"Gum-wrapping with a fish. I tripped on a cathedral." --To Drink the Blood of a Virgin Wombat (Is To Be Closer to God)




The Chuxx today (l-r): Roillieu/Jon Bjorn Skaptason (keyboards, vocals), Bobby Wendalo/Jon Niccum (guitars, vocals),
Schwa/Steve Revare (drums, computers, vocals) and thos e/Jeff Drake (vocals, bass).
Bobby & the Chuxx: The Early Years

"In 1980, the product was candles."
WERE IT NOT FOR BAND CANDLES, Bobby & the Chuxx would never have formed at all.

"The four of us were all in band together in high school," Jeff remembers. "And every year there was some fundraising scheme, something the band members had to foist upon their parents and neighbors to make money for the band. In 1980, the product was candles: scented candles in attractive glass containers painted with lovely motifs such as stalks of wheat and butterflies."

"I was standing in line waiting to pick up my haul of band candles and Jon and Skap were in line in front of me, poking one another in the chest as I recall. We struck up a conversation, and, the following day, I joined them for lunch, where I met Steve."

Long before coming up with the concept of "the worst band in the world," the four junior high school buddies would waste their after-school time taping comedy skits on a Sears tape recorder using two tiny microphones purchased from Radio Shack. The comedy skits were primarily parodies of popular TV shows (Happy Days, Leave It To Beaver) or prank phone calls the boys would make to unsuspecting classmates or to local radio call-in shows (such as The Walt Bodine Show).

"The four of us never decided to 'form a band,' as such."
IN THE SPIRIT OF THOSE COMEDY SKETCHES, Jon, Jeff, Skap and Steve cooked up the idea of a punk/new wave band who were as terrible as they were beloved. Their first album, naturally, would be a live album, recorded for The Queen Muffin Flu Hour, a parody of the famous King Biscuit Flour Hour rock radio show.

"I think it's important to note that the four of us never decided to 'form a band,' as such," Skap says. "Our motivation from the start was to flesh out the mock new wave act that appeared on the radio show. One could say that the Chuxx are really a 20-year-long comedy skit rather than a band. One could also say that I've had too much to drink. Both parties would be right."

In staying true to Skap's perception of the band's pre-existence, the songs on Bobby & the Chuxx's first album, Live at the Graveyard, were first envisioned as titles.

"The creative process for that first 'album' was a curious one," Jeff says.

"Some days prior to the recording," Jon adds, "Skap handed us the names of ALL the songs and then we divvied up the task of writing the lyrics."

"I recall Skap assigning me a name -- Fenris T.R. Scumrut -- and a list of songs to write. He provided me the song titles and a deadline of Saturday by which I must have my lyrics written: the same day when we would record the songs in my basement."

"We would literally make it up as we went along."
"I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER SITTING WITH STEVE -- perhaps in English class -- and writing titles to Chuxx songs," Skap says. "During the course of the day, we got Jon into the act and we decided we would get together with Jeff after school and record them. There were no lyrics yet, just a list of titles on a sheet of paper. Among them: 'Pus Has no Influence in Modern Art,' 'Jacko in Fishy Boots' and 'Django Be Good.'"

"I recall that the list of titles baffled me," Steve adds. "In particular, I did not know how I would come up with lyrics around the title 'Pyramid of Cheaps.' I remember struggling to craft some nonsensical poetry around the titles and not liking very much of it."

"At no point before actually turning on the tape recorder did any of us write any music for the songs," Jeff says. "Not that we would have been capable of that anyway."

Jon explains, "When we recorded Graveyard, Skap and I couldn't play a lick on our acoustic guitar and air-powered toy organ."

"We would literally make it up as we went along," Jeff says, "stopping the tape in between songs just long enough to come up with some riff to base the next song on. Fairly easy to do when you consider only Steve and I knew how to play our instruments."


"The toy organ was down in the basement already."
"IS IT TRUE THAT JUST JEFF AND I KNEW how to play our instruments on that fateful day?" Steve asks. "Well, I cannot speak for Jeff, but I could barely manage to play the drum set. Oh sure, I played percussion in band and all, but that had little to do with the drums for a new wave/punk band."

"I did not know how to play air-powered toy organ or any other keyboard instrument when we recorded Live at the Graveyard," Skap explains. "I began taking an extra half-hour of music lessons so my trombone teacher Johnny Eager -- sounds like a Chuxx name -- could teach me piano. I never took piano lessons from a piano teacher."

"The toy organ was down in the basement already," Steve adds. "It was several years old at the time, with small buttons for pre-set chords and numbers on the keys so people who do not read music could still play 'The Theme From The Godfather,' 'Nadia's Theme' or some other theme."

"The first album is about 25 minutes long," Jeff remembers. "And it wouldn't surprise me if it took us just over an hour to record the whole thing."

"The first session was a blast, with each of us changing instruments every song or two," Steve says. "Somehow we got through all of the songs in a ridiculous amount of time, like five hours."

"I'm not sure there is anything redeeming about it."
"WHAT IS MOST INTERESTING TO ME about the first album is that we ever recorded as Bobby & the Chuxx again," Jeff adds. "It is honestly so awful, I'm not sure there is anything redeeming about it -- other than hearing our squeaky teenage voices."

"At the outset, none of us assumed we'd ever do it again," Steve says, "except we had a lot of fun. More fun than the audio sketches, talk show calls and prank phone calls we would do. We ended up ditching those and the Chuxx endured."

"To this day, it baffles me how we ever decided to keep recording," Jeff says. "It would have been surprising had we recorded just one more album. That we recorded 16 more after that is a little mind-blowing. I think anyone who suffers through Graveyard would agree."





Content © 1999-2006 Jeff Drake.