Reel Big Fish and Masked Intruder ‘Turn the Radio Off’ at Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on Nov. 11
From a press release:
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the release of their classic album “Turn the Radio Off,” Reel Big Fish returns to the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on Friday, Nov. 11 to perform the whole album from beginning to end. They’ll also be playing lots of other RBF classics and fan favorites with special guests Masked Intruder.
Tickets, which are $20 in advance or $23 the day of the show, go on sale this Friday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. and will be available through the Sherman Theater box office (524 Main St., Stroudsburg), online at shermantheater.com and ticketmaster.com, and all Ticketmaster outlets.
Reel Big Fish was one of the legions of Southern California ska-punk bands to edge into the mainstream following the mid-’90s success of No Doubt and Sublime. Like most of their peers, the band was distinguished by their hyperkinetic stage shows, juvenile humor, ironic covers of new wave pop songs, and metallic shards of ska. The group cultivated an underground following that broke into the mainstream in the summer of 1997 when their single “Sell Out” became a modern rock radio and MTV favorite. Their appearance in the movie “Baseketball” as the halftime band also gained them more fans and helped the band’s popularity to grow. Still fronted by original lead singer and songwriter Aaron Barrett, they continue releasing albums and touring relentlessly, playing more and more countries and bigger venues all over the world.
Reel Big Fish recorded its self-released debut album, “Everything Sucks,” in 1995. “Everything Sucks” became a word-of-mouth underground hit in ska-punk and college circles, which gave the band enough leverage to sign with the indie label Mojo Records. The label’s president, Jay Rifkin, and former Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila co-produced “Turn the Radio Off,” which marked Reel Big Fish’s first album for Mojo. “Turn the Radio Off” was unleashed in August 1996 and, over the next year, the group continually toured in support of the album’s release, expanding their fan base all the while. In the spring of 1997, the single “Sell Out” began receiving heavy airplay from several influential modern rock stations in the U.S., which soon translated into MTV support for the song’s quirky video. By summer, the song had become a moderate modern rock hit and the album had charted in the Top 100.
In 1998, the song “Take on Me” from the “Baseketball” motion picture soundtrack was released as the promotional single for the movie and once again found the band in regular rotation on rock radio and MTV in the U.S.
The album “Why Do They Rock So Hard” followed a year later, once again enlisting Oingo Boingo Bassist John Avila as producer. The album was not as commercially successful but is still regarded by many fans as Reel Big Fish’s finest work. The band filmed a music video for “The Set Up (You Need This),” the only single released from this album.
The guys wound up on Jive Records in fall 2001 when their current label, Mojo, was bought by Jive’s parent label, Zomba. Reel Big Fish’s first release for Jive, a more rock-oriented record entitled “Cheer Up,” appeared in mid-2002. This album was very successful in Europe with the video for the single “Where Have You Been” receiving heavy airplay on many music video channels.
Later that same year, RBF did a song for Rice Krispies called “Snap, Krackle, Pop-Punk,” which was used in three separate commercials. Also that year, they recorded a cover of Toots and the Maytals’ “Monkey Man” for the Nickelodeon movie “The Wild Thornberrys.” The single for “Monkey Man” was also released in the U.K. and received heavy radio play as well as the music video being put on heavy rotation on Kerrang TV.
The band’s next album, the cynical yet catchy “We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy,” was issued in April 2005. Touring continued for the rest of the year, and Reel Big Fish happily parted ways with Jive in January 2006, having wished to be dropped from the label since the release of “Cheer Up!”
In August 2006, the group self-released a double-disc live CD (along with an accompanying DVD) titled “Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album.”
Barrett said of this album, “We finally captured the energy, excitement, and humor of our live shows that we were previously unable to create in the recording studio environment. And it all sounds really good!”
This album is very popular with RBF fans and is sometimes referred to as “the Reel Big Fish stand-up comedy album” because of all the silly stage banter.
The band returned with some new material in February 2007, splitting an EP “Duet All Night Long” with their friends in Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer. “Monkeys for Nothin’ and the Chimps for Free” followed several months later, marking Reel Big Fish’s first full-length studio release since leaving Jive’s roster, and 2009′s “Fame, Fortune and Fornication” found the band covering songs by the likes of Poison, the Eagles, and Tom Petty.
In 2010, the band released “A Best of Us for the Rest of Us,” which includes a 22-song disc of re-recorded hits and classic fan favorites as well as a bonus disc of 14 acoustic or “SKAcoustic” versions.
On July 31, 2012, Reel Big Fish released their seventh studio album, “Candy Coated Fury” (Rock Ridge Music), an inspired and infectiously catchy return to the hyperkinetic ska and biting wit of the band’s beloved early albums. “This album is a lot like our first two albums. It’s got a lot of the same intensity, frantic energy in the music, and the same sarcastic sense of humor. I think these are the fastest songs we’ve done since those albums,” Barrett said. “We’re finally just doing what Reel Big Fish does best, and that’s what we did on those first two albums.”
“’Candy Coated Fury’ pretty much describes what Reel Big Fish does,” Barrett says of the significance of the new album’s title. “It’s hateful, mean, sarcastic and, sometimes, sad lyrics, over happy, wacky, silly, joyous, fast music that makes you want to dance. This album is mostly love songs, but bitter, angry, hateful love songs. Just about everybody knows what it’s like to be in a bad relationship. These songs could be sung by a 15-year-old about his first love-gone-wrong or by a 55-year-old about a bitter divorce after 30 years. They’re bad-relationship songs that everybody can relate to.”
“Candy Coated Fury” is Reel Big Fish’s first album of newly recorded original material in five years. Overall, it’s the seventh in the band’s 20-year history, and it feels as vital and vitriolic as RBF’s foundational releases.
On Dec. 12, 2014, RBF released their first Christmas Album, a six-song, digital only album entitled “Happy Skalidays.” It includes four classic Christmas songs and two RBF originals.
Reel Big Fish continues to tour nonstop, playing over 250 shows a year to thousands of loyal fans all over the world, gaining more and more underground popularity as the ska scene continues to flourish.
See photos of Reel Big Fish performing at the 2016 Vans Warped Tour in Scranton earlier this year here.