In 1995, a band formed at Rutgers University that consisted of three professors. Two of the professors were a part of the Rutgers faculty and another one was teaching at William Paterson University. They named themselves The Professors and originally started as a joke. Yet after the band had their first gig, they went out and hired a bassist so that they could become more serious.
Two of the original members are gone, but Gary P. Radford, a communication studies professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham, still has the band going strong.
Radford began playing classical guitar at the age of 13 and switched over to electric guitar in high school when he joined the band Sosostris.
Radford is now a student favorite in the communication studies department. When he is not busy in the classroom teaching the students, Radford is out with his band shredding a mean guitar.
The band now consists of Radford on guitar/vocals, his daughter Meg Radford on guitar/vocals, his wife Marie Radford on keyboard, Nick Romanenko on bass and Peter VanEmburg on drums/vocals.
The Professors have accomplished a lot over 13 years. They have played gigs at Kenny’s Castaways in New York, an international conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago, another big conference in Philadelphia, Rutgers University and at the famous Stone Pony in Asbury Park.
Even after all The Professors have done over the years, they sat down and decided to make a record.
“We’ve been writing songs for years,” Radford said. “I really wanted to get them all down as a studio recording. There are 18 songs and some of them are new and some of them are old. I think it’s important to have original songs.”
The album was put together in Piscataway; the band’s project was the last one produced in the studio before it was closed down.
The production was a long process, but Radford enjoyed being with his family and band members throughout the process.
“You have to rehearse everything beforehand,” Radford said. “You play the whole song and record the bass and drums first. Once you have that done you mess around with the guitar, keyboard, special effects and all of that.”
The project turned into two CDs after The Professors couldn’t decide which songs to use. The first album is called “Learning Curve” and the second is “Zombie* Treachery.”
Each song has meaning to Radford, although he will admit that he enjoys the second album more because it has more of a psychedelic sound.
“The second album ‘Zombie* Treachery’ has a darker sound,” Radford said. “There’s even a song about a guy going through his last hour on death row.”
It was tough for Radford to produce and album while teaching, but he was able to balance both. Radford made sure he was in the studio on the weekends and during any other free time he had. The two CDs are officially out and can be obtained by visiting Radford’s office. Radford said these two albums will be the legacy of The Professors because it’s probably the last time the band will be in the studio.
“It’s very much a vanity project,” Radford said. “We’d take money from a show. For example, we’d play a wedding and get 500 bucks or something and, instead of splitting it up between the members, we would just put it towards recording. I don’t expect anyone to listen to it. It’s something we made and we are proud of it. It’s an achievement.”