Still totally Rad after almost 40 years of rocking

ON THE BOIL: The Radiators are an Australian pub rock band formed in September 1978 by mainstay members Brian Nichol on lead vocals and guitar, Stephen 'Fess' Parker on lead guitar and Geoff Turner on bass guitar.
ON THE BOIL: The Radiators are an Australian pub rock band formed in September 1978 by mainstay members Brian Nichol on lead vocals and guitar, Stephen 'Fess' Parker on lead guitar and Geoff Turner on bass guitar. Contributed

THE rock'n'roll road to stardom is a dangerous road indeed littered with the corpses of starry-eyed hopefuls, wannabes, one-hit wonders and jagged "if onlys".

While many bands self-implode before they even leave the garage, victims of classic clashing egos and personalities, few survive to tell a tale like The Radiators.

These true survivors of the Australian music scene, who in 2013 celebrated 35 years together since they played their very first show, are still going strong.

Formed in a transition from a band called Big Swifty, little did they know they would go on to forge a unique sound and influence thousands of teenagers throughout Australia.

Debuting in Sydney in September 1978, The Radiators embarked on a formidable performing schedule playing more 320 gigs in the first 12 months alone, they soon came to the attention of major record companies and were signed to Warner Brothers late 1979.

The release of their debut album Feel the Heat in March 1980 was much anticipated by their many newly won fans so much so that they created history by being the first Australian band to have advanced presales on their debut album 6000 copies sold before it was even released. Feel the Heat went on to achieve Platinum status and a top 10 position in the charts.

After the band's first album became a selling classic giving us such gems as Coming Home, 17 (I wish I was) and Summer Holiday, they then released the controversial song Gimme Head and Fess' Song on a four-track EP entitled You Have the Right to Remain Silent which also went Platinum.

During the early period of the band's career, they were also breaking house records at all the pubs, RSLs and leagues clubs, a relentless effort playing six nights per week for 40 to 50 weeks of the year.

The band never skimped on PA and lighting, setting benchmarks for others to follow and creating the classic sweaty rock atmosphere that few could match.

The following album Up for Grabs went gold and spawned the hit single by the same title as well as Room full of Diamonds. 1983 brought the release of their third album Scream of the Real which knocked Michael Jackson's Thriller album off the number one spot in the charts in Sydney.

This had them have three albums and one EP in the top 20 on the 2nx album charts at the same time, this again giving them the hit single with the track No Tragedy.

The band's fourth album Life's a Gamble was written during a three-month stay in LA in 1984. It produced two top 40 hits A Bit of Pain Never Hurts and Life's a Gamble. During this time The Radiators consistently toured Australia promoting the album and entertaining audiences with their dynamic and over-the-top live shows.

The band's fifth album Nasty Habits in Nice Children only produced one hit single One Touch due to a radical change in direction and image which was totally out of context with the band.

In 1991, after some changes in management, The Radiators released a six-track EP titled Hard-Core which was financed by the band and in early 1994 a self-titled album, again released independently. This time they made way overseas with sales in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Italy. In 1995 the EP Stone was released which featured the song Skin Deep.

The next album release In the Roar was a collection of live recordings featuring all the band's classic hits and rare studio recordings

The band then decided it was about time they managed their own domestic affairs and subsequently in early 2000, released a brand-new studio album titled Smoke and Mirrors featuring the hit Unsophisticated. With recent shows in London, Europe and Brazil all booked, it seemed the rest of the world had finally discovered what we Aussies had known for years.

Also in the early 2000s, Warner Brothers released an anthology release of The Radiators, a complete digital remastering of 20 of the band's best-known and loved hits. Titled "Radiology", the complete anthology, the album is still available to this day although the record company changed the cover to mark the band's 25th anniversary, a milestone the band was happy to see acknowledged.

The Radiators have carved a niche in the annals of Australian rock history. They have shared the stage with all the great Aussie acts such as AC/DC, Rose Tattoo and INXS with more than 4000 shows to their credit.

They have played the music to an estimated three million people in Australia, recorded more than 100 original songs with two albums awarded platinum status, two achieving gold and a host of other top-selling records topping one million units.

The end of 2012 unfortunately brought the departure of original guitarist Fes Parker. After more than 30 years with the band Fes decided it was time for a well-earned break playing his final show with the Radiators on that year at Lizottes. He does however remain as close today with his old band mates as he ever did.

With the departure of the beloved Fes, the new year ushered in a change in guitarist, in fact the first change since 1978. The Radiators welcomed onboard Sydney guitar slinger and long time friend Brent Dehn. Brent is a much sought after guitarist around Sydney and the band were indeed fortunate to find such a fitting replacement.

The rigours of touring and the passing years have not diminished the spark and energy of the Radiators... like a fine wine, they have matured into fine players, masters of their art who consistently deliver high quality shows. The band have performed more gigs and travelled more than any other Australian band before.

The band still tours extensively playing an average of 100 shows per year and fans young and old still flock to grab a slice of living Aussie rock history and rock the night away to the great catchy songs and classic hits that made the Radiators a household name in Australia.

Don't miss the legendary Radiators live in concert at the Grafton District Services Club on Saturday night. Tickets on sale at the club.

Topics:  band, culture, rock music, the radiators

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