Utah favorite Aquabats smash $100K Kickstarter goal
Aquabats have raised more than $600,000 during the band’s crowdsource campaign. For information, visit kickstarter.com/projects/theaquabats/bringbacktheaquabats or aquabats.com.
Utah loves the superhero-influenced Southern California rock band the Aquabats.
That love goes deeper than the fact that its frontman, MC Bat Commander, AKA Christian Jacobs has Park City ties. His sister Emma Briggs and her husband Jed were longtime Parkites, who recently moved to Midway. And Jed still works as Park City’s budget operations manager.
No, the Beehive State’s love of the Aquabats reaches back to the band’s early days as an Orange County punk band, said Jacobs.
“When we first started as a band in 1994 and first toured, we had friends who went to Brigham Young University and the University of Utah,” Jacobs said. “Some of the first shows we played on tour outside of Southern California were in Utah, because our friends knew the owners of (former Salt Lake City venues) Omni and Club DV8. So Utah felt like a home away from home.”
The Aquabats, while a band, is also known for the Emmy-winning sitcom “The Aquabats! Super Show!” which originally aired on the Hub Network from 2012 to 2014. The show, which was filmed in Utah, was a lively children’s program that focused on the band’s superhero motifs.
“All the guys in the band have kids, and we went from being a band that played on the Vans Warped Tour with a lot of hard rock and punk bands to taking our kids to soccer and playing concerts on the weekend,” Jacobs said of the band’s decision to make a TV show.
Last August, the band began a crowdsourcing campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds to continue the show.
The goal was to raise $100,000 to produce additional episodes that would run as a web series, according to Jacobs.
“It was time to send a message to the fans that we needed their help to continue to do this, since we aren’t signed to a record label and we’re not on a network,” he said.
One local fan, Julie Koldweyn, spent her own money and secured a billboard on Interstate 15 in Salt Lake City that asked for pledges.
“The Aquabats was the first concert I ever attended 20 years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since,” Koldweyn said in a statement. “They are a great example of having fun and being cool at the same time. They have a positive message which is important during these dark times. The world can always use more Aquabats!”
Jacobs was blown away by her dedication.
“Julie works at the University of Utah and we have known her for awhile,” he said. “We can’t thank her enough for that kind of exposure.”
The campaign, which ended on Sept. 29, brought in $603,444, nearly 700 percent of what was asked.“It did really well,” he said. “We are super grateful to our friends and fans who donated. And we’re lucky to live in a brave new world when people who like stuff can pledge to keep things around.”
A portion of the money will allow the Aquabats to produce and film full-length, broadcast-quality episodes for the “Super Show.”
“That blew the barn doors open,” Jacobs said. “It seemed that’s what people wanted, because they are watching more content on their phones or tablets.”
The money will also fund the production of four new Aquabats albums.
“We had planned to release soundtrack records from season one and two, and now we are able to record two additional new original Aquabat albums,” Jacobs said. “We don’t know if we’re doing to record the records at once and release them separately, or record them separately. We’re hoping to get together this next couple of weeks to make some plans.”
The new projects will also commemorate the band’s upcoming 25th anniversary.
“If you would have asked me 25 years ago if I would still be an Aquabat, I would have laughed,” Jacobs said. “The Aquabats started as a fun thing we did with friends, and we never intended it to go very far. We just rode the wave of what happened. So it’s crazy that something so silly and fun has turned into a career.”
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