingly directed him to an interview of mine from 1998 [saying]: ‘I’ve done most drugs, most positions, with most genders on most continents… with my mom and dad listening intently on speakerphone.’ Talk about a pre-media training era quote!” Alexander continues. “Anyway, as I walked away I laughed, realizing that besides the fact that my parents are on FaceTime instead of speakerphone now…life for me hasn’t changed much at all. Except that that light I always thought I saw at the end of the tunnel when I was younger…yeah, we now realize it’s actually a train speeding towards us. Better get out of its f—ing way!”
Listen to the exclusive demo audio of “Gotta Stay High” below.