Radiators Return

Radiators Return

It’s been a completely different world since the Radiators last played to a packed house at Tipitina’s. Back in January 2020, thousands of Rads fans converged on New Orleans for the 42nd annual reunion shows. Back then, there was a little news story about a pneumonia spreading rapidly in Wuhan, China that we shrugged off as other people’s problems. Little did we know that it would be the last visit to New Orleans for many of those long-time fans.

By the following January, Covid had become a way of life and something we all feared getting. Cities across the world were going in lockdown and the New Orleans mayor took a very conservative approach to the rapidly spreading virus. With live music clubs virtually shut down in the city, the Radiators anniversary shows would be taped in advance at Tipitina’s sans fans, and shown on nugs.tv instead.

With Covid starting to become a way of life, we were all eagerly awaiting the arrival of Jazz Fest in October, replete with night shows at the local clubs. Well, we were all in for a big surprise when the Delta variant upended everything we thought we knew about Covid. Jazz Fest was canceled, but luckily the night shows still went on at the Civic Theater where mostly local Fish Heads got to catch two nights of their favorite band in the snazzy downtown theater.

Once again, things looked promising for the return to normalcy as the mayor announced that Mardi Gras would return in 2022. Shortly before that, the Radiators announced their 44th annual reunion shows for their mid-January run at Tipitina’s. And then came Omicron, the most contagious variant yet. With just under a week to go until the Rads return to the stage, many of their faithful fans are putting their tickets up for sale and canceling their trips. Even three nights of Radiator’s bliss isn’t worth the risk to many.

Sadly I will be missing my first anniversary shows as well. Not because I’m afraid of contracting Omicron, I’ve already had that. I’ll be taking my son to college in Denver for his first weekend in the dorms. I will have to catch the shows on nugs.tv like the rest of the folks staying home in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and wherever else the diaspora of Tulane fish heads had moved back to.

In the mean time, all of us can only hope to see the band once again next year under more auspicious circumstances. Until then, enjoy the shows wherever you are!

Below is an interview I did with the band for their 40th Anniversary Shows back in 2018.

Reggie Scanlan and Ed Volkers jamming at their 40th Anniversary Special “Welcome to the Monkey House”

“Welcome to the Monkey House”

Radiators Return for 40th Anniversary Shows & New Album

By Shane Finkelstein

It’s January and thousands of people across New Orleans and the country are getting ready for Mardi…. Radiators reunion shows. It’s been seven years since the venerable rock n roll band called it quits, but luckily for their rabid fan base, they’ve endured with three annual anniversary shows every January at Tipitina’s.

This year’s highly anticipated 40th anniversary shows will bring about something special. Dave, Ed, Reggie, Camile and Frank have gotten back into the studio to record their first album in over ten years. Titled “Welcome to the Monkey House,” the album features sixteen previously unreleased songs. Lead singer and guitarist Dave Malone says “it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but it was up to Zeke (Ed Volker) to say he was ready.”

Malone adds, “Zeke seems more amenable to playing loud rock songs again.” So the band got together at Jake Eckert’s (New Orleans Suspects) studio and spent two and a half days recording “old songs properly. Songs we’ve played once in a while or in post-Rads configurations.”

The band also eschewed any special guests for the album. Past Radiator reunion shows have featured everyone from Michael Skinkus on percussion to George Porter on bass. Malone reasons that “the only ones who can make us the Radiators are us five.”

“It was lo budget,” Malone continues. “We weren’t overly concerned with ‘perfect.’ There were no overdubs other than keyboard and organ because we had piano on all the bottom tracks. But we are really excited about the way it turned out.”

Fans of the band (aka Fishheads) can grab a copy of “Welcome to the Monkey House” at the anniversary shows. Those that can’t make it will have to wait until the official release in April. Perhaps the new album will get the band back to their rightful place on the Gentilly Stage on the closing Sunday of Jazz Fest. The tight-knit community of music lovers would be excited about any opportunity they have to see their favorite band.

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