An underground legend for the past two decades, New Orleans' Radiators play an innovative mix of roots rock, funk, blues and R&B, and are renown for their highly improvisational live shows.
Formed in 1978 in keyboardist/vocalist Ed Volker's garage, the Radiators are the result of an inspired five-hour jam session by members of two local bands, who found that they enjoyed playing together so much that they quit their original bands to form the Radiators. Members Frank Bua (drums), Camile Baudoin (guitar/vocals), Dave Malone (guitar) and Reggie Scanlan (bass), and Ed Volker were all established musicians in New Orleans before joining this eclectic quintet. The culture-blending music of New Orleans, by artists such as Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, Earl King, The Meters, Dr. John and others too numerous to mention, was the inspiration and breeding ground for the Radiators' unique blend of rhythms and sounds which came to be known as "Fish Head" music. Originally, the term "Fish Head" was used as an affectionate nickname that band members called each other. It eventually evolved to describe their music, which keyboardist/lead songwriter Ed Volker once said was "funkier than a fish head." Now the fans are called "Fish Heads" and the music is called "Fish Head" music. During their early years, the band members were able to watch and even play with many of their local heroes. 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 combined their influences with the rising spirit of sixties and seventies rock and R&B to form a new, rhythm intensive blend of rock and roll. 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 music. When the Radiators ventured out of their garage and hit the local bars, they quickly established themselves as an exciting live band, playing with great intensity at their marathon-length live shows. With the band's relentless touring schedule, their following soon grew beyond the South until they were playing nationwide to a rabid grassroots fan base. Their reputation has been further augmented by a sizable body of recorded work. They released two albums on their own in the early '80s and in 1987, released their first major label album, Law of the Fish (Epic Records). This was quickly followed by a string of popular studio and live recordings. The success of their albums, however, has not affected The Radiators' dedication to their live audiences. Their intuitive grasp of each other's moves, coupled with a repertoire of well over 300 songs provides a basis for a fresh, exciting approach to their music and a spontaneous and hypnotic live show.