Singer Brian Nichol and guitarist Stephen ‘Fess’ Parker had played together in a high school band in the NSW south coast town of Bega before moving to Sydney where they became the core of a band called Big Swifty.
They were joined by Queenslander Geoff Turner on bass, Chris Tagg on drums and Brendan Callinan on keyboards.
In 1978, the band removed themselves to the wilds of suburban Blacktown where they re-emerged as The Radiators with all the songs for their Feel The Heat album.
Originally lumped in with the New Wave scene, in reality, The Radiators were a pub rock band with a sense of humour. And in their heyday they were one of the hardest working bands in Australia, touring constantly and racking up over 2,500 gigs by the early 1990s.
Their first single (on WEA) was Comin’ Home which reached #33 – and earned them their New Wave tag.
Fess’ Song (“I take drugs, I like sex, I like looking at dirty pictures, I like lying in bed with Fess”) followed and the support slot on The Police‘s Australian tour.
Hit And Run was the third single lifted from their debut LP which went on to sell 90,000 copies. In 1981 they changed record labels and released Roomful Of Diamonds. 1982 brought the singles Up For Grabs and Nothing’s Changed.
A new contract with EMI produced the album Scream Of The Real and the singles No Tragedy and You.
Another LP followed in 1984 (Life’s A Gamble) along with three singles; The Beatles‘ Revolution, Life’s A Gamble and A Bit Of Pain Never Hurts. Long-serving drummer Chris Tagg left in June 1984 to be replaced by a string of others.
The band with more record labels than hot dinners continued recording well into the 90s but by then their brand of boogie-influenced rock had been superseded by more alternative guitar bands. But, being the pub rock warhorses that they were, The Radiators would not stop.
The Radiators (still one of the hardest working bands in the land) still play live in Australia today.
Of special note is the band’s most (in)famous song, and solid live favourite, a charming little ditty entitled Give Me Head which is about, well . . . you work it out.
Stephen ‘Fess’ Parker