About Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish is an American ska punk band from Orange County, California, best known for the 1996 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 gold certified album Turn the Radio Off. Soon after, the band lost mainstream recognition but gained an underground cult following. As of 2006, the band was no longer signed to a major record label and has since been independent. After many line-up changes throughout the years, front man Aaron Barrett is the only remaining founding member in the band.
The band formed in 1991 while the members were in high school. The group started as a cover band until they released a demo in 1992, titled In The Good Old Days. With the departure of Ben Guzman soon after, then backup vocalist Aaron Barrett took his place as lead singer. The band then changed its genre to ska.
Reel Big Fish's self-released debut album, Everything Sucks, was successful and became an underground hit spread by word-of-mouth, which led to the band signing a deal with Mojo Records. In August 1996, the band released the album Turn the Radio Off on the new label, which appealed to fans of ska punk style, and the band began touring throughout the United States. After the single "Sell Out" became well known in mainstream venues, including MTV, the album peaked at number 57 on the Billboard charts, staying on the charts for 32 weeks. However, the ska revival was short-lived, and the group's 1998 album Why Do They Rock So Hard? failed to match the sales of the band's previous record. In 1998, the band appeared in the movie BASEketball, performing in the stands to rouse the crowd. The band also appeared on the film's soundtrack with a cover of a-ha's "Take On Me". Why Do They Rock So Hard? was the last album for two members of the band. Trombonist Grant Barry was fired for his conduct, culminating with him committing battery on a security guard at Mississippi Nights during a concert in St. Louis and drummer Andrew Gonzales left the band to spend more time with his family.
Trumpet player Tavis Werts left the band in 2001. The band fared much better on the rock charts in 2002 with the album, Cheer Up!, particularly because of the single "Where Have You Been?" which did not include the horn section. Former Suburban Rhythm drummer Carlos de la Garza and former Spring Heeled Jack trumpeter Tyler Jones, who tracked for two songs on Cheer Up! , were brought in. De la Garza's last concert with Reel Big Fish was on June 20, 2003 at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. That concert was later released as a DVD in The Show Must Go Off! series. Jones appeared in the music videos for "Where Have You Been?" and "Monkey Man" , and continued to play live with the band until early 2005. Jones was replaced by trumpeter John Christianson , who had previously played with Barrett in the band, The Forces of Evil.
On April 5, 2005, the band released its fourth album on Mojo, We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy. Justin Ferreira was on drums for the recording, but left before the album's release to join the Orange County band Takota and subsequently is listed as an additional musician on the CD. He was replaced by Ryland Steen.
Compared to the previous album , which was more lighthearted and cheerful, Allmusic describes the songs in We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy as "angry" and "embittered", but also deemed the album as "super catchy". Common themes expressed throughout the songs include jealousy, regret, short-lasting fame, and disappointment toward mainstream record companies.
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