In 1994, the members of what was to become Arab on Radar were all applying for jobs at Electric Boat, a Groton, CT-based company that manufactures nuclear and Trident submarines. After going back and forth to the company for three days and taking a series of three tests lasting 17 hours, the members became friends. On the final day of testing, the members went out for drinks to celebrate. After a few beers, they decided to start a band. A girl named Andrea was sitting in the bar at the time and said she would play bass. Ironically, she had just been fired from a clerk position at Electric Boat. After a short period of time, the rest of the band that had taken the tests received rejection letters from the company. Having no other place to turn for a full-time job since Electric Boat was one of the only jobs available to the uneducated -- which the band was at the time -- Arab on Radar was born.
After some rough beginnings, Arab on Radar finally started to become a cohesive unit that was desperate and downtrodden enough to take an attempt at redefining music. They even went so far as to drop their names from association with the group, because they felt the focus was on the songs and the idea of Arab on Radar, as opposed to the people creating the music. The band's first album, titled Queen Hygiene II, appeared on the Providence, RI, label Herapin Records in 1997. Herapin's owner, Jeff Toste of Laurels and Bossman fame, took an interest in the group. Then, in November 1998, the Boston-based OpPoPop imprint issued Arab on Radar's second full-length album, Rough Day at the Orifice. Andrea left the band shortly after the release, leaving them without a bass player, yet the band decided to continue onward.
Following their second LP, Arab on Radar signed to Skin Graft in 1999 at the insistence of Weasel Walter, known for his work with the label's Flying Luttenbachers and Lake of Dracula. This signing led to the April 2000 release of their third full-length, Soak the Saddle, which was produced by Walter. A month after the album came out, the band issued a split 7" on the GSL label with experimental rock band the Locust. Arab on Radar followed the releases with their first European tour in late summer 2000. ~ Stephen Howell
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