Aquabania….”A land 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.”
I talked to Crash McLarson from the Aquabats way longer than I was supposed to, and while his manager may or may not have been listening in, we decided that we are going into business together selling slushy ice beers (to the Canadians), anti-negativity helmets and promoting a musical showdown between his band and a band that he so adored during his musical youth… Madness.
When Crash called me he was in sub-zero Colorado, where ‘you don’t even have to put your food in the refrigerator’, The band had just finished soundchecking for an Aquabats show later that night (Radio down Off the new EP & Story of nothing from an old record called the fury).
The band started out back in ’94 in Orange county California. They were mainly based in the Huntington beach area, where they ‘dug the underground bunker’, not far from Long Beach and they cut their teeth at the same time and in the same places as bands such as Sublime, No Doubt and fellow Soundwave tourists Reel Big Fish. According to Crash there was lots of punk and hardcore in Huntington beach. ‘It had the cool ocean breeze keeping it cool’
Perhaps that’s where all the music came from, the cool ocean breezes..?
”Yeah maybe. ,that should been the name of the record!, Cool ocean breezes… ”
Huntington/Long beach was a hub of music and sub-cultural activity at that time. Mr. McLarz remembers playing shows with Sublime and Reel big fish both at the same time and separately. ‘yeah there’s always been bands there I guess… especially in the 90’s, there were a lot of punk rock bands playing along with a few hardcore bands, but there weren’t too many super hero bands! As far I know, we’re one of a few…’ “
“ probably in the world I’d say, what about Sublime and Reel Big Fish?”
They were pretty drunk which was unusual for them…
Na…!just joking man, (totally got me._)“They were amazing, the guy could sing like a bird, they were interesting in a Bad Brains sorta way… They would play punk rock and then this slow pretty stuff and then then they would reggae jam.
A lot of people just think of their radio hits, but back then they didn’t have any of those that I knew of. They were just jamming reggae jams with some really talented guys,
As a bass player I especially appreciated the bass work, He was amazing, he was fun to watch, I mean I don’t know if that was an inspiration for me as a bass player but probably?! I don’t really know too much about them you know, we did a tour with the Long Beach all stars , which was the drummer and the bass player later on.. (after the Brad had died) They were really nice guys but that’s all I know about the sublime team.”
I mentioned that I was interviewing Scott from Reel Big Fish the next day, as there any message I should pass on??
“just him that the battle is on, the war is beginning, It’s kinda like D-day, ya know, the troops are on the beach, and the invasion will be in full force…”
As related in the story above, Central to the mythology of the band is the island of Aquabania…
I asked Crash to describe Aquabania for me… “It’’s like the perfect country you know? it’s a lot like Australia actualy..! Its like a perfect island full of beautiful bays,,huge awesome coastlines, sunny weather great waves, a tropical vibe in certain cities, the cities would be about the size of Adeiaide.”.
Oh!? Cool, that’s where I’m calling from!” I informed him
“ Cool I like Adelaide it’s cool place”,
Have you checked out the music? I don’t know much about the Adelaide scene, you should educate me on it though, the radiators, were they from Adelaide? I promised I would send him an email and educate him… “What about the Xmen” ?
“ I recently saw a dvd of an American guy living in some rainforest in Queensland, its kinda inspiring for a dude caught up in the U.S to dream of that… just build little shaped surf board or something, its kinda a a cool life…,ya know?”
Tell me about these Anti Negativity helmets! Do they help you be in the zone at shows, and not get distracted?
“Yeah I guess… Just think if everyone had and anti-negativity helmet..! The whole world would be a different place, how could you have a war if you were only thinking positive thoughts? You’de be thinking hey,I’m positive, this war is awesome!! Look at that beautiful church, you wouldn’t wanna punch someone in the head while you’re thinking that, I think that’s the beauty of the anti-negativity helmet. And it helps at shows too, coz your only thinking awesome thoughts, like look at that kids cool haircut, that’s aweomse, or look at that kid over there, he’s got a cool shirt that I like, If we made it our goal to give everyone in the world an anti negativity helmet then we wouldn’t need policemen anymore… We shoud sell anti negativity helmets to everyone in the world, then I won’t even need one, and I’ll just be happy living on the beach in Australia!”
No one hpuld sell their soul, maybe Ozzy sold his soul for rock and roll and he’s got lots of money but does that make you happy!? No, he’s living in beverlly hills? No One wants to live in Beverly hills!, is he living on the beach in Australia? I don’t think so…. Who wants to live in the hills of LA when you could live on the beach in Australia? It doesn’t make any sense to me… you should never sell your soul, that would be my advice to America, never sell your soul… sell your pants… I mean you know, who cares wbout those, sell your shoes or somethin’…
No don’t sell your shoes, they’ve got souls on your shoes, you ca’t sell your shoes!!, you needs them ! definatey sell your pants….
What do you remember of Adelaide?
I remember I caught a tram down to the beach, the one that’s spelled the same forwards as backwards…Glenelg! Got fish & chips, walked around, went to play the show (soundwave) and backstage was in this old prison (old Adelaide Gaol) Our room was a prison cell… We went to Christies beach for the surf, where is surf? It is a cool city tough I really like Adelaide definitely cool buildings and rad architecture
Did you know they were gonna shut down our soundwave, luckily a young (soon to be mayor) Mr. Stephen Yarwood and a bunch of Adelaidians fought to save it… that would have sucked!!
So where did it all begin for you?
I used to listen to a lot of Madness… They were definitely an influence on me. We did tour together a few years ago. I met the bass player and apologised for stealing all of his bass lines! gave him a dollar… He’s not gonna sue” they were kinda good at being ridiculous and writing really well crafted catchy songs, then doing catchy videos just dancing. They had a song called baggy trousers, how weird? There’s not much different from the Aquabats singing you know, cat with 2 heads!? I mean madness would have sung cat with 2 heads and we could have sung baggy trousers.!.!
We played first time ever downunder, it was so much fun, there was awesome bands. It was just fun to play for the kids that never seen us or heard us or heard of us, it was awesome to see that there is some hardcore fans! I remember in Adelaide people started jumping around, it causes this giant dust storm!! It really felt that I was in Aus, like I was in the outback, it was like the most legit part of Aus, even if it was from kids jumping up and down.
When I asked him if he was excited about coming out to soundwave he vaguely answered the question saying something about this year’s (2010) soundwave (they are playing 2 in a row). When I came back to the question of the 2011 soundwave he said;
“I don’t know, I don’t think we’re doing that next year…”
Uh, what? This comment causes a flurry of doubt and fact checking on my laptop, uh yeah you guys are playing at soundwave in February…
“Well there ya go, I better get ready…”
Crash used to jam with Travis Barker I found it irresistible to ask about it.. I asked him if they ever recorded anything “I wish man… That would have been cool”
“Could I keep up? With Travis!?… of course not!… even back then he was a genius! The thing about Travis is that he was always trying to better himself as a drummer. That’s what he wanted to do, I’m a bass player that likes playing the bass but I never grew up thinking the bass is my life, I’m the bass man or anything like that…, He kinda taught me a lot about playing a groove, for a punk rock guy that hits hard he plays with a lot of groove! He introduced me to stuff like the meters, old bands that he listened to… we expanded horizons, I introduced him to the old school punk rock stuff, I guess it served him well…
Did you ever record the jams?
I wish!! It would kinda rad, but nah not really, we used to hang out and do fun stuff you know.. It’s weird hanging out with a person and they’re a friend and then they’re a famous friend, I haven’t really kept in touch. I sent him an email after the plane crash he was in, just said=glad your ok, sorry about his horrible thing that happened to you, we talk a bit on face book. He’s pretty grounded for all his success and his accolades, and he has always been a great drummer…”
What’s special about this tour?
Well we’re all in better shape, a little slimmer.., maybe not really!! We’re trying to be, faster, quicker, quicker to the draw, then we’ll come out and fight some villains I’m sure, that usually happens…
During my research for this interview I heard it said by a fellow bandmate that the band has got the best live show ever for the budget they are on… the quote was; “Dollar for dollar, we’ve got the best show…”
“That’s really funny! I wish I said that. That’s kinda what we do. Take our meagre budget and stretch it to the limit, of what can be done. You get what you pay for, sometimes,but… sometimes with Aquabat’s shows, you get more than you payed for.. if you think about it.”We would like to Challenge other soundwave bands to do the same thing that we do on a similar budget! …Why don’t we see what happens and make a documentary about it?
What are your tips for moshpit survival?
In them? I feel as though there was my day when I really liked to do that and now I kinda really like to watch you know… I feel like as a young soldier I’ve seen my time and I think my best advice would be take a big friend with you if you have one, and some one knows you.. When you’re knocked down your big friends can pick you up, if someone gets mad at you and tries to punch you in your head then they’ll see your big friend and they wont want to punch you as much…
Peace Out X
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