Back when Chesapeake Bay Middle School was Bayview Middle School, David Messenger was in the eighth-grade putting together his first band.
Now, Messenger still performs at locations around Pasadena with his band Radio Graffiti.
“You still see a lot of those same faces you saw when you were a kid. We have a lot of people who come out to see the band just because they know I’m from Pasadena,” Messenger said. “It’s a big community, but you still run into and see all those people that you saw years ago.”
On March 22, Radio Graffiti will play its 201st show at Twain’s Tavern. Messenger remembers playing at the venue when it was Bamboo Bernie’s.
“They were full-on rock shows there,” Messenger said. “Not necessarily people dancing but just in front of the stage having a good time.”
Through his music career, Messenger has played in a variety of bands at venues all over Maryland. Some of his favorite performances were at Hammerjacks in Baltimore and The Bayou in Washington, D.C.
“I saw a career in it,” Messenger said. “I put a lot of things on hold and chased that allusive record contract until I was about 25.”
After graduating from Chesapeake High School, Messenger went to trade school and got a license to cut hair. While attempting to make a career out of music, Messenger worked at several places including Rumors Salon and Giant.
However, music wasn’t paying the bills. Messenger briefly moved to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 2005 where he was a music director for a church. Messenger was also battling Crohn’s disease, which “really got me out of pursuing that music dream and put me into a career of finance.”
“I had kind of gotten away from myself. I wasn’t performing or anything,” Messenger said. “I transitioned back here to Maryland and ran into a couple of my old buddies and decided to put Radio Graffiti together.”
Radio Graffiti played its first show in 2011. Since then, it has seen members rotate in and out, but the current lineup features Rick Fleischmann on drums and vocals, Eric Forste on bass, and Tambo on vocals and percussion.
Considered a “high-energy dance band,” Radio Graffiti performs a variety of music ranging from current artists like Lady Gaga and Thomas Rhett to ‘80s artists like Prince and Tom Petty.
“The premise behind Radio Graffiti: If you look at the logo, there’s a radio dial at the bottom. We’re all over the radio dial,” Messenger said.
Now Messenger works for Douglas Realty in Pasadena. He plays 25 to 30 shows with Radio Graffiti throughout the year.
“It’s very well-rounded at this point with the versatility of the music that we can do,” Messenger said. “We really like one another and enjoy playing. Music has kept me grounded and out of trouble.”
Radio Graffiti plays at Twain’s Tavern on Friday, March 22, at 10:00pm. It will be the band’s 201st performance. For future dates, visit radiograffitiband.com.