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Arab on Radar are a noise/punk/no wave band from Providence, RI. They currently consist of a vocalist, two guitarists and a drummer. They're probably the most offensive, politically incorrect band I've ever eaten ice cream with. They also happen to be incredibly nice people, and also seem to be more than a little intelligent.

The drummer, Craig, pounds his small kit in a very primitive sense. There are no fills. There are no fancy flourishes. This is just a man pounding on things for the pure joy of giving backbeat to the throbbing, painful guitar lines that are being spit out by Jeff and Steve. Jeff, who happens to look a lot like Norm MacDonald, plays high, tinny notes that repeat and repeat and repeat... like the guitarists equivalent to the ever-popular repetitive piano figure from much trance music--only much harder on the ears. Steve, the non-Norm MacDonald looking guitarist, makes detuned, whooshing vacuum cleaner noises emanate from his instrument. Above all of this, Eric sings and shouts in a nasal voice about bed wetting, tampons and masturbation.

They've released four albums:

They've also released split 7"s with The Locust and more recently with Kid Commando, and Eric has written a book of his offensive ramblings and drawings, Pussy Pow Wow. A singles compilation on 31G Records is forthcoming.

In the live setting, it's pure chaos. Steve has a tendency to climb on his amp, and contort in ways so that it appears he is fighting with his guitar. Craig always starts a song by screaming "1 2 3 4" and smashing down on his snare, and Eric leaps about, falling into the audience, running around, tackling audience members and making a bloody mess of himself. After not seeing them for three months, I saw them play a show with The Locust and another Providence band, Lightning Bolt. I was blown away by their intensity and given a renewed appreciation for the machine that is Arab on Radar.

UPDATE: As of 10/2002, Arab on Radar have broken up.

Various Personal Anecdotes:
  • On 4/20/2002, at Culture Shock Festival in Purchase, NY, Steve from Arab on Radar snuck some of us into the room where the bands were to be eating, which also happened to be the cafeteria for SUNY Purchase. We ate a lot of their ice cream and cereal, and some of the more daring amongst us also ate the croissants and various other pastries and dainties reserved for the bands.
  • Eric, leaping into the audience at one of their shows, grabbed my friend Ren's wrist and broke his Chairman Mao watch.
  • Smoking a lot of weed with the band on a couple of occasions.
  • Craig used to teach video production, editing and composition at School One, an alternative school on Providence's east side. (This was before I attended school there, unfortunately.)

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