Doing The Radiators’ Last Watusi with Dave Malone & Reggie Scanlan
As mentioned earlier, we talked to Dave Malone and Reggie Scanlan just prior to the band’s sold-reunion shows on January 18 and 19, celebrating both the club’s 35th anniversary and 35 years since The Radiators first formed. After the shows captured on The Last Watusi, Malone admitted to having to “chill for a while and let the end of the Rads sink in.” Since then he has joined forces with his brother Tommy of the subdudes as the Malone Brothers Band, along with forming Raw Oyster Cult with fellow Rads Baudoin and Bua (along with John “Papa” Gros on keys and Dave Pomerleau on bass).
Reggie Scanlan hit the ground running after The Last Watusi shows: he was on stage with the newly-formed New Orleans Suspects (drummer Willie Green, guitarist/vocalist Jake Eckert, CR Gruver on keys and vocals, and hornman Jeff Watkins) two weeks after the Rads’ 2011 good-bye shows. Scanlan’s full-speed-ahead attitude was meant with a serious challenge in early 2012: diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he underwent a 16-hour surgery followed by a month in the hospital. His fellow Suspects were waiting for him, however: two days out of the hospital, Scanlan was on stage at JazzFest – a true survivor, sitting on a stool and playing his beloved bass. Since then the band has released two albums (one studio/one live) with a third of all-new material on the way.
Both Malone and Scanlan cautioned that there were no Radiators plans beyond the January reunion shows. Scanlan, fully focused on The New Orleans Suspects, likened the “get-back-together” rumors surrounding the Rads shows as the sort of talk you’d hear when a divorced couple gets together for coffee to talk about the kids: “Everybody on the outside thinks they’re going to get remarried and it’s great – nobody knows what’s really going on except the people themselves.”
We conclude with some reflections from both.
Dave Malone: I turned 60 last August and I’m the youngest guy in the Rads! So, you know, we’d been out there kicking ass and taking names and rockin’ and rollin’ for 30-plus years.
We were all complaining about the airports and hotels and this and that, right? Post-Rads I’ve come to realize how really good I had it! (laugh) Having to deal with all that stuff without your own personal organization behind you is a whole new ballgame, man. It’s a lot of work – I really have not touched my gear or strung my guitar in, 20 years – reality sets in.
Reggie Scanlan: I’m a firm believer that everything happens the way it’s supposed to happen and if you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing, then things will happen the way they’re supposed to. Once Ed announced he was getting done, I had to think of the practical things: I had a household to support; I had to make a living … I couldn’t curl up.
And I wasn’t done playing – I had no intention of cutting my schedule or retiring or anything like that. I now had the chance to work twice as hard if I wanted to.
That’s part of life’s cycle: you’ve done everything you can do and it’s time to move on. You start realizing as you get older that you have a limited amount of time to be here and you start thinking, “What is my real agenda? What are my real priorities?” You have to come to grips with that kind of stuff and with the fact that things are going to change; bands break up; things are going to be different at any given time in your life; you just have to kind of be open to it and accept it.
If something ends, it ends – you have to let it go and be happy that it happened, not bummed out that it’s ending.
Dave Malone: So I miss the Rads, but I don’t in any way, shape, or form have any ill will towards anyone who felt like they couldn’t do it anymore – I totally get it, you know?
I don’t like it … but I get it. (laughs)
Brian Robbins’ wife has a little teeny, tiny black diamond in her left ear in honor of “Like Dreamers Do” and all that it meant many years ago. You’ll find a picture of the happy couple over at www.brian-robbins.com.