The Aquabats, a zany 3rd-wave ska group that was formed in 1994, made the music that defined my formative years. With hits like “Pizza Day,” “Captain Hampton and the Midget Pirates” and “Attacked by Snakes,” the Aquabats crunched the tunes that still make me dance.

The Aquabats began in Huntington Beach, California and were at the beginning of the California-based ska movement of the late 90s. Their initial line up consisted of Christian Jacobs (the Bat Commander) on vocals, Courtney Pollack (Chainsaw) and Ben Bergeson (Ben the Brain) on guitar, Chad Larson (Crash McLarson) on bass, Boyd Terry (Catboy) and Adam Deibert (Prince Adam) on trumpets, Chad Parkin (Nacho) on organ and Rod Arellano (Roddy B.) on drums. The Aquabats , as evidenced by their pseudonyms, created a backstory that had them as superheros from an island called Aquabania. The Aquabats fight evil with their music and spread the love to the “kids” by hosting concerts. As part of the Aquabat image, trumpet player Boyd Terry took extra neoprene wetsuits from his work at Aleeda and fashioned costumes for the group.

In the late 90s, the Aquabats released The Return of the Aquabats and The Fury of the Aquabats. Riding behind songs like “Super Rad” and “Martian Girl,” the Aquabats rose to modest fame in California and other western states. Through the years, the Aquabats underwent several band-member changes (including a stint with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker). Toward the end of the 90s, the Aquabats started gravitating to a more synth-pop sound and moving away from their ska roots. Although this alienated some of their fan base, the Aquabats soldiered on with modest success.

In the early 2000s, the Aquabats toyed with the idea of break up–as things weren’t going well with recording labels and members were still quitting. Despite the difficulties, the Aquabats decided to continue playing music and fighting evil. They added new pieces and continued to tour and make records. The Aquabats have release a DVD, five cds and are coming up with a television show for the Hub’s 2011-2012 fall lineup. The Aquabats still enjoy their cult status, and enjoy success with their tours and albums. They truly are a sweaty, rad group.