The Radiators

The Radiators Biography

The Radiators' rich musical heritage and tireless devotion to spontaneous performances has established them as one of America's most enduring live acts. The CDs New Dark Ages and Live at Great American Music Hall captures the unique energy of their shows perfectly.

The Radiators' instinctive musicianship catalyzes the festive spirit of their shows. Set list - who's following it? This band's legacy rests not only on their extensive repertoire, but also on an uncanny ability to choose the proper song for any given moment. This synergistic pas des deux between artists and audience makes the crowd a part of the music. This intuitive interaction is the hard earned result of 18 years of live performances.

It's a rare band that can match the living, breathing, lyrical entity The Radiators create at their concerts. It is rarer still when this muse can be captured intact on disk, vitally intact. The New Dark Ages CD was envisioned, conceptualized, and produced solely by The Radiators. This freedom enabled the project to truly represent the musicianship and creative intensity of this amazing band.

The recording of New Dark Ages marks the band's first return to the studio since 1991. Besides ensuring that the new songs are performance proven, this break from recording provided the band members with a fresh insight on their work: "When we were on the road (prior to the recording of this album), our great fans were always there, reminding us of the band's history. So we circled back to our beginnings, to what had brought us together. When we got there, New Dark Ages was waiting for us."- keyboardist Ed Volker.

New Dark Ages' highlights include long time crowd favorites "Papaya", "Umbilical", and "Long Hard Journey Home", a loving eulogy to the "Father of New Orleans R&B",Professor Longhair.

This group could only come from New Orleans. Since it's earliest settlement, the city developed a rich musical heritage that gave birth to 20th century American music. Musicians from this region were the first to incorporate African rhythms with Western melody. Beginning with culture-blending jam sessions at Congo Square, this musical tableau unfurledin the hands of artists such as JellyRoll Morton, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, Earl King, The Meters, Dr. John and others too numerous to mention.

These acts provided great inspiration for the Radiators. During their early years, the band members were able to watch and even play live with many of these local heroes. They combined their influences with the rising spirit of sixties rock and R&B to form a new, rhythm intensive blend of rock and roll. (After all, if you're going to the party, you might as well bring something new, right?)

The band formed in 1978 in Keyboardist Ed Volker's garage. Ed, Frank Bua, and Camile Baudoin were performing in one band together, with Dave Malone and Reggie Scanlan in another. "Ed invited us to come over to his house and jam; Dave and I figured we'd have a few beers together and play a couple of blues tunes," remembers Scanlan, "instead, we jammed for five hours straight, then all quit our old bands the next day."

The Radiators quickly became one of New Orleans' hottest musical acts, then rose to national prominence as their fans spread the word across the country. In New York City, crowds that started with transplanted Tulane graduates dancing at the Lone Star Cafe steadily grew; today, thousands of young and old fans fill Irving Plaza for each visit. This story has been echoed by similar ground swells rippling across the country.

Late eighties studio collections such as Law Of The Fish helped lure a new generation of fans to the Radiators' fold. These acclaimed albums featured recordings of long time concert anthems such as "Confidential","Doctor Doctor", "Suck The Head" (the band's famous ode to eating crawfish), and "Like Dreamers Do."

The success of these albums did not affect The Radiators' dedication to their live audiences. The four years between Total Evaporation and New Dark Ages was hardly a break- two live albums and about a thousand live shows across the country attest to that. This band has dedicated themselves to musical exploration for the enjoyment of themselves and their legions of fans across the country for nearly two decades. New Dark Ages embodies the essence and spirit of The Radiators. This record is both a welcome gift for "Fish Heads" and an introduction to one of America'smost engaging and storied bands for a new generation of fans.


The Radiators were born during a transitional decade in the history of New Orleans music. The Meters, the premier funk band, had disbanded, the Neville Brothers formed, and in 1980 Professor Longhair, the father of New Orleans R&B and spiritual embodiment of Cresent City Soul had passed on. This decade would prove to be the fertile period of development when a unique blend of rhythms and sounds came together and "Fish Head" music was born. The Radiators, an extremely eclectic group of musicians, rely on a myriad of musical influences to create their own sound - "FishHead Music". At a Radiators show it is not uncommon to hear R&B, jazz, country soul, swing, and even gospel filtering through their original New Orleans Rock N' Roll.

Formed in January 1978, the Radiators are into their third decade of providing some of the most intense live performances of any band on the road today. Their intuitive grasp of each other's moves, coupled with a repertoire of over 300 songs provides a basis for a fresh and spontaneous approach to their music.

Since their first jam session, the Radiators have developed into a strong national act, a result of their marathon length live shows and a relentless touring schedule. Their reputation has been further augmented by a sizable body of recorded work - many albums released on Epic/C.B.S. High Sierra, WAR and Croaker labels. Aside from backing up such New Orleans legends as Dr.John, Professor Longhair and Earl King the Radiators have appeared with the Allman Brothers, Little Feat, B.B. King, Robert Cray, The Band, Los Lobos and Taj Mahal to name a few. They are also a featured mainstay of the 'New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival" every year. They have headlined the touring version of the N.O. Jazz Festival, "Festival New Orleans", as well as the "Benson & Hedges Blues Festival Tour". The Radiators have also appeared on the Conan O'Brien Show as well as the prestigious N.P.R. Mountain Stage Show.

The Radiators are a true band, loyal to the concept of ensemble playing. They rely solely on the spirit of the music and the lyrics coupled with the members natural rapport to create "the show". It is this musical marriage that has created the Radiators legend and secured the fantastic loyalty of fans know as "fish-heads".

Their music is a living breathing entity, one never knows what will happen at a Radiators show... not even the Rads!

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