The Aquabats are an American rock band formed in Orange County, California in 1994. Their genres of music include rock, new wave, pop punk, and ska. There have been several changes in the band’s line-up throughout the years. Since 2006, the members of the band include: singer Christian Jacobs (The MC Bat Commander), bassist Chad Larson (Crash McLarson), keyboardist James Briggs (Jimmy the Robot), drummer Richard Falomir (Ricky Fitness), and guitarist Ian Fowles (Eagle “Bones” Falconhawk).
The band members are easily identified by their masks and matching costumes. They are perhaps best known for their comedic persona in which they claim to be crime-fighting superheroes, a theme which serves as the subject of much of their music, and as part of their theatrical stage shows which generally feature various choreographed stunts and fight scenes with costumed villains and allies. The group created a backstory that they are superheroes from the island Aquabania, and each time members of the band are interviewed they exaggerate the backstory.
The Aquabats have continued to evolve musically over the course of their career. They originally started out as an eight-member ska band which consisted of the three founders – Christian Jacobs on vocals, Chad Larson on bass guitar, Boyd Terry on trumpet – and several more musician friends from other local bands that they recruited to create a full onstage ensemble. Jacobs and Larson, who are both members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often used income from their day jobs to help fund the band.
By the early 2000s they had reinvented themselves as a new wave-influenced rock quintet. Their current music style is a mixture of rock and punk with elements of new wave, ska, and synthpop. The band has released five studio albums: The Return of The Aquabats (1996), The Fury of The Aquabats! (1997), The Aquabats vs. the Floating Eye of Death! (1999), Charge!! (2005), and Hi-Five Soup! (2011). They also released two extended plays, one compilation, and several other recordings.
The name “The Aquabats” was created to sound like a classic surf band, and the idea of wearing matching costumes was inspired from a mutual admiration of Devo. In a 2013 interview, Jacobs recalled, “We wanted to combine Devo with surf music and ska.” The group rehearsed one time in the house shared by Jacobs and Larsen at the time, and one week later, after forming a house party in August 1994, they performed live for the first time. Larson recalled that the show was merely “a joke…we weren’t trying to be a band. We were trying to have fun.” Nevertheless, the audience responded favorably to their performance, and soon The Aquabats were performing at more local shows, becoming familiar faces within the Orange County underground.
They also created and starred in a live-action musical action-comedy television series called “The Aquabats! Super Show!” which aired on The Hub family cable network from March 2012 to January 2014. The series ran for two seasons, with several specials, earning six Daytime Emmy Award nominations, and ultimately winning one. The show intermixed live-action storylines and cartoon shorts with musical interludes. The Aquabats have toured extensively except for their career lull in 1999–2004, and when they worked on episodes for their television show.
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