Infobox musical artist
Name = The Aquabats
Img_capt = The Aquabats performing in
Background = group_or_band
Huntington Beach, California, U.S.
Genre = Rock,
pop punk, ska, new wave, synthpop
Years_active = 1994–present
Label = Horchata,
Goldenvoice, Fearless, Nitro
B.H.R., The Sandfleas, Digital Unicorn, Blink-182, Box Car Racer, +44, Assorted Jelly Beans, DJ Lance Rock, Supernova
URL = [http://www.theaquabats.com/ theaquabats.com]
Current_members = The MC Bat Commander
Jimmy the Robot
Eagle "Bones" Falconhawk
Past_members = Roddy B.
Ben the Brain
Chainsaw the Prince of Karate
The Baron von Tito
The Aquabats (often written as The Aquabats!) are an American rock band formed in 1994 in
Huntington Beach, Californiaand currently recording for Nitro Records. They have released four full-length studio albums and have toured internationally. They are best known for their mythology, in which they claim to be superheroes on a quest to save the world from evil through music. As a part of this mythology the band members have adopted superhero pseudonyms and dress in matching costumes. Their eclectic live show often includes onstage "battles" with costumed foes, and the band has built up an elaborate and ever-changing backstory of their origins and adventures, along with a roster of allies and enemies.
The group's lineup has fluctuated significantly throughout their career, with founding members The MC Bat Commander and Crash McLarson as regular fixtures. Jimmy the Robot has also remained a longtime member, having joined the band in 1997. The Aquabats' early work was heavily rooted in the third wave of
skamusic, with touches of surf and punk rock. Over the years their music shifted towards more synthesizer-based rock with a new wave influence. Their current style blends elements of rock and roll, pop-punk, ska, and synthpop.
The Aquabats formed in 1994 in
Huntington Beach, California. The band's original recording lineup consisted of Christian Jacobs(the Caped Commander) on vocals, Courtney Pollock(Chainsaw) and Ben Bergeson(Ben the Brain) on guitars, Chad Larson(Crash McLarson) on bass, Boyd Terry(Catboy) and Adam Deibert(Prince Adam) on trumpets, Chad Parkin(Nacho) on organ, and Rod Arellano(Roddy B.) on drums. They were also often joined by third guitarist Charles Gray (Ultra Kyu). Their music was heavily rooted in surf rock, punk rock, pop, and ska, and influenced by groups such as Devo, Oingo Boingo, Madness, and The Skatalites. Shortly after forming, the band began to establish their mythos, taking the above-mentioned stage names and claiming that they were superheroes from an island called Aquabania. One of the members worked for Aleedamaking wetsuits, and using spare rashguards and pieces of neoprenefashioned matching costumes for the group. They recorded and released a demo known as "Bat Boy" and began to build a local following through their energetic and eclectic live performances.
In 1995 the band recorded their first album. It was originally intended to be another demo, but due to increased demand they released it as an album through
Horchata Recordsunder the tongue-in-cheek title " The Return of the Aquabats". It contained songs such as "Playdough," "Martian Girl," "Idiot Box," and "CD Repo Man" which would become standards in their live set over the next several years. They embarked on tours and established themselves in a prolific southern California ska movement that also included bands such as Reel Big Fish, Sublime, The Hippos, Buck-O-Nine, No Doubt, and Save Ferris.
1997-2000: Goldenvoice years
By 1997 Arellano had left the group and been replaced by
Travis Barker(The Baron von Tito) on drums. Bergeson left the band to focus on his new marriage and children (although he would continue to assist the band in a studio capacity), and Gray became a full-time member on guitar. Parkin also left and was replaced by James Briggs (Jaime the Robot), who brought additional horn instrumentation to the group as well as playing keyboards. Some of the existing members also altered their pseudonyms, with Jacobs now going by "The Bat Commander" and Pollock as "Chainsaw the Prince of Karate." The new lineup signed to Goldenvoice and recorded the album " The Fury of the Aquabats!" In addition to several re-recorded versions of popular songs from "Return", "Fury" contained songs such as "Cat With 2 Heads!" and "Super Rad!" which would become anthems for the band and expand their fan base. "Super Rad!" became a minor hit and was promoted with a music video. The success of "Fury" and its supporting tours brought the band to their highest level of recognition and popularity yet.
The following year Barker left the Aquabats to join
Blink-182. He was replaced by drummer Gabe Palmer (Doctor Rock) and this lineup recorded " The Aquabats vs. the Floating Eye of Death!", released in 1999. [cite web
title =Blink-182, Aquabats Play Musical Drummers
accessdate =2007-08-23] At this time Jacobs added "MC" to his stage name and began drawing a
mustacheon his face and blacking out his front teeth, aspects of his stage costume that he continues to use to this day. Stylistically the album was a departure for the band, relying heavily on synthesizers and pop melodies. Its somewhat experimental and unconventional sound distanced the band from the southern California ska movement with which they had been associated, and isolated both their record label and portions of their fan base. The somewhat cool reception to "Floating Eye", along with the departure of Palmer the following year (who later joined Innaway) and the collapse of Goldenvoice soon after left the band's future uncertain. After releasing a collection of outtakes in 2000 entitled " Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 2", the band slipped into a period of relative inactivity for several years.
From 2000-2003 the future of the Aquabats was uncertain. The loss of their drummer and record label, soon followed by the departure of trumpeter Terry, left the group unsure of whether or not they would continue recording and performing. During this time news updates from the band were infrequent, and those that did appear hinted at the possibility of a breakup. Eventually the group decided to continue on, relocating to San Diego and bringing in new drummer Ricky Falomir (Ricky Fitness), formerly of the
Assorted Jelly Beans, in 2002. In 2003 the band released their first DVD, " Serious Awesomeness!", followed the next year by the self-released " Yo! Check Out This Ride! EP". This would be Deibert's last recording with the group (though he would occasionally join them for onstage performances in southern California over the next few years), and his departure completed the loss of the band's horn section and their transition to synthesizer-structured songwriting.
In 2005 the band signed to
Nitro Recordsand released the album " Charge!!" It found the band with a rejuvenated sense of energy and marked their recommitment to touring and recording. The album was supported by numerous tours and a music video for the song "Fashion Zombies!" They also performed on the television program " Attack of the Show" on September 23, 2005. In June of 2006 the album was re-released as a special one year anniversary edition with additional songs. Guitarist Pollock left the band at this time and was replaced by Ian Fowles(Eagle "Bones" Falconhawk), formerly of Death by Stereo. The band continued touring in support of "Charge!!" until January 2007.
Following touring in late 2006 and early 2007, The Aquabats began recording a follow-up to "Charge!!". Recording began in July 2007 and the band performed some dates that month and in August in the western United States, the east coast, and
England. Although their recording and touring schedule continue, the band often joke that each performance or album might be their last.
The band has also started production on another pilot for a television show, tentatively titled "
The Aquabats Super Show!" [cite web
last = Howard
title = Resume of Matthew Howard
accessdate =2008-03-16] On
January 12, 2008, fans were invited to take part in some filming at the El Rey Theatre.
Throughout their career the Aquabats have maintained a fictitious backstory which purports them to be superheroes from a distant island called Aquabania. The band's costumes and pseudonyms tie into this mythology, which is detailed in the liner notes of their albums. Over the years the story of their origins has evolved, changed, and occasionally been retconned to explain changes in the band's lineup. They have also built up a roster of allies and enemies, many of whom are featured in their album artwork and often appear onstage with them as costumed characters in choreographed fight scenes.
According to the most consistent elements of the band's mythology, the original 8 (or 9) members lived on a distant and idyllic island known as "Aquabania," populated by humanlike bat creatures. The island was attacked by the villain Space Monster "M" and 8 (or 9) of its inhabitants fled to the ocean in a hollowed-out log. They washed ashore in
California, where they were taken in by Professor Monty Corndog (portrayed onstage by singer Christian Jacobs' brother, Parker Jacobs), who used chemicals to revive them and give them super powers. They donned costumes including "radioactive rash guards," "power belts," and "anti-negativity helmets" (many of which are sold as part of the band's merchandise catalogue) and decided to channel their powers through music in order to "take over the world" by attracting legions of fans. This would then allow them to combat Space Monster "M" and retake their homeland.
Space Monster "M" placed a bounty on the heads of the Aquabats, attracting numerous villains and monsters to pursue and attack them in attempts to end their musical quest. These costumed villains often appear onstage to combat the band in concert. In addition to Space Monster "M," some of the more notable Aquabats enemies to appear over the years include Powdered Milk Man, The Sandfleas, The Floating Eye of Death, Cyclopsis, and Pumpkin Face. Along with their rogue's gallery, the band has also amassed a list of allies who assist them in various capacities. In addition to the Professor, some of the more notable Aquabats allies have included their former webmaster The Pigbat, the Sea Ghost, Danger Woman, and
The band's superhero mythos has often been used as a device for explaining their numerous lineup changes. For example, members departing the group have sometimes been said to have been wounded in battle with the band's enemies, and when Jimmy the Robot joined, it was explained that the Professor constructed him out of various materials in order to provide the band with a robotic musical virtuoso.
The Aquabats Cadet Faction is the official
fan clubof the band, and its members are commonly known as Aquacadets. Enrollment in the fan club allows members access to exclusive merchandise and to an exclusive section of the band's official message board, as well as events known as "Cadet Summits." These are held every few years in southern California and normally include fun and games, meet and greets, autograph signings, door prizes, and a live performance. There have been five such summits held over the years. The most recent Cadet Summit was held on July 22, 2006in San Diego and included a complete performance of " The Return of the Aquabats" album in celebration of the tenth anniversary of its release.
Aquacadets are encouraged to attend these events and the band's concerts in costume. These costumes often include official rashguards, helmets, belts, and masks that are available as part of the band's merchandise catalogue, but also often consist of homemade items. Some members have even formed splinter factions such as the "Astrobats," "Piratebats," and "Ninjabats" and outfitted themselves with homemade
t-shirts and other apparel to show their support for the band.
Among The Aquabats' hundreds of cadets is
Reel Big Fishlead singer Aaron Barrett, who can be seen wearing a cadet patch in the music video for Reel Big Fish's "Party Down." The cadets are such a significant part of the band's fanbase that they are mentioned in the video game " Saints Row" on the radio when The Aquabats' song "Look at Me (I'm a Winner)!" is played.Fact|date=March 2008
Music in television
The Aquabats have appeared in and recorded music for several television shows aimed at young audiences. In 2000 the band recorded the opening and closing theme songs for a
pilot episodeof the cartoonshow " Welcome to Eltingville". Members of the band also appear in and record voices for the children's program " Yo Gabba Gabba!", which Christian Jacobs(The MC Bat Commander) co-created, writes, and directs. The band played a children's version of their song "Pool Party" on the show in the episode titled "Summer." They have also recorded theme music for the show " Mega64", in which Jacobs made a cameo appearance and in which several characters are sometimes portrayed wearing Aquabats t-shirts.
* [http://www.theaquabats.com The Aquabats official website]
* [http://www.myspace.com/theaquabats The Aquabats official Myspace profile]
* [http://www.nitrorecords.com/artist.php?id=26 Nitro Records]
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Look at other dictionaries:
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