Aaron Barrett was born on the 30th of August in the year 1974 in cozy San Bernardino county, California. Not the most popular of children (his first Record being The “Ghostbusters” soundtrack) Barret had only one best friend, future RBF bassist Matthew Wong. Born in Hawaii Matt enjoyed music just as much as Aaron, the two quickly decided to start a band and thus “Reel Big Fish” was born.
Matt and Aaron enlisted the help of Ben Guzman to do the vocal work, Lisa Smith to Help With Guitars, Zach Gillitrap to play keyboards and Andrew Gonzales to beat the drums, the group was complete. Reel big Fish would travel around the OC playing shows filled with glam rock covers and underground punk originals for a short time before recording there demos “The Fisher King (which, along with “Dull Boy Jack” was originally considered as RBF’s name) – Reel big Fish” and “In The Good Old Days…”. shortly after the recording of “In The Good Old Days…” Ben, Lisa & Zach would leave the group or get fired… who knows? But this lead to a massive re-imagining for the group, they would emerge as a Ska band in 1994 and record the demo “Reel Big Fish” (known today as “Return Of The Mullet”) the group now saw Aaron on lead vocals, and a horn section consisting of a sax and trumpet.
Later that year, the band would record another demo entitled “Buy This!” it would usher in horn section mainstays Dan Regan, Adam Polakoff & Tavis Werts and would birth the RBF publishing label “Piss Off Publishing”. A year later (in 1995) RBF would record the massive indie release “Everything Sucks” taking songs from the previous two demos and bringing a few of it’s own to the party, the album was an underground hit, nailing top sales at local record shops and gaining RBF the attention they deserved from Big time label Mojo Records.
One year would pass and RBF would release a major record… 1996′s “Turn The Radio Off” this record included the MTV & modern rock radio hit “Sell Out” which would go on to certify the album Gold in the US alone! It would also see the inclusion of Backup singer/trumpeter Scott Klopfenstein many of “Turn The Radio Off”‘s songs were re-records from 1995′s “Everything sucks” (including “Beer” and “Join The Club”) a trend that would continue through there next Studio effort 1998′s “Why Do They Rock So Hard?” (as well as there rigorous touring schedule)… although it had so much going for it, including the previous success of “Turn The Radio Off”, “Why Do They Rock So Hard?” Fell shockingly short of mainstream affections even though RBF had released a jam packed EP called “Keep Your Receipt” only a year or so before, crushed, RBF continued to tour for two years before Mojo would demand another record, two years later would see the release of the radical departure “Cheer Up!”, containing many songs that just did not fit into RBF’s style, the release scared Lead singer Aaron Barrett so much he started another band as an insurance system, Barrett recalls “I wanted to show people I still loved ska music, that I still liked to play it”, “The Forces Of Evil” would be Ska’a first Super group and would release one record entitled “Friend Or F.O.E?” on RBF homestead MOJO… Barrett recalls “When I Took It (the Record) to the label they said “This Should’ve Been The New Reel Big Fish Record””. When “Cheer Up!” Didn’t Alienate and instead gained fans, Barrett disbanded “The Forces Of Evil” because, Quote: “They (RBF & FOE) Were playing the same types of songs, I was writing The same songs For Two Bands”.
Over the next two years, Aaron would begin to hate the near constant RBF touring Schedule, and in time the band itself, at one point he even strongly considered quiting, that’s when RBF’s Manager stepped in and told Barrett to channel that anger into some songs… “We’re Not Happy ‘Till You’re Not Happy” was born. Released in 2004 “WNHTYNH” was given no promotion from the record company and sold pretty much exclusively to fans. The album did so poorly it resulted in RBF’S eventual drop from the MOJO label. A move that would have killed most musical acts made RBF happier than they’d ever been, they were past the point where they need a label robbing them blind and doing nothing with the money.
RBF immediately set out on creating one of the thing MOJO would never let them create, A Live Album! “Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album” was released in ’06 and is generally considered the greatest RBF record of all time, over 30 tracks on two CDs with an extra Live DVD included for under 30 dollars, RBF had created an energetic masterpiece that showed what they were all about. after seeing it’s steady success, only months later MOJO would release a compilation of RBF songs entitled “Greatest Hit… And More” MOJO would release this record without the band knowing and would not be paying the band for any money made from it, Barrett, was infuriated, urging fans to find any copys and hide them behind CDs by less popular bands. by 2007 RBF was ready to release a new album… originally billed as a “B-Sides Collection”, “Monkeys For Nothin’ And The Chimps For Free” was Released Via “Rock Ridge Music” and contained half new songs and half Re-Records from there indie hit “Everything Sucks” it received high marks by fans but was bad-mouthed by many critics, it stands to day as a personal fave for many fans.
In ’08 the boys announced a new Record “Fame, Fortune And Fornication”, a covers record consisting of ten skanktastic covers, it was released on January 20th, 2009. It covers of various artists including Eagles, The English Beat, Poison and Slade.
Reel Big Fish Live! In Concert! was released in July 2009 which was recorded at The Grove in Anaheim, California. Featuring over 20 songs recorded live.
In July 2010 a 22 track album of re-recorded songs was released, including a second disc containing 14 acoustic versions of some of the songs. This was titles “A Best of Us for the Rest of Us” which was a dig at the previous attempt at a Greatest Hits album by MOJO records. An extended of version titled “A Best of Us for the Rest of Us (Bigger Better Bonus Deluxe Version)” was released on June 21st, 2011.
On January 11th, 2011 it was announced that Scott Klopfenstein would be leaving the band to raise a family. Matt Appleton of Goldfinger joined Reel Big Fish on tour at the start of 2011. It was announced soon after that Matt would become a permanent member of the band, bringing a saxophone player to the band for the first time since 1995.
Reel Big Fish posted various photos “in the studio” in the first few months of 2012. They shortly after announced they’ll be releasing a new album titled “Candy Coated Fury” on July 31st 2012.
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