the aquabats!

brief history:

the aquabats started in 1994 in huntington beach, california, after singer christian jacobs, bassist chad larson and trumpeter boyd terry befriended each other in the early 90s and came up with the idea of a band that poked fun at the punk scene of the time. with a shared love for devo and matching costumes, they decided to combine devo's influence with surf music, naming themselves "the aquabats" as it sounded like a classic surf band name. however, as boyd terry only knew how to play the trumpet, they decided to become a ska band so he woudln't be left behind.

they recruited more musicians and started playing, their first show being at a birthday party in 1994.

at first they changed their costumes every show, wearing things like fezzes, chef costumes, grass skirts and other stuff. boyd terry worked at a wetsuit factory, so one day he aquired a bunch of material and made rashguards and helmets for all the members. they later settled to superhero personas, each with a stage name and backstory. they started adding fights with villains onstage, at first as a way to get friends into the show for free (they'd dress up in a villain costume and therefore became part of the band allowing them to enter) but it served as a way to start fleshing out their mythology.

their lineup changed a lot of the time, ranging from 9 to 14 members. they release two demo tapes, 1994's the revenge of the midget punchers and 1995's bat boy.

first official lineup. top row: catboy (boyd terry) prince adam (adam deibert) middle row: crash mclarson (chad larson) chainsaw (corey pollock) ben the brain (ben bergeson) bottom row: roddy b. (rod arellano) the bat commander (christian jacobs) nacho (chad parkin) in 1995 they released their very first album "the return of the aquabats" independently produced and released on their label horchata records.

the cd's liner notes firmly established their superhero mythology. they hailed from the island of aquabania which was attacked by space monster m, when they escaped they washed up in california and found by professor monty corndog, a mad scientist who took them in and gave them superpowers. they'd use these powers to take over the world through music, attract fans into helping them defeat m and reclaim their homeland.

the album did well enough, and the band managed to gain more and more popularity and becoming staples of the orange county ska scene. third wave ska proved to be inmensely succesful and popular. with record labels turning their attention to ska bands, the aquabats were signed to goldenvoice records.
in 1996 ben the brain, nacho and roddy b all left the band. they added a saxophonist, jaime the robot (james briggs) drummer baron von tito (travis barker, yes that travis barker) and guitarist ultra kyu (charles gray) who had been credited as an additional musician in their previous album, but now was part of the main ensemble. they started recording their second album.

the fury of the aquabats became their most commercially succesful album.

at around this time they wanted to develop a pilot for a tv show based on their adventures and mythology. they produced a pilot, however it was scrapped immediately due to the band not liking it.

what they did do though, was shooting a video for their song "super rad".

travis barker left the aquabats in 1998 to join blink-182. his replacement was dr rock (gabe palmer)
second lineup. back row: crash mclarson, catboy, jaime the robot, chainsaw. front row, baron von tito, the bat commander, ultra kyu, prince adam, the professor.
third lineup: dr rock, the mc bat commander, the robot, crash mclarson, chainsaw, prince adam, 1999 the band released its third album, titled "the aquabats! vs. the floating eye of death!" this was the first aquabats album to depart from the ska sound that characterized the band and instead having an experimental sound with punk rock and new wave influences.

the record label had mixed feelings about it, stating that it would be difficult to promote and it didn't have a song that could be marketed as a single. they wrote more than 40 songs for the album, around 30 were recorded and only 14 released.

the album, as predicted by the record label, was not a commercial success, although it's currently regarded by fans as one of their best. they had a music video budget, which they used to produce a better pilot for a tv show, titled "the aquabats! in color!"

this was the last album to feature ultra kyu (who left the band in the year 2000) and it was the last studio album to have a horn section and brass sounds in it.

the bat commander and jaime the robot changed their stage names to the mc bat commander and the robot, respectively.

a compilation of unreleased tracks, b-sides and demos titled "myths, legends and other amazing adventures, vol. 2" was released in the year 2000, as well as other unreleased songs and rarities being released on their website.

the album's disappointing sales and goldenvoice records' financial troubles led to the band being dropped from the label in the year 2000. after failing to find another record label, they went on an extended hiatus. dr rock left the band and so did catboy in the year 2002. drummer ricky fitness (richard falomir) joined the band in that same year.

in 2004 they released a new, independently produced ep called "yo! check out this ride!" which served as both new material for the fanbase and a demo for new record labels to take them in. this proved to be successful as they signed to nitro records shortly after.

founding member prince adam left the band, and jimmy the robot took over keyboard duties.

in 2005 they released "charge!!" and rebranded as a band. their signature aqua blue rashguards were introduced in this album, they solidified as a 5-piece band and their sound was more pop-punk/synth/new wave influenced than any previous album.

the album proved to be a great success for the band. the album's first pressing included trading cards, with pictures of the band members and song lyrics on the back. some albums didn't come with them thoguh, cuz they underestimated the amount of albums they'd sell. so now those trading cards are considered kind of rare.

they released a video for their song "fashion zombies!"

in 2006 they released a special anniversary edition of the album with three bonus tracks and a complimetary dvd with the "fashion zombies!" video and a mini-documentary about the creation of the album.

fourth lineup: crash mclarson, chainsaw, the mc bat commander, ricky fitness, jimmy the robot.
in the summer of 2005 they went on a big tour called the "teenage pajamas from outer space" tour with the epoxies and the phenomenauts, followed by an uk tour and a japan tour.

due to all this touring clashing with his busy work schedule, chainsaw left the band and was replaced by eaglebones falconhawk (ian fowles) although chainsaw would continue to contribute immensely into aquabats music and shows, just not as an official member.

in 2007 christian jacobs (the mc bat commander) and creative partner scott schultz (known as seaghost in aquabats lore) went on to successfully produce the show "yo gabba gabba!" which led to them getting the idea and necessary funding for the production of a third aquabats television pilot.

this pilot was titled "the aquabats! super show!" and featured live concert footage, followed by a live-action segment of the aquabats, and then a cartoon, as well as fake commercials scattered in between.

in 2010 the aquabats announced they'd independently release a new album. however, they striked a deal with fearless records, and they'd release an ep called "radio down!" later that year.

in 2011 they released "hi-five soup!" an album that had more pop and hip-hop influences. it bacame the band's highest charting album ever since 1997's "the fury of the aquabats!"

in 2011 it was also announced that "the aquabats! super show!" pilot got picked up by the hub network.

in 2012 they cut down on touring to acommodate their tv filming schedule. the show brought in a new popularity due to people getting introduced to the band thanks to it.

in 2014 they did a 20th anniversary tour, and the super show got canceled that same year.
fifth (current) lineup: eaglebones falconhawk, crash mclarson, jimmy the robot, mc bat commander, ricky fitness.
2015-2016 was a period of inactivity for them. in 2017 they announced another tour, and later in 2018 they released a 7" vinyl of their songs "burger rain/beat fishin'" from the supershow.

in july 31st 2018 they launched a kickstarter campaign. the goal was 1.1 million dollars in order to produce a return season of the supershow and 3 studio albums.

in august they rebooted the campaign, this time with a goal of $100k to produce mini episodes of the show as well as new albums. the campaign was successful with over $600k.

in 2019 they released a supershow season 1 soundtrack album, as well as a live album at the fonda theatre exclusively for kickstarter backers.

new episodes of their show began releasing on september 28th, 2019 in their youtube channel. in october 24th 2019, a new single "skeleton inside!" was released for kickstarter backers, and it got released to the general public the following day. a new album is scheduled for release later this year.



the aquabats!