Friday, June 3, 2011

Frank speaks

Here's the last installment of the Radiators transcripts I have from recent interviews with the band. There are more to come. The Rads are going out on a very high note and I think we are going to hear a lot more music from all of them even if it's not as the same entity.

John Swenson: Will you spend more time at your restaurant, Mande's, after the band stops playing?
Frank Bua: Probably. I'm there a lot anyway. I built the place myself. I cut the trees down from the woods, debarked them by hand, got 'em treated. I have 40 trees in the place. I've got 35 foot cielings, Spanish mahogany countertops, oak flooring. You gotta come if you like food. Mondays and Tuesdays are traditionally the best times to catch me when I'm off the road wth the Rads. My wife works there. When we opened up my partner asked me if I could give his wife a job and she turned out to be a Radiators fan who I'd known for years. so she and my wife are the managers.

J.S.: What went through your mind when Ed told you he had to stop?
F.B.: I thought he was kidding... for me it's like when you're younger and you think things never change and you're parents never die. It's like that. In my mind it was never gonna die. I thought about it but I never could really wrap my mind around it. So I thought he was kidding. We had the meeting in Chicago and I walked in, I was the last one in as usual. I looked at everybody and I looked at him and I said 'you're kiddin, right?' I thought he was joking. But I know him and when I looked at his face I knew he'd made that decision. I've seen that look once before when we were in the Rhapsodizers. It was me and Camile, Becky Kury and clark Vreeland. Ed wrote all the songs. Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic records had seen us at Jazz Fest and wanted to sign us to a recording contract. I think this was '76. They brought Ed and Becky up to New York and it looked like everything was set to roll from there. In New York Becky became the focal point and it upset the chemistry of the whole thing. Atlantic decided to throw Becky into the studio with a studio band. Ed asked Becky what she was gonna do and she said 'I'm gonna take the best offer.' Ed quit right on the spot. I was there. I saw that look on his face and it was the same finale. Something had come to an end. I knew he was serious then.

(Note... I'm fast forwarding the interview now) F.B: ... over 4600 gigs with the same five guys... uh, I dunno... don't know where I was going with that.
J.S.: what I asked was as the gigs went on has it felt different?
F.B.: Musically it's felt great. But as far as our feelings on the stage... it's great, y'now? There's four of us, Camile and Ed and I -- I mean Camile and Dave and I and Reggie, you know... didn't plan on this happening, didn't want it to happen and apparently don't want it to happen. But it is happening. To me it's been like the band is playing good together and the vibe on the stage has been terrific... people are lovin it we're lovin it. I really couldn't ask for a better closing to these 33 years, well Ed and I have been together 41 years. Ed, Camile and I have been together 41 years. In my heart I really don't think this is over. I think that's kind of a thing that I'm holding on to... not that we'll ever get back to doin what we did, but ... I'm ready to play. Right now, tomorrow, whenever, it's just a matter of if this band ever wants to play again...

J.S.:I know you've rehearsed with another keyboardist.
F.B: We've talked about it. It's just a big change for all of us. We've all been dedicated to this. I'm still dedicated to it. I'd like to go on and do some music... it's been hard. It's been fun but it's been hard. Anything we do, some gigs without without Ed, we've got a lot of people around the country, in Minnesota, the MOM's people, the Monkeys down in Fort Lauderdale, all of those groups of people will come back out and want us to come to them if we reform without Ed. I know that. They know that. They're asking us already: 'Can we get you guys to come back?' I don't know... I don't think... there's too many people out there that love what we're doing and like to dance and like to get outside of themselves and take a break from life. And that's kind of what we do. We help them take a break from reality. At the same time we take our break from reality, we need that as well.

J.S.: You're doing the Monkey Ball this weekend, right?
F.B.: (Brightens) Yeah Yeah. That's a bunch of Monkeys down there let me tell you.

J.S.: As you're doing these last shows, the last time you play Lafayette Square...
F.B.: I'm sad every time. It's like, not just saying goodbye to people that you love but you're saying goodbye to cities. Minny, wherever, we'll never be there again. We'll never be there again as... we are. After all this is over I may never see all my great friends in Minnesota again. Or San Francisco. San Francisco is like our second home. When I think about that it gets real sad. And I ... I realized it at the time. I said to myself 'Well, this is the last... that's it.' Chicago was like crazy. I walked out... I'd seen people crying in the audience but when I walked out, I was on the second train as they call it (the band is ferried back to the hotel in two car trips) and there were still people standing outside crying waiting to say goodbye. ... it's... I gotta tell you... it didn't sit right, y'know?

J.S.: Has it surprised you, this outpouring of emotion from the fans?
F.B.: Yeah. Even in Houston. I have nothing against Houston but I didn't realize we were that popular in Houston. At the House of Blues gig, the last time we played there, people were crying, people just grabbing you and hugging you.

J.S.: Wow
F.B.: It's sad

J.S.: why do you think they love the band so much?
F.B.: Umm, well, a lot of people grew up with us. It's not like they just started listening to us last year. The people in Minnesota, the Krewe of DAD's, they celebrated their 25th anniversary having us there.

1 comment:

dorz11 said...

Interesting he brings up Houston. By all accounts that was not a great venue or setting but yet still the true Rads fans came out of the woodwork. We drove down from Dallas (which we didn't even get a show so was surprised Houston got one). Other buddies flew in from all over. Houston started early and finished early with only one set played.

The true gem in Texas was the following night in Austin. The band was so incredible that night it was absolutely shocking that this would the final Texas appearance by the Radiators. Antone's was packed and you felt this was yet another home away from home for the boys.

Truly sad, thanks for the interviews.