There are many things you can say about a ska/punk band that masquerade as crime fighting super heroes on daytime television, but one thing you can’t is boring.
The Aquabats (also famous for their T.V show, The Aquabats! Super Show) are something of an oddity in the music world.
They have been around for 20 years and although not being household names, have certainly been big contributors to the world of entertainment.
They have released 5 studio albums, 2 E.P’s and one compilation album, as well as the aforementioned television show, and are a band who seem to do things entirely on their own – fun – terms.
“We started back in the 90’s when punk and ska was really big,” drummer Ricky Fitness explained, “but throughout the years we’ve kind of adapted and changed along the way. We still play a lot of ska stuff but with our T.V show we have a lot of different styles that we do. It could be Hip Hop, or reggae, or New Wave so we’re kind of like Weird Al in that we can write a song of any genre and play it because it’s kind of a silly thing.”
But ask him if they are musicians foremost and entertainers second, Fitness is adamant it is the former.
“We are a touring band and we did that for years and because we had a great stage show people always said ‘hey, you should do a T.V show too’ so the whole acting thing came kind of second – although our singer, MC Bat Commander, was a child actor so he’s the only one with acting chops in the band. The rest of us had to learn the craft a little.”
One thing you can be sure of whether seeing them live or on the small screen is that The Aquabats will put on an entertaining performance. They are renowned for their unpredictability and revered for their flippant nature, but they ALWAYS make sure their audience is part of their fun.
“We shoot from the cuff quite a bit,” Fitness said. “We don’t want to do the same thing every night as far as our stage show goes. We use things like audience participation a lot, so often between us we don’t know what’s going to happen but it always works out and that’s what makes it a fun show. We don’t know what to expect but it’s usually pretty good and high energy. We play great music and our stage show is out of control and a lot of fun and we’ll definitely put a smile on your face. If you want to have a good time and not take yourself too seriously and laugh….. our show is the one to go to.”
With both their live show and their television show, The Aquabats are easily distinguishable by their outlandish costumes. With silver helmets, black Zorro masks and matching blue costumes, the boys have as much pride in their outfits as they do their music.
“We do switch it up sometimes,” Fitness assured us, “but I think blue is a colour that looks best on us. It makes us look slim. The other colour we wear is purple and sometimes we’ll do Christmas shows where we wear red and green Christmas attire but blue has been our colour for a while, we feel at home with that one.”
Fitness says that the bands success on stage has led to a natural progression to television, and also credits some of the success of the small screen version to good old fashion mateship.
“We have a good group of friends and I guess that’s what makes the show funny is that it’s not just us five doing all of the writing. We also have friends that help us out and it’s just like if you get together with your best friends that you’ve known forever and you’re just laughing and telling stories, well that’s pretty much how we come up with a lot of episodes. We all get in a room and just bounce ideas off each other and they seem to get further and further out there.”
Even though many of the episodes contain elements of humor for the older generation, Fitness is adamant that The Aquabats! Super Show is for people of all ages.
“Absolutely!,” he gushed, “and so is our live show. We don’t really have any big words in our songs and they’re tailored for parents to watch with their kids and not want to shoot themselves. A lot of us have kids and we watch it with them and fans that used to come to see us from ’98 have kids now and they’re still coming to our shows and bringing their kids so it’s come full circle. It’s pretty cool.”
When asked if he thought there was any chance that the band would ever grow up, Fitness just laughed.
“You know….. I don’t think that’s humanly possible for us. No. The easy answer is no. I tried it once but didn’t like it.”
The Aquabats play at the Soundwave Festival next year. Tickets can be bought through the Soundwave website.