Radiation Therapy is Shawn and Greg McLean. It is a legacy art project commemorating Shawn’s life and, gratefully, still-pending death. Over the course of 8 years, the project has evolved from recording Shawn’s poetry to producing original music, video art, and many types of visual media.
In 1996, Shawn received maximum doses of radiation for an inoperable, malignant, naso-pharyngeal, tumor that had plagued him with 9-advil-a-day headaches and random nosebleeds for over 2 years. It was an intense ordeal that burned the insides of his mouth, nose, ears, and the entire length of his throat. 7 years later, he began losing his voice and ability to breathe easily due to scar tissue buildup from radiation burns.
In an attempt to preserve the remnants of a once loud, proud voice, the brothers began recording Shawn's poetry - recited by him - and accompanied as best they could with a cheap acoustic guitar channeled through distortion effects on the Korg digital 4-track recorder Greg had ordered off of eBay.
Since their early recordings in 2003, Radiation Therapy has recorded over 70 audio art pieces, released 3 albums, produced dozens of videos, and ‘irradiated’ hundreds of digital images. On May 6, 2011 they hung over 25 drawings, paintings and collage pieces at Mia’s Lounge for the Flagstaff First Friday Art Walk. That night they played their first live performance - their first time anywhere other than Shawn’s living room studio.
Studio Diary Entry 8: Death and Dying
Studio Diary Entry 7: Poetry
Studio Diary Entry 6: What is our Art?
Studio Diary Entry 5: Identity Issues
Studio Diary Entry 4: Rock n Roll
Studio Diary Entry 3: Improvisation
Studio Diary Entry 2: Insipriation
Studio Diary Entry 1: Process
Art for the moment - no rehearsals, no planning, no do-overs - Improvisational like a walk in the woods. Aural and visual - together and apart. All of the art relies on the moods of the moment - the weather, the beer, the TV . No patterns or structure - 2 hours a week, every week, for 8 years.
They began with a simple idea - techno poetry. Using a cheap, digital 4-track recorder with built-in effects, they immediately realized the potential of digital audio art. The tools, evolved from beer, voice, and old acoustic guitar to keyboards, bass, and a 1979 Fender Stratocaster. On the weekend of August 11, 2005, radiation therapy made available to the world - of Flagstaff, AZ - their 13-track debut CD, Radiation Therapy: People and their Problems.
Less than a year later they produced their second CD, Radiation Therapy: As Ugly As You Are and made it available on iTunes, Amazon and other major download sites. On October 31, 2007 they released God Damned Halloween followed in 2010 by Nothing From No One - an instrumental collection.
Inspired by the success of their audio art, Radiation Therapy began to explore ways to express it visually. Images and videos were moments too, and they began to alter these moments and memories - producing their first early notions of 'memory modification'. The idea came into even clearer focus when they discovered the concept was reinforced by using old, analog media like photographs, home movies, and old audio recordings of family.