The Food and Wine Hedonist

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Two Hit Wonders – New Radicals

I was just giving some career advice to a much younger cousin who was entering a graduate program in the same field that I’m in. As with many recent college graduates he had the lofty goals of changing the world and making a lot of money to live the dream.  I don’t doubt he’s going to be successful, but I pointed out to him how important it was to do something that he loves and success will come.  By following his passion, not only will he attain his goals, he’ll have a more a funner, more fulfilling life doing it.

And in light of the two-hit wonders New Radicals, I may have been completely full of crap.


They were only around for two years in the late 1990s, but that was enough time to come out with two monster hits. I still hear “You Get What You Give” at least a 2-3 times a week on the radio –



While that was the bigger hit, I liked “Someday We’ll Know” better –



What’s interesting to a TV junkie like me was that the co-writer of that song was Danielle Brisebois, who was in the sidecar of the motorcycle when Archie Bunker jumped the shark.


Anyway, New Radicals wasn’t so much a band as it was a person. Gregg Alexander wrote, produced and sang their songs in addition to playing various instruments.  The rest of the band was a collection of his and Brisebois’ friends who rotated in and out of the band.  Alexander’s voice, pop sensibilities, and lyrics drew a lot of comparisons to Todd Rundgren – the 60s/70s icon who went on to a huge second career as a music producer.

Alexander didn’t like the whole process of performing and promoting so he broke up the band.  Instead he wanted to – just like Rundgren – follow his passion and concentrate on writing and producing songs for other artists.

Admirable, yes.  Successful?  Nope.

The only thing post-New Radicals that reached any kind of critical or popular success was “The Game of Love,” a song of his performed by Santana and Michelle Branch.  It eventually won a Grammy but, other than that, there’s nothing.  He should’ve stayed with putting out his own music a little longer to gain more fame and credibility.  No one wants to put their livelihood in the hands of a two-hit wonder.

There’s something to be said about working in a career that you’re good at, even though it may not necessarily be personally fulfilling.  Hell, it works for me – I kick ass at my “paying” job, which gives me the time and energy to do this “non-paying” blog.  Does my job entail soul-crushing work?  Often times yes.   Is it sexy, important, or noble work that people know and admire – like a fireman or professor?   HELL NO.   But it allows me to try new restaurants, drink expensive wine, and travel to cool places.

Maybe I should call my cousin…


Do you remember New Radicals?  Or Danielle Brisebois?  Are you following your passion or funding it?



About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

12 comments on “Two Hit Wonders – New Radicals

  1. El Guapo
    May 16, 2014

    Ha! I remember them, and her.

    I’m very clear that my day job is just for the funding, as the result of a series of bad choices I made years ago.
    Funny thing is, I remember each of those choices and why I made them. And knowing what I know now, I’m not sure I’d change many of those decisions, regardless of the outcome.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      May 16, 2014

      Most of the time I think the same way. Professionally I could’ve gone in a couple different ways and it would’ve been lucrative. But I really love our lifestyle now as I have a lot of time on for the family and house. Not sure if that’ would be the same if I did the other careers. One thing for sure – I probably would turn out to be a huge douche if I did a couple of those careers. (More so than now)

      But there are a few things with past friends, girlfriends, and stock purchases that I really wish I could re-live.

  2. the drunken cyclist
    May 16, 2014

    I am not sure that the New Radicals are a “2” hit wonder. I’m not ready to give “Someday We’ll Know” “HIT” status…It never even made the US charts!

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      May 16, 2014

      Really? I heard it a ton on the radio in Chicago and still occasionally here in MI. Wonder if it’s a midwestern thing…

  3. teacherpatti
    May 16, 2014

    I try to avoid giving students advice that will make them think they are going to find a fulfilling job because honestly, they probably aren’t. The most true thing I’ve read on the internet lately was something about how you should find your passion and then cram it into nights and weekends…and I think that is true. My passion, as it were, is to write books but getting an agent is impossible and self-publishing is not something I want to do. So being a full-time “real” writer is kind of out of the question.

    If I had stayed in the legal field, I would probably be more broke than I am (I spend much time dispelling the myth that being a lawyer = rich because for 90+% of people, it just doesn’t) so I am glad I made the switch. I definitely have more passion for this job than my old one!

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      May 16, 2014

      Agreed about cramming… it’s been my model and I’m pretty happy. The important part about that is finding a daytime job that’ll allow you to do it from hours and energy standpoints. I don’t have any need to work extra hours, so when 5pm comes I wipe my ass and I’m done. Plus, I work from home. If I had to work 10-12hrs a day and commute, then things would be much different.

  4. Max D.
    May 16, 2014

    Never in a million years did I ever dream of having a life remotely close to the one I lead now.

    Here’s the thing: I’m really, really close to living the dream (a modest one, but still. . .). And it’s not about material things. For example, I could drive a nicer car than my ’99 Corolla, but it’s never broken down, it’s paid for, and I still get 35-40 mpg on that thing. Why do I need a new car for? So what if I can’t open the driver side door from the outside? I’m far from being well off, but I’m in a good place: I can still make choices. I’d rather buy a good case of wine or two every month than make a monthly car payment. I wish I could do both, but I don’t lose sleep over the fact that it’s something of a choice. I’ll take it. I’m happy driving my Corolla home and opening a bottle of Domaine Tempier or Lopez de Heredia. That’s way better than driving a Lexus and opening a box of Yellow Tail.

    The problem is that real life keeps getting in the way. I can really see the way to a happy, everyday life. I really do. I mean seriously and completely happy. I love my daily routine, but I hate when it gets crowded with unexpected chores or circumstances. And my life is full of those. (Do I really need to be stuck in in-town traffic for forty minutes just to gt my kid to his soccer practice? Is it necessary for me to be late for work because I have to clean up the mess my dog made when he threw up on the carpet?) A thousand little cuts sort of thing.

    When I was a college puke, I wanted to be a writer. When I realized that would never happen, I decided to become a college professor, which I am. Looking back on the choices I could’ve made (advertising, publishing), I have to say I ended up taking the least painful option, not with foresight, but by dumb luck.

    I’m the least qualified person to give any sort of life advice, mostly because I don’t really know what the word “foresight” means. My sense of foresight is knowing to take the trash out every Monday night.

  5. wanderingglutton
    May 16, 2014

    Set a lofty goal and develop a plan to achieve it. I set my bar low (getting the Hell out of my home town) and got that done when I was 18. I have spent the last 27 years making my way along, trying to figure out what I want to do/be when I grow up. Not that I haven’t enjoyed the ride, but I tend to feel that life is happening to me more often than that I am living it. Not complaining, just reflecting at the end of a long week.

    • Max D.
      May 18, 2014

      I like that: “I set my bar low (getting the Hell out of my home town) and got that done when I was 18.” I did the same, but I know so many people for whom leaving their hometown was a high bar indeed.

  6. dwdirwin
    May 16, 2014

    My memory of Danielle Brisebois is that she was the only person of any kind of fame with the same first name as me. I hated my name growing up because it was unusual- now, I kind of embrace it- of course it’s a little more common now

  7. Pingback: And the 2015 Oscar for Best Original Song Goes to… | The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on May 16, 2014 by in Music and tagged , , , .
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