On one enchanting summer night in Southern California, Toto took the stage at an outdoor arena and covered a Weezer song, while only miles away, Weezer happened to be performing with “Weird Al” Yankovic, belting out their rendition of Toto’s “Africa.” It was this ironic moment which had taken place the evening before that kicked off the conversation with The MC Bat Commander of The Aquabats (aka Christian Jacobs), as Weird Al is not only a friend of his but a major part of the group’s recent Kickstarter campaign.
The Aquabats are currently gathering a Legion of Righteous Comrades, consisting of both new and longtime fans, to rally in support of new music and new episodes of “The Aquabats! Super Show!” The popular series originally aired on the Hub Network from 2012-2014, before the network was rebranded. Ever since that, the show has maintained an unwavering demand for a revival. Jack Black (who met Jacobs on the set of ‘Yo Gabba Gabba!’) and Electric Dynamite have already signed on to executive produce, should it move into production, seeing that the $1,110,000 goal is met.
Don’t let that number fool you. Even if they reach their target, the band doesn’t actually receive that amount. Jacobs admitted at the beginning, he even had his own misperceptions about Kickstarter. Right off the bat, 40 percent of that goes to Kickstarter rewards and expenses. The group is trying to raise enough to make an extended special episode of the show, get the attention of the networks, and make an album. When all is said and done, should the band meet their mark, they’ll see roughly half of that amount put toward making all of that happen. Of course, as Kickstarter campaigns go, if the goal isn’t met, no money pledged is collected. Nothing happens unless the project is 100 percent funded; which makes what they’ve set out to do even grander in the scheme of things.
“We’ve been a band for forever,” Jacobs explained to AXS over the phone. “Our dream came true and we were able to make officially 21 episodes of our TV show.” While the group has since been looking for a new home for the series, they’ve also been out playing shows, which has encouraged fans to push for some sort of crowdfunding in order to help get the ball rolling. “Really, it’s been a few years in the making but this is just the culmination of what the fans have been asking for,” Jacobs says. “Something that was kind of unheard of growing up is now very much a reality in this internet day and age. That’s the thing with The Aquabats is that we have a family type of fan base. So, let’s do it together.”
AXS: Tell me more about some of the celebrities who’ve also come on board for the cause?
Christian Jacobs: With Al and Jack, they’ve been on board for a while. Working together with them on “Yo Gabba Gabba!” we became friends and it seemed like a fun partnership. Thomas Lennon from “Reno 911!” and Oscar Nuñez; a lot of the people who are on the campaign we’ve worked with in some capacity or another. Asking Jack to come on board, we felt like, he is the “mighty wizard” that will bring kids, parents, and grandparents together. Everyone loves Jack. He was really all about it. His kids were fans of the show. Really, we just put out the call and they responded with being incredible dudes and great people.
AXS: Looking back from when you first got together, do you feel like you guys have accomplished what you originally set out to do?
CJ: I think that’s the one big variable. We just started as a group of guys in a bunch of other bands. We loved music, we loved getting together and we just were having a laugh. Our buddy Catboy, Boyd, he worked at a wetsuit factory and made us some wetsuit costumes. We were like, what is this? We don’t know? It’s kind of like Devo meets The Specials. And then it snowballed into, we’re superheroes, from another island [Aquabania] and we’re here to save the world. Then it just got really ridiculous. The dream come true was that we got to make a TV show. That was always a dream. Even our early record, The Fury of The Aquabats! which Travis Barker played on, we had a theme song to our TV show back then. I think the thing with the show is that we felt like it kind of got pulled before it really got to get out to a lot of people. In Australia, England, and Canada, around where the show’s been played, it’s been a big hit. It’s still on the air in England. We were just there in February and I was walking through Brixton, and this little girl [recognized me by my mustache]. It was amazing to me that kids still really respond to it. We’re definitely underdogs. We always have been. I think there’s something about kids responding to underdogs because essentially the characters on the show are just a bunch of big kids. Somehow we end up winning – something – a consolation burrito or something. We’re approaching our 25-year anniversary next year. So, absolutely we’ve exceeded our expectations. We’ve gotten way further than we ever thought we could.
AXS: How do you see The Aquabats evolving now, both with the new episodes and your music?
CJ: We have a ton of songs that we wrote for the show. We have a new record that’s ready to come out that’s a soundtrack of the first season of the show. There are eight more episodes full of music as well that we have. So, we do have some stuff on deck. But, we’re thinking about starting fresh and doing a whole bunch of stuff. It’s amazing nowadays kids are so into dance music. So, we’d love to do our take on all that stuff. Like, The Aquabats dance music album. Just to be silly. A bunch of burrito lovers dancing is always hilarious.
If you want to help these heroes, there are plenty of ways you can do your part – many of them include a wide variety of prizes. The month-long Kickstarter campaign ends on Sep. 1, culminating in a celebration at the El Rey Theatre. You can pick up tickets here at AXS.
The Aquabats, of course, will be hosting the Sep. 1 event. There will be villains, guest stars, magicians, jugglers, and probably even people spinning plates; like a dream variety show. The evening may or may not include inflatable pizzas, giant unicorns and hors-d'oeuvre mini burritos served with toothpicks. Anything is possible and it will be the last few hours of the campaign, so more than likely, the night will welcome a few surprises.
August 18, the band is doing something special at the Long Beach Art Theatre where fans can watch episodes with them, ask questions, and sing songs. Proceeds go to The Aquabats! Super Kickstarter! They also have a bunch of shows coming up in September. Click here for upcoming tour dates. Jacobs tells AXS they’re currently working out the details now to do a full national tour in the spring as well.
Aquabats fans from all over the world have already helped the band of superheroes get the word out. You can join in by doing the same and click here if you wish to donate to the noble cause. Make sure to follow the story by checking out the recent webisodes. The first one kicks off with Jack Black and will be followed by 10 mini-videos. Guaranteed, you’ll see some more people popping up that you may recognize. You’ll also get a narrative of how The Bat Commander is going to get all of The Aquabats back. If you follow the campaign, you’ll get instant updates on that.
“We’ve been doing this a long time and the reason we’re still doing it is because of the fans. This is really about them. We want to be able to give them back what they want. We appreciate them. Like that little girl in England. I don’t even think she knew we were a real band. She just thought it was so strange to meet The Bat Commander on the street. So, we want to get out there and meet more of our fans. This gives us a chance to keep doing that,” Jacobs said. “It’s going to be fun to see what happens. We know our fans are out there. We’re counting on them to help spread the word.”