'The Aquabats! Super Show!' goes from 'off the wall' to reality

Published: Thursday, April 19 2012 5:37 p.m. MDT

Members of The Aquabats crowd around lead singer Christian Jacobs. The Aquabats currently star in a television series, "The Aquabats! Super Show!"

Courtesy of The Hub TV network

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The Aquabats band first started in 1994 as a joke.

It was just a bunch of friends wearing ridiculous outfits lampooning kids' comics and TV shows. They started out by playing in the underground music scene, according to Christian Jacobs, aka "MC Bat Commander" and lead singer of the band.

As the band grew in popularity, Jacobs starting toying with the idea of it becoming a TV show, citing Pee Wee Herman as precedent. But people thought the idea was so "off the wall" it wouldn't work.

A decade later, The Aquabats are fighting bad guys on TV.

"It’s a huge success to see something through and follow your dreams and see them play out, no matter how long it took," Jacobs said. "It's even sweeter because it took so long."

"The Aquabats! Super Show!" features The Aquabats as they travel around together on tour. The band members are constantly finding themselves in trouble, either with bad guys or just trying to save the day.

In addition to the MC Bat Commander, other band members include "EagleBones Falconhawk," played by Ian Fowles; "Crash McLarson," played by Chad Larson; "Jimmy the Robot," played by James Briggs; and "Ricky Fitness," played by Ricky Falomir.

Each show offers something new to audiences, Jacobs said. He compared it to kids waiting for a surprise under the Christmas tree and never knowing what they are going to get.

"That's the kind of show I want to watch," he said. "I think for kids too, that's exciting. … Expect the unexpected for sure."

Jon Heder, famous for playing the lead character in "Napoleon Dynamite," recently guest-starred on the show. Heder played EagleBones' estranged brother who wanted revenge. The show ended with an "epic guitar showdown."

While on set, Jacobs and Heder discovered they both served missions in Japan for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jacobs said this was a fun experience because the two could talk in Japanese together.

Viewers can also anticipate parodist Weird Al and Samm Levine from "Freaks and Geeks" on upcoming episodes.

The band incorporates its music into each of the episodes, playing old favorites or new songs that are themed to each episode.

Fowles plays the guitar; Larson plays bass; Briggs plays keyboards, saxophone and other brass and wind instruments; and Falomir plays drums and other percussion instruments.

Before Jacobs started the band with his friends, he was focused on an acting career. He's been in commercials from the age of 3. As he grew up, Jacobs decided his dream job was to be a stuntman because he thought that was the coolest guy on the set.

Since he started working so young, Jacobs said his pursuits as an adult are a way of revisiting his childhood.

In addition to "The Aquabats! Super Show!" Jacobs also co-created the Nick Jr. children's television series "Yo Gabba Gabba!" which features famous musical artists.

As a musician in his own right, Jacobs has a goal to one day put out a hip-hop album.

"It would be awesome because I think it would be so ridiculous for me to rap," Jacobs said.

As a member of The Aquabats, Jacobs said wearing the band's costumes might be the most difficult part of the show.

They wear wetsuits and a mask made of the same material. This is topped off with a helmet. He said the mask has a tendency to move around when jumping, so it makes it hard to see. Also, with the skin-tight suits, Jacobs joked there have been some "near fatalities" when playing in a warmer climate.

As far as a moral in the television series is concerned, Jacobs said there are some, including overcoming selfishness. But the show's purpose is fun, silly entertainment.

The show can be seen Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. MDT on The Hub Network. There are 13 episodes scheduled for this season. As far as another season is concerned, Jacobs said that is yet to be determined.

"Basically we've been trying to make it happen for 20 years, so we hope it's on for 20 years," Jacobs said.

Email: tackerman@desnews.com

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