The Aquabats have been a part of San Diego Comic-Con’s DNA for a long time. Orange County’s ska band of superheroes have been fans showing up to fan out with the rest of us, musicians entertaining jr cadets at the House of Blues, even without a Super Show to panel about. It does sting a bit to not see the boys on SDCC’s official schedule but in true Aquabat resilience, the band put on a show for hundreds of fans at San Diego’s House of Blues this past Saturday. Fans, young and old, came out to do a special celebratory photo op with the band but they were also teased with a video that counted down to a special announcement coming on July 31st.
We caught up with Crash McLarson, Jimmy The Robot, Ricky Fitness, and The MC Bat Commander to talk about all things Comic-Con and what next year’s special anniversary holds for fans of The Aquabats.
COMICSBEAT: 25 years of The Aquabats is coming up. How does that feel to you guys?
BAT COMMANDER: Woo! Soo weird. Great!
CRASH McLARSON: We’re just starting to feel it out now. Playing this show [SDCC] definitely puts it in focus.
COMICSBEAT: I’ve been a fan of this band since I was a teen, but how long I can dance then compared to now definitely isn’t the same, yet you guys have put out the same over-caffeinated energy each show for two decades. What’s the secret to keeping The Aquabat physique running for 25 years?
BAT COMMANDER: Vegetables! But to tell a little more serious answer; the fact that we’ve been able to do other things than write music and tour have helped us stay together. A lot of our friends’ bands go out on tour and they’re just being a punk band and I’ll tell you… touring is a crucible and it definitely can crush you.
COMICS BEAT: Doing what you guys do the Aquabat way you’re almost professional wrestlers.
BAT COMMANDER: Kinda! The fact that we make it more fun when we do play but we don’t play all the time makes it special.
RICKY FITNESS: It’s a lot of work and a lot of strain being in a touring band even without all the costumes and gear.
BAT COMMANDER: That’s not a knock on any bands it’s just I think for us and our personalities. It would have probably broken us a lot because you know you’re on a road for six weeks and you start like wanting to kill each other. I totally get it and the whole reason we started the band is because we were friends, we were all friends, and we wanted to like have fun goofing around and having a laugh, you know. So if at the end of the day, you can’t do that, then something’s wrong.
COMICS BEAT: You guys have lost some of the squad along the way.
RICKY FITNESS: At the end of the day it’s just fun, we’re just having a lot of having fun with each other onstage. Yeah and the guys in the band that have left and gone on to do other things, we still keep in touch and they come back and play shows when… you know when it makes sense and they’re available…Catboy, Chainsaw, and Baron Von Tito.
COMICS BEAT: It’s always good to have you guys in town during SDCC. But when will The Aquabats make an official in-show return to Comic-Con?
BAT COMMANDER: Hopefully next year. We hope.
CRASH: I mean we’re always part of it. We just haven’t done anything official there recently.
COMICS BEAT: We miss The Aquabats panel.
CRASH: Panels are always fun, but it’s fun like when you have like something to talk about. You need something to talk about or we just start rambling.
BAT COMMANDER: Then we fall out of a chair.
COMICS BEAT: You don’t need to promote something to do a panel. Just call it “The Aquabats Hour of Power”.
BAT COMMANDER: You get one of those big oil drums and put a fire in it and just gather around to sing songs.
JIMMY THE ROBOT: If you like half cooked jokes and hot dogs…this is the panel for you!
BAT COMMANDER: What if we just had a dance party?
JIMMY THE ROBOT: That’s a lot of dancing.
BAT COMMANDER: Not us! We’ll just oversee it.
CRASH: *golf claps* Good moves! Well done!
COMICS BEAT: You could get people to come. You already had a ton of people come as Aquabats themselves to get a group photo with you. What was that like?
RICKY FITNESS: Amazing!
CRASH: Especially when you see the little kids in full legit gear.
BAT COMMANDER: Tugs at the heartstrings a little bit when you see little kids and they’re like “commander!” and they give you little drawings they drew of you. Or when they’re like “Oh I like Ricky!”
RICKY FITNESS: “Commander’s my favorite! But, I still want a picture with you.” Awesome.
BAT COMMANDER: Robot is a big favorite with the kids. As most robots are.
JIMMY THE ROBOT: It’s really cool and it’s cool to see that a lot of the people there were people who have been coming to our shows for a long time and now bring their kids.
COMICS BEAT: You know 25 years is a legacy and I wish someone would document the adventures of The Aquabats maybe we could call it The Aquabats Super Show! Do you know where we can find one of those in the near future?
CRASH McLARSON: Yeah for sure. Like it was like a fun time filming [The Aquabats Super Show!]. It was a ton of work. And it…kind of hurt, like it’s painful making them because we did all our own stunts and stuff. But we didn’t really know what we were doing.
RICKY FITNESS: We didn’t realize that you’re not really supposed to get hit when someone throws a punch. I was like umm I don’t know how much longer I can do this, guys.
BAT COMMANDER: Hit me again! Hit me again!
CRASH McLARSON: But yeah we would love to do some more or do another season for sure. We’re kind of, sort of, planning it out in the back of our minds.
BAT COMMANDER: So we’re putting it into the universe. I mean, it was a dream come true. You know like it was a show we always wanted to do. We did a couple little test pilots along the way and just never had the opportunity to do it. But through. You know the success of Yo Gabba Gabba it opened the door for us to do the show how we always envisioned it. The shows we watch when we were kids like SHAZAM or the driving around in a motorhome righting wrongs and meeting up with Bigfoot. You know like when Six-Million Dollar Man was just like ridiculous, live action super low budget shot in the same park every episode. That was kind of by design. We wanted the Aquabats to feel like that but for a whole new generation. Something that inspires you to use imagination, but there’s still CGI tentacles and furry costumes and stuff.
COMICS BEAT: The Aquabats Super Show really felt like the Batman 66′ of this generation. Was Super Show and maybe the Aquabats, in general, your take on the lighter parts of the genre?
BAT COMMANDER: At the time we started The Aquabats, if you would have said there was going to be an X-Men movie or an Avengers movie we would have laughed and said like “yeah right”. For a long time, it seemed hard for audiences to accept the sillier parts of superheroes. But then superheroes have gone through this arc now where the superhero movies are hilarious because “duh!” superheroes are ridiculous, but at the same time they’re cool. There’s a way you can love the superheroes and comic books, but at the same time acknowledge it’s totally ridiculous. Obviously, Marvel’s nailing it with Guardians of the Galaxy and the new Ant-Man movie is soo funny.
COMICS BEAT: Finally before I let you guys get off on the next big Aquabat adventure, you dropped a new teaser for an announcement coming up on July 31st. Why do an announcement for an announcement?
BAT COMMANDER: We were supposed to have the actual announcement ready but some things didn’t line up exactly when we thought they would but we also didn’t want to not do something special for Comic-Con weekend. So we’re officially announcing the announcement is coming… 9 days. (July 31st) When it does come it’ll be super.
COMICS BEAT: Thank you guys! This has been a privilege for me. I know fans can go to your YouTube channel to check out the old episodes of The Aquabats Super Show but I’m excited that we could potentially get more new Super Show. Check out the Aquabats at their website and on tour fighting some giant beaver moth creature near you… or they might just play a show, depends on the day of the week.