Rock with an Island Flair

Dave Malone, front man, songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of the famed “Radiators” New Orleans rock group, is back and showing off his musical skills and unique fashion sense in “Raw Oyster Cult.”

Mention the name “Radiators” and hip music lovers will cheer. One of the most treasured local bands in the last 40 years, the funky, much-loved, New Orleans rock group has been reborn as the Raw Oyster Cult (ROC) – a band that feature three of the five original Radiators – Dave Malone, Frank Bua Jr. and Camile Baudoin.

In this musical reincarnation, Malone’s signature Hawaiian shirts live on.

“No need to get rid of my wonderful collection of the colorful island shirts just because we have a new band,” he says, admitting to having over 100 Hawaiian shirts in his collection. “I have never played in a band that believed that its members should dress like clones, and our new band continues to appreciate individuality.”

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It isn’t only his colorful Hawaiian shirts that help him stand out on stage; Malone also has an interesting stash of black t-shirts that he wears under his always-unbuttoned shirts. “Each one has either a place or a saying that interests me, such as the one that reads:

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One guitar at a time.’

“Many of the t-shirts have names of places I remember from my youth in Edgard – on the West Bank of the Mississippi River – such as the Thunderbolt Inn,” he continues, adding that his mother – Gertrude Songy Malone – was born at the famous Evergreen Plantation, where his family operated a sugarcane plantation. (Evergreen is the most intact plantation complex in the South, with 37 building on the National Register of Historic Places. It holds the country’s highest historic designation and joins Mount Vernon and Gettysburg in being granted landmark status for its agricultural acreage.)

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“I loved growing up at Evergreen and having the unique Louisiana small town of Edgard as my stomping ground,” he says.

Its easy to see why he has also has a Honey Hush t-shirt in his collection, while his signature t-shirt is more Uptown New Orleans with a fleur dis lis in a shamrock emblem on a champagne glass.

Another interesting signature style, in addition to his stage and daily dress, is the collection of colorful bracelets he has made.

“With so much time spent on our tour bus, I just found making beaded bracelets was good therapy for me,” he says as he shows off the two bracelets he is wearing. “Most of my beads have come from The Bead Shop on Magazine Street close to our apartment.”

Malone says he loves being back performing with the new band that he formed almost four years ago.

“Combine new members John Gros, keyboard and vocals, who formerly founded the ‘Papa Grows Funk’ band, and Dave Pomerleau, bassist/vocalist, known for performances with ‘Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes,’ and former ‘Rads’ Frank’s drum virtuosity, and vocals and guitar by Camile and you have some amazing music,” he says. “We play a lot of new stuff, but we can’t go anywhere that we don’t get requests to play old Radiators tunes.”

He says that many of the songs he wrote, such as “I Don’t Speak Love” are still favorites with his current audiences.

“You don’t play with a popular band such as the Radiators for over 33 years, with gigs in every state except North Dakota, and not have loyal followers,” he says.

Regardless of how much Malone has traveled, some of his best memories are of local performances – at Tipitinas, Jimmy’s and the Dream Palace.

“There were times I felt the Radiators were the house band for Tulane University students,” he says. “They were always our loyal supporters at every club in New Orleans, and as they graduated and moved away, and we traveled around the country, Tulane alumini seemed to be everywhere singing and dancing along to our music.”

Today Dave’s music life goes on.

“It’s more or less, ‘Have guitar and a Hawaiian shirt and ready to play and sing for you,’” he says. “It’s a great life.”

 

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