Evan Vest, contributor
The early 90s saw the birth of a new era of alternative rock, and no other band encapsulated this experimental phase more than Munch’s Make Believe Band. Getting their start in a grimey Chuck E. Cheese establishment in San Jose, CA, the Make Believe Band sought to re-invent the already vibrant animatronic rock movement made popular by the Rock-afire Explosion in the 1970s.
“The Make Believe Band was taking the foundation Rock-afire had laid out and turned it on its ear,” notes pizza music Historian Matt Redbeard, PHD. “They were definitely the animatronic rock band that scared your parents. Some of those shows were out of control.”
While dominating the robotic pizza rock scene for several years, the band would go on to face issues of substance abuse that would plague the band in their final years. Charles Entertainment Cheese, animatronic mouse and long-time marijuana user, began experimenting heavily with LSD, leading to extended noise solos and ruining songs mid-concert. Jasper T. Jowls, infamous cowboy dog, dealt with this through alcoholism, also severely degrading the quality of the live shows. The pizza party came to a close on February 3rd, 2003, when female chicken vocalist Helen Henny was found in her Malibu motel room, dead from overdose on prescription drugs, hours before a scheduled show. The band parted ways soon after, but their influence can still be felt today through other robot bands such as Daft Punk and the Black Keys.
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