Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish
Background Information
Origin Orange County, California
Genre Ska Punk
Pop Punk
Years active 1992-present
Label(s) Piss-Off
Rock Ridge
Associated Acts The Littlest Man Band
The Forces of Evil
The Scholars
Jeffries Fan Club
Spring Heeled Jack USA
Suburban Rhythm
Nuckle Brothers
Aaron Barrett
Scott Klopfenstein
Derek Gibbs
Dan Regan
Ryland Steen
John Christianson
Former Members
Ben Guzman
Zach Gilltrap
Lisa Smith
Robert Quimby
Adam Polakoff
Andrew Gonzales
Grant Barry
Tavis Werts
Carlos de la Garza
Tyler Jones
Justin Ferreira
Matt Wong

Reel Big Fish is an American ska punk band from Huntington Beach, California, best known for the 1997 hit "Sell Out." The band gained mainstream recognition in the mid-to-late 1990s, during the third wave of ska with the release of the albumTurn the Radio Off. Since the band's founding in 1992 and their demo In the Good Old Days..., the only original member remaining is Aaron Barrett.

Career Edit

Early success (1992-1999)Edit

The band's debut album, Everything Sucks, was an underground hit and led to a deal with Mojo Records. The album Turn the Radio Off established the band in the ska punk scene, and they began touring throughout the United States. After the single "Sell Out" began breaking into the mainstream, including MTV, the album made an appearance on the charts. However, the ska revival was short-lived, and their 1998 album Why Do They Rock So Hard? did not lead the band into the mainstream. In 1998, the band appeared in the movie BASEketball, performing in the stands to pump up the crowd. Why Do They Rock So Hard? was the last album for three members of the band. Trombonist Grant Barry and trumpet player Tavis Werts were either fired or left the band voluntarily, depending on the source. Drummer Andrew Gonzales left the band to spend more time with his family. Reel Big Fish then had a rotating cast of drummers and trumpeters over the next six years.

Major label years (2000-2005)Edit

In 2002 the band fared much better on the rock charts, particularly because of the single "Where Have You Been?", which did not prominently feature the horn section. Former Suburban Rhythm drummer Carlos de la Garza played drums and ex-Spring Heeled Jack U.S.A. Tyler Jones tracked trumpet for two songs on Cheer Up! (because Werts had already done the majority of recording before his departure). De la Garza's last concert with Reel Big Fish was on June 20, 2003 at the House of Blues in Anaheim. That concert was later released as the DVD The Show Must Go Off!. Jones played live in Reel Big Fish for some further time before being fired by Barrett for his excessive drinking. He was replaced by former Forces Of Evil trumpet player John Christianson.

On April 5, 2005, Reel Big Fish released their fourth album on Mojo Records; We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy. Justin Ferreira (who replaced De La Garza) was on drums for the recording, but left before the album's release to join the Orange County band Takota (Island Records) and subsequently is listed as an additional musician on the CD. He was replaced by Ryland Steen.

Aaron Barrett has stated that We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy was "the third record in a trilogy" that began with Turn the Radio Off. "The first one was about being in a band and trying to make it. Then Why Do They Rock So Hard? was like, 'we've made it, we're rock stars'. Cheer Up we made because we had to make it. But We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy is about us being old and jaded now."[1]

Independent work (2006-Present)Edit

While on tour in early 2006, Reel Big Fish received a call from Jive Records, informing them that they had been dropped from the label, much to the band's delight. The band formed their own label and released a 3-disc live performance CD/DVD set, Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album. This package became available on July 18, 2006 on the Internet and in retail stores on August 22. Jive later released a Reel Big Fish greatest hits album, Greatest Hit...And More, because they owned the rights to all previous songs. The band did not approve of, or make any money from the album, and have spoken out against it.

On February 20, 2007, the band released Duet All Night Long, which is a split EP with Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer. It features six cover songs (three from each band), with the vocalist of each band performing in the other band's songs (except in the case of Scott Klopfenstein singing in the song, "Say Say Say".) Reel Big Fish announced on their MySpace profile that they would be playing a summer tour in 2007 with Less Than Jake as their headlining partner along with support from Streetlight Manifesto and Against All Authority.

Reel Big Fish released their first studio album since leaving Jive Records; Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps For Free worldwide on July 10, 2007, on the Rock Ridge Music record label. On June 26, 2007, shortly before its release, the band announced in a Myspace blog that Matt Wong was leaving the band to spend more time with his wife and newborn child. He was replaced by Derek Gibbs who played bass in Jeffries Fan Club and Aaron Barrett's now defunct side project, The Forces Of Evil. Since Matt Wong was very popular with fans, some are skeptical of the new bassist's ability, but the band has stated that Derek is "Matt Wong Approved" and fans have nothing to worry about. Gibbs had been filling in for Wong on various tours since early 2002.

On December 19, 2007, the band announced that they would play the entire Warped Tour 2008.[2]

Reel Big Fish released a new studio album on January 20, 2009.[3] The name of the album is Fame, Fortune and Fornication, and it consists of 10 cover songs.[4] Another album, with original material, is planned for late 2009.[5] The band has also recorded an as-of-yet unreleased new live DVD at The Grove in Anaheim, California, on January 4, 2009.[6]

Band membersEdit

Current membersEdit

  • Aaron Barrett - guitar, lead vocals (1992–present)
  • John Christianson - trumpet, backing vocals (2004–present)
  • Derek Gibbs - bass (2007–present)
  • Matt Appleton - saxophone, backing vocals (2011-present)
  • Edward Larsen - drums (2014-present)

Past membersEdit

  • Ben Guzman - vocals (1992–1994)
  • Zach Gilltrap - keyboards/synthesizers (1992–1994)
  • Lisa Smith - guitar (1992–1994)
  • Eric Vismantes - trumpet (1994)
  • Stephan Reed - saxophone (1994)
  • Robert Quimby - trombone (1994–1995)
  • Adam Polakoff - saxophone (1994–1995)
  • Grant Barry - trombone (1995–1998)
  • Andrew Gonzales - drums (1992–1998)
  • Tavis Werts - trumpet (1994–2001)
  • Carlos de la Garza - drums (1999–2003)
  • Tyler Jones - trumpet (2001–2004)
  • Justin Ferreira - drums (2003–2005)
  • Matt Wong - bass, backing vocals (1992–2007)

Discography Edit

Main article: Reel Big Fish discography

Studio albums Edit

Year Album Record Label Chart Position
1995 (Re-released 2000) Everything Sucks Piss-Off Records --
13 August, 1996 Turn the Radio Off Mojo Records/Jive Records US #57
20 October, 1998 Why Do They Rock So Hard? Mojo Records/Jive Records US #67
25 June, 2002 Cheer Up! Mojo Records/Jive Records US #115
5 April, 2005 We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy Mojo Records/Jive Records US #155
10 July, 2007 Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free Rock Ridge Music US #106 UK #40
January 20, 2009 Fame, Fortune and Fornication Rock Ridge Music US #177 UK #
July 31, 2012 Candy Coated Fury Rock Ridge Music
December 21, 2018 Life Sucks... Let's Dance Rock Ridge Music

Live album Edit

Year Album Record Label Chart Position
22 August, 2006 Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album (Sold with You're All In This Together DVD) Rock Ridge Music Never charted

Band members' other projects Edit

  • Scott Klopfenstein was also a member of a ska band called the Nuckle Brothers.
  • Dan Regan has a techno project called Black Casper. Notably, he remixed Reel Big Fish's cover of "Talkin' Bout A Revolution", incorporating different sound bites, including Ali Tabatabaee from Reel Big Fish's live DVD, You're All In This Together.

References Edit

  1. In Music We Trust - INTERVIEW: Reel Big Fish: Aaron Barrett discusses 15 minutes of fame, new record, and SKA's next generation
  2. Warped Tour 2008
  3. "Reel Big Release Date." October 16, 2008.
  7. The Littlest Man Band Official Site

External links Edit

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