Tipitina’s has announced it will present the return of the Radiators for two shows to mark the club’s 35th anniversary January 18th and 19th, 2013. The New Orleans band bade farewell to its fans with a weekend’s worth of shows at Tips in June of 2011. Highlights of those performances are collected on the 3-CD set The Last Watusi, reviewed in the September issue of OffBeat.
“I miss the guys,” says the band’s frontman, guitarist/vocalist Dave Malone. “I miss the whole exchange. I realize how special it was. People are always telling me what the Radiators mean to them. It means the same to me. I never wanted to end it.”
“We paralleled one another,” says Malone. “There was a special energy that came from the Radiators fans, especially when we played Tipitina’s. The nights we reached undeniably great peaks it was because the energy of the crowd carried us there.”
The Radiators performed a brief reunion set earlier this year at the Howlin’ Wolf as part of a benefit for bassist Reggie Scanlan, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after the Last Watusi shows. Scanlan had successful surgery and is currently in remission, playing a full touring schedule with the New Orleans all-star band the Suspects.
Scanlan has been working hard on his rehabilitation and didn’t expect to hear from his former bandmates about a reunion.
“It was a surprise to me,” he admits. “Between trying to get myself back together after the operation and trying to get the Suspects on track I really hadn’t been thinking about it.”
The Suspects cut a live album at the Maple Leaf at the end of September.
Scanlan’s former bandmates in the Radiators have also been busy since the breakup. Malone has been touring with his brother Tommy as the Malone Brothers.
“We’ve had great response from fans to the Malone Brothers,” says Malone. “But there’s a little pull, like some of the fans think it’s not enough about the Radiators and other fans think it’s not enough about (Tommy’s former band) the subdudes.” Guitarist Camile Baudoin has also been touring with his band, the Living Rumors. Ed Volker, keyboardist/vocalist and principal songwriter for the group has been playing occasional shows and writing new material at an extraordinary pace. He’s released several albums of previously unknown songs since the breakup and has a new album just out, Payroll of Bones. Volker will play his own show at Chickie Wah Wah Thursday night, January 17.
The band insists that the reunion shows are not part of a larger plan to bring the group back together.
“I could envision us playing a special occasion in New Orleans every year and a half,” says Malone, “but we’ll never tour again.”
Tickets, $50 each plus web fees, go on sale on Friday, October 5 at 10 a.m. There is a four ticket limit per show.