Most of the time, I feel like I’ve been at the right place and the right time. I’ve been lucky enough to partake in the apex of Saturday morning cartoons, the Marvel Age of Comics, the Showtime Lakers, punk rock when it was still scary, so many cool record stores that have vanished, college when it was affordable and easy to get into, the rise of indie punk and riot grrrl, the Golden Age of Hip-Hop and gangsta rap, the Golden Age of Hong Kong Movies, new waves of Japanese and Korean cinema, the indie toy explosion, the evolution of indie art… The list goes on and on. But last Wednesday, I was actually jealous of today’s kids. That’s when my good friend invited me to take my 3-year-old daughter and 4-year-old niece on the set of Yo Gabba Gabba!
With cues taken from old-school Japanese TV programming, classic Sesame Street, and Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and energy derived from punk rock and skateboarding, Yo Gabba Gabba! has been cool from the very beginning. Every hip parent looks forward to contributions by regulars like Mark Mothersbaugh and Biz Markie and appearances by the likes of Tony Hawk and Jack Black, but what about John Reis’s recurring role as the Swami? The upcoming season will feature a one-off reunion of one of his much-loved old bands, Rocket From The Crypt (interviewed in Giant Robot 22). Seriously loved to the point of having an army of fans around the world who had the band’s logo tattooed onto them for free entrance to shows. Not Coachella. Not All Tomorrow’s Parties. But a kids’ show by a truly inspired and hardworking crew with DIY roots.
It was strongly suggested that I only take phone pics of the reunion and keep it a secret until the show makes an official announcement, but after Reis described the gig and shared a picture on his Facebook page I figured what the heck. In the post, he described it as the “sole reunion performance” and stated that RFTC is “only interested in playing to audiences of 5 to 10 people between the ages of 3 to 6.” So you had to be there–and it was less creepy to crash the scene if you were with young kids like I was. But if you weren’t, you will be able to check out the legendary San Diego band’s tasty new number on Nick Jr. sooner than you think.