The Radiators: The Last Great Jam Band
Few bands have withstood the test of time as the Rads have; even fewer with the original line-up. This 5-man-band out of New Orleans has done just that. For nearly 35 years, they’ve been playing together all over the U.S. and yet, somehow remained mostly off the mainstream media’s radar. They’ve been on Letterman and Conan several times and of course blow out New Orleans whenever they’re in town, yet they are only really known to their die-hard fans, the Fish-heads. With over 300 original songs and 1000 cover songs in their arsenal, every show is a new experience. You never know what they’re going to throw at you on any given night. They pull a tune out of the air that fits whatever mood they’re in, feed from the audience, and then run with it….drawing you in even deeper. It’s a different ride every time. I’ve personally seen them live over 30 times and have always walked away seeing something new, a different twist on an old standard, and many times simply awestruck.
These guys were known for their grueling cross-continent tours over the decades. Every show I’ve been to over the years, I see fellow fish-heads from all over the States. It’s always like a family reunion. What an odd mix of characters as well: Guidos from Jersey, construction workers from Georgia, a plumber from upstate New York, a country girl from Colorado, hippies from Cali, hilljacks from Kentucky—all grooving to the same tunes. It is truly magical. That’s one of the many reasons why it pains me so deeply that they’ve pretty much retired. I do not feel bitter towards the band, they’ve given their lives to the music and their fans. I am deeply saddened by the passing of the world’s last great free jam band. The Allman’s are still around, and what’s left of the Gratefull Dead…but they’re not the same as they once were. In my opinion, the Rads offered so much more than the other jam-bands. Their brand of music had a little bit of everything in it, all served up with that special New Orleans soul and style that is often imitated but never duplicated.
I’m not going to write to much about the band itself. I’d prefer you go to their website and Wikipedia to discover them for yourself. Get to know them as I have. With any luck, you might catch them at the Jazz fest or Tipitina’s sometime and be blown away. Furthermore, I encourage anyone who loves music to check out anything you can find on them. Be it iTunes, Youtube, or just run out and buy a CD. They are that good.
For my fellow Fish-Heads out there: Keep them alive in your hearts, minds, and soul. Pass their music on to as many people that you deem worthy to receive the word. Recruit as many believers as possible. We are not going to have a replacement, and sadly there are no next-generation free-jammers to fill their shoes and even carry on the legacy. It’s the end of days.
In closing I’d like to humbly thank the Radiators for letting us know what we’ll be missing. Your life’s work was not in vain, you’ve changed and touched countless lives, and your songs shall live on forever.
From myself and thousands of others:
Pin It, Tweet It, Facebook It, G+ It, Comment…Share, Share, Share.
KnappdawgThe Radiators: Last of the Great Jam Bands,