ne of New Orleans’ most beloved bands of the last third-of-a-century, the Radiators will be no more come June of 2011. According to an email from guitarist Dave Malone, the Rads will be finishing off all of the dates currently on their schedule, including the time-honored traditions of their New Years, Mardi Gras MOMs Ball and Jazz Fest shows. Their legions of fans are known affectionately as Fisheads, after the Grateful Dead followers, the Deadheads.
Guitarists Camile Baudoin and Dave Malone, keyboardist Ed Volker, bassist Reggie Scanlan, and drummer Frank Bua first began playing in 1978, becoming a popular draw first on the Tulane campus and then at clubs around town, like Jimmy’s and Tipitina’s, gradually building an audience throughout the South with consistent touring. They put out records independently until being signed to Epic Records in 1987, recording the album Law of the Fish during a wave of major label releases of New Orleans music in the late ’80s. Their combination of rock with classic New Orleans R&B and funk remained one of the most popular local draws for the next two decades, recording a dozen albums and playing over 4500 concerts. They closed the Gentilly Stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually, and their MOMs Ball performances are the stuff of legend.
The email stated, “The guys want to whole-heartedly thank their long time fans for making this ride as amazing as it has been. They truly feel that their fans are the best and most dedicated in the world and have kept their traveling circus alive.” There’s no word yet on a reason for the impending break-up, but the individual members plan to make announcements soon about their next moves.