Some bands may find calling themselves a ‘joke’ a bit hard but when you’re a part of The Aquabats and your main schtick is fighting strange monsters while wearing blue wetsuits and rubber hats, you can’t really take yourself too seriously.
Some bands may find calling themselves a ‘joke’ a bit hard but when you’re a part of The Aquabats and your main schtick is fighting strange monsters while wearing blue wetsuits and rubber hats, you can’t really take yourself too seriously. But being one of The Aquabats isn’t all funny names and cupcakes; it takes serious commitment, a tough training regime and the balls to run around in those before mentioned costumes. Crash McLarson has been in the band since their very beginning and knows that, without preparation, it can be a tough (perhaps fatal) gig every night with murderous villains around every corner.
“How do I prepare myself? I’m doing some push-ups right now and drinking some raw eggs from the blender,” he explains. “I saw Rocky do that in Rocky; I don’t know what it does but I know it’s apart of his training program and he jogs in the snow and doing one arm push-ups and the eggs… so I thought, ‘Hey, if it’s good enough for Rocky, it’s good enough for me,’” Crash tells me before they’re set to play in Denver.
This isn’t the last time Rocky comes up in our conversation for some odd reason. As we talk about the fact he’s been riding the same joke for over a decade and seen about as many line-up changes as Hawkwind, the Italian Stallion pops up again.
“I think, because I’ve learnt from everybody, that’s why this album’s been fun because I can realise when I’m being an idiot. Because I’ve been around people so long that I know when I’m being an idiot and they can tell me and punch me in the stomach and in that way the album gets pointed in the right direction. Did they make sense? ”
Well, yeah kind of like Rocky again with getting punched…
“Yeah it’s kind of like Rocky punching the meat and you don’t really know why he punches the meat but it probably tenderises the meat and helps the boxer. That’s sort of like being in Aquabats…”
Crash half jokes. “That’s a good way of looking at life in general, ya know. You go out, you put the beanie on and jog up the steps listening to the Rocky theme and then punch a big cow. If you look at life in that way, no matter what, you’re going to be successful. Any guy that works out hard at something is really, truly going to succeed.”
It’s been a while since the last Aquabats album, which appears to be due mostly to a lazy band that realised, at the last minute, they better get something recorded before their tour.
“Like everything else we just put it off to the last second and we had to work pretty hard on it and I think that’s a good life lesson. When you put things off to the last second it makes you have to work harder, which makes you a stronger and better person because you have to work hard and focus on something. So, procrastination: that’s the message I’m trying to get across here,” Crash says half seriously.
So what’s the album going to sound like? “You know what, I’m very excited about it,” he replies. “It’s weird, because we’ve been working on this album for so long. We’ve been working on this album forever and in all this time you whittle down the statue from the big rock to what you think it’s going to be and then it ends up being totally different and it’s seriously the best thing we’ve ever done.
“I’m super excited about it. I listened to it today, I’ve listened to it a few times, but I listened to it today and I was like, ‘Wow I really like listening to this record! Like if I wasn’t in this band I think I might still like listening to this record.’ It’s that good!”
Crash starts to sound a bit like an infomercial at this point in the conversation.
“It’s similar to Charge! in that is pretty keyboard heavy in every song but I think there is also a little more Yo Gabba influence from what the songwriters from Yo Gabba (Aquabats lead singer Christian Jacobs is also one of the creators of Yo Gabba Gabba) have brought to The Aquabats and it’s a little more polished, I guess. But at the same time it’s a little more bringing it back to the early days of Aquabats when it was a little more silly. So the best way to describe it would be silly and polished.”
(In one of my dumber moments I decide to say) So it’s basically a composite of the past and future Aquabats? “Yeah it’s sort of the past and future mixed together which makes, funnily enough, the present,” he deadpans.
It must be a little hard to say that a band is a joke, which in turn would make one’s music a joke and, basically, admit that an entire career is a joke… but then again the band get to travel the world telling the same jokes to people who have heard them a hundred times before. But in all fairness does Crash think the world would be worth living in if, every so often, fortune didn’t decide to shine on the crazy fools who create such crazy music?
“It just started as a joke, but it’s just kind of a joke that’s turned into something that’s funnier because it’s less of a joke,” he responds.
“I never thought after the first show I would be doing it a decade and a half later. I love it though; every night MCBC (MC Bat Commander – Jacobs’ Aquabats stage name) makes me laugh like four times. One time he made me laugh 15 times. But he’ll always reach at least four – if not seven. So who wouldn’t want to be in a band where you get to laugh that much?”
“I heard Led Zeppelin was like that too,” Crash adds suddenly. “[It] started as a joke and next thing they know they’re playing Kashmir.”
THE AQUABATS new album, Hi-Five Soup! will be out at the start of next year.