Dave Malone (born August 29, 1952, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States) is an American who is best known as the guitarist and vocalist, and sometimes songwriter, of The Radiators. He has also worked with a wide variety of other musicians, in and out of New Orleans. He has recorded more than a dozen albums with the Radiators, including their latest release Dreaming Out Loud (SCI Fidelity, 2006). They maintain a strong, loyal fan base and were on the road relentlessly until the band disbanded in June 2011, after 33 1/3 years together.
Malone was born in New Orleans on August 29. Because his father was in the military, he and his mother and three brothers moved constantly and spent many hours in the family car with the radio blasting. “I feel very fortunate to have had access to radio the way it was then. We would hear every type of music imaginable: pop, country, soul, blues etc., etc…and to me they weren’t all that different from one another.. If it was melodic and tuneful with a good singer...I loved it!!.. To me, George Jones and Hank Williams are just as soulful as Otis Redding and Muddy Waters.”
The family finally settled in a tiny sugar cane town on the Mississippi River—Edgard, Louisiana....where Malone’s older brothers got mail order guitars from Montgomery Ward and were learning folk songs and Duane Eddy songs from the records they were starting to collect. Malone was just a kid when he witnessed the event that changed his life: The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. Singing and playing guitars seemed like an extremely cool thing to do. “I was mesmerized and completely hooked and thought that their music sounded so fresh and exciting….especially since Mom & Dad's record collection consisted of Marty Robbins' Gunfighter Ballads, Johnny Horton's Greatest Hits, The Fabulous Johnny Cash and a couple of Sing Along with Mitch LP's. Since then, Beatles music has always inspired me. I even use a 60’s Gibson J-160E and a 60’s Hofner bass on all my stuff in my home studio (and to this day, it remains a thorn in my side that I had to miss The Beatles at City Park Stadium to attend my brother Tommy’s birthday party). There were no record stores in Edgard, so I had to order 45s from Victoria at The Honey Hush [the same Honey Hush that Dave reminisces of in his song “Barnburner”]. At the same time, my older brothers and their friends provided access to other cool 45s and LPs. I have to confess though…I still love those Marty, Johnny and Johnny albums!”
When brother John put a band together with school friends, Dave hung around so much that he got the opportunity to pick up and learn to play the bass guitar. His folks were kind enough (or crazy enough) to let them commandeer the family dining room for years and years for practice. A little later, Dave started on the guitar and formed his first band: The Family Dog, with some other Edgard guys, including Jeff Amedee (older brother of subdude Steve Amedee) on drums. “When I was a junior in high school I paid 80 dollars for my first good guitar—a 1956 Fender Telecaster—which I still have and love. We got regular gigs in Morgan City and Port Sulphur, bought a milk truck for equipment and actually made money and thought we were really rolling.”
After high school, Malone moved back to New Orleans and joined a country rock band, Dustwoofie. That band was a mainstay at Tulane University. They went through several personnel changes and later, his brother Tommy (now with The Subdudes) joined. After Dustwoofie, Dave bounced around in other bluegrass, rock & roll and country-rock bands such as The Johnny Zimple Band with Subdude John Magnie and The Dr. Bill Malone Band (no relation), finally winding up in Roadapple with Spencer Bohren and Radiators bassist Reggie Scanlan. One day Dave and Reggie got a call from Ed Volker to come over and jam with him, Frank Bua and Camile Baudoin. “We had such a great musical experience that we decided to become a ‘band’ the very next day. The name took longer than the music. We played gigs as Them Neighborhood Boys, then a few more gigs as the Weema Woppas, and finally came up with The Radiators.” The Radiators feel blessed to have played with such New Orleans musical royalty as Professor Longhair, The Meters, The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Eddie Bo and were even the backup band for Earl King for years. “The first time we ever went to New York was to be Earl’s band at a club along with the band that Stevie Ray Vaughan was in at the time—The Cobras. Earl never even showed up—We played the gig and I think the people thought that one of us was Earl. We found out the next day that he had decided not to fly because it was a Friday the 13th. We’ve had some interesting things happen!!”
In addition to his life as a Radiator, Malone has put together and become involved in many other projects. One of his side bands, Monkey Ranch with a core line-up of Malone as band leader, Reggie Scanlan on bass and Neville Brothers drummer Mean Willie Green, has included a real who’s who of New Orleans musicians: brother Tommy, Theresa Andersson, Anders Osborne, John Gros, David Torkanowski and many others. Dave has also done shows with brother Tommy as The Malone Rangers… interpreting songs from their Mom’s original record collection as well as the Everly Brothers and Louvin Brothers and other vocal harmony duos. Somehow, time has allowed the opportunity for Dave to be a guest musician with several New Orleans groups: Galactic, Cowboy Mouth, Twangorama, Johnny Vidocavich and George Porter, Jr., the Iguanas, Bonerama, The Theresa Andersson Group, Papa Grows Funk etc. Malone was also invited to front Allen Toussaint’s band –playing guitar and singing on several of Allen’s songs—at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In the past few years, Malone has also had the pleasure of being one of three guitarists/Dads for a handful of now legendary shows with their offspring. The Chilluns featured two of his children, Johnny and Darcy (vocals), Annie Clements (bassist/vocalist for Sugarland and daughter of Cranston Clements of Twangorama) and Andre Bohren (drums/vocals for Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes and son of Spencer Bohren.) “That band and those shows were very special. The "kids" harmonize so well that we were even able to tackle songs such as “Good Vibrations” and “God Only Knows” as well as classic R & B and soul tunes, Beatles songs and originals by the three Dads. I was very pleased that they included my song ‘I Don’t Speak Love,’ which I wrote after realizing that my somewhat hard-edged Dad (born in Lickskillet, Mississippi) never said ‘I Love You’ until he was on his deathbed.” Dave has also stretched out with his non-Rads songwriting and has collaborated individually with Tommy, Theresa, Jim McCormick, Bonerama and even performed some zydeco with Chubby Carrier.
A devotee of the Fender guitar, Malone was honored a few years ago to be included in their Frontline magazine. A known gear-head, he has also gotten involved with The Tone Quest Report, has been the subject of several feature articles, and is on their advisory board. “It’s a great mag for players always searching for newer or better guitar sounds. Everything in the signal chain makes a huge difference. Techs are making such fantastic-sounding stuff right now. Some of my current favorite stomp boxes are made by: Analogman, Homebrew Electronics, Klon, Durham Electronics, Mojo-vibe and JangleBox. Having bought and sold a gazillion guitars and amps over the years, I’ve accumulated a very cool collection of toys. My oldest guitar is a 1921 Martin OO-18 and I’ve got a bunch of old Gibson and Fender guitars and old Fender, Vox, Silvertone, Marshall and Gibson amps. My road guitars include several made for me by Trip Thienemann, in the Chicago area, such as a gold metal-flake Tele with Lindy Fralin pickups, a chambered body Les Paul type guitar with Jason Lollar P-90s and a wacky purple Strat with a Bigsby tailpiece and old Teisco and Harmony pickups. A prized possession is a Gretsch White Falcon that my wife gave me for my birthday. My favorite acoustic is a 1962 Gibson J-50 that I play more than anything…except of course my main road guitar: 1982 ’57 reissue Strat. Other road guitars are: a candy apple red Fender Jazzmaster, an early 90s Gibson [Les Paul Classic], a 1982 ‘62 reissue green Strat and a Danelectro baritone. I mostly use a Vox AC30 for live shows and used a bunch of new and old Vox amps on the new CD. I’ve also got a Teo mini-12 which is like the old Vox mini-12s. That thing plays and sounds fantastic!”
“The Radiators are on the road so much that there isn’t a lot of time for other projects… I’ve had the good fortune, however, to share the stage with some amazing musicians—James Burton, Steve Cropper, Greg Allman, Martin Simpson, Danny Gatton, David Hidalgo, Warren Haynes, Maceo Parker, Derek Trucks, Robbie McIntosh and even Derek Smalls. It’s been a crazy ride….but now I’ve been doing this for over 30 years....and .. Yes! It IS an extremely cool thing to do!”
For albums with The Radiators, see The Radiators Discography.Andy J. Forest ~ N.O.L.A. — (Appaloosa 1992)
The Iguanas ~ Superball — (Margaritaville 1996)
Anders Osborne ~ Live at Tipitina’s — (Shanachie Records 1998)
Various Artists ~ Get You a Healin’ — (Orchard 2000) [w/Tiny Town]
Jessica Radcliffe ~ Nightblooming Jasmine — (High Bohemia 2002)
Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes ~ Bandicoot — (Full Frontal 2003)
Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band ~ Ain’t No Party Like a Chubby Party — (Swampadelic Records 2003)
Martin Simpson ~ Righteousness Humidity — (Red House Records 2003) [nominated for Album of the Year at the BBC Folk Awards 2004]