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Sting Ray

For Sting Ray, it all started at the young and tender age of 13 at his Jr. High School’s talent show. With his sweaty palms and brow and a flushed look that can only materialize after of half a dozen or more episodes of violent backstage vomiting, he went out and performed an acapella rendition of “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” by the Culture Club to a ruthless crowd of onlookers.

This botched performance forced Sting Ray to be all but eliminated from the music scene and onto a long road of therapy and self-discovery. He would fill the majority of his post-academic years traveling the world learning the art of yoga and tantra from the masters, all while planning to one day make his name known and finish that brilliant performance that so painfully eluded him 20 years earlier.

After months of relentless petitioning and pulling a few thousand dollars in legal costs, which was earned by washing cars wearing nothing but red satin Speedos, Sting Ray’s old Jr. High was court-ordered to allow him to perform once again. After buttering up the judges and flirting with the majority of the school’s female staff throughout the night, his time came. Ray took the stage, calm and collected, to close out the competition and gave a heartfelt and vocally angelic performance of the same song that had invoked such painful memories of his youth. After a standing ovation and not a dry eye in the house, the judges had made their decision. Sting Ray tied the hula hooping antics of Margaret Finklestein for 9th place.

Chops

Chops’ name has nothing to do with chopsticks or that he can skillfully catch flies like Mr. Miyagi using chopsticks. The truth of the matter is that he likes to stab them with a fork the same way he shreds on guitar solos. When Chops tried out for the band, his resume said, “No need to say anything, I accept your offer.” Humbly, he knew he was so good that he would get the job. Finding him on Craigslist was the best find that band had ever made next to trading a cracked cymbal for a 1980s Sambos sign.

Like his humble guitar hero Yngwie Malmsteen, Chops learned classical music finding his original sound by combining polka and a little Slayer for the darker undertones. Word was out on the Venice Boardwalk that there was a guitarist who would smoke up his fretboard by shredding a solo. He was sought out by every has-been 80s metal band that was trying to make a comeback. Lucky for us they were all broke, so Chops replied to our Craigslist ad. Even though he made demands to have his own green room and his picture on his guitar picks, we knew if we didn’t hire him, David Hasselhoff would for his band.

Naughty Nate

When Naughty Nate is not playing bass or working on his stamp collection, the WASP-turned black-sheep lives with his girlfriend and two dogs in a beautiful, quaint 1987 (he really likes the 80s) Toyota Camry in Los Angeles. While his greasy hair and unkempt fingernails might be off-putting, he is no stranger to the bass. He got his start over 15 years ago in the back alley of a local music shop exchanging his 3 signed David Hasselhoff speedos (by the way, never washed) for a totally awesome Fender bass.

Naughty Nate lives by a motto, “don’t blame me, it was his fault,” that has got him through his GED program all the way to the gig of his dream, performing with The Pac Men. Although he doesn’t talk to Mom or Dad anymore, he still clings to both of the socks he had growing up that have been handed down from sibling to sibling since the 80s. These socks carry a poetic affinity for the greatest generation of rock’n’roll and an interesting moldy smell. When Naughty Nate is on stage, you can’t ignore his powerful playing or his happy feet.

Vanilla Smoove

Vanilla was destined to be a superstar rapper. Or a maybe math teacher. But definitely, he was meant to be a lover. Born Eugene J. Smoovington Jr., his journey to rock and roll began unassumingly enough while studying his statistics homework in middle school. Constantly counting numbers, over and over again, Eugene was looking for answers. Answers to the problems in his textbook, to be sure, but mostly answers to the problems that plagued his life. He had never been lucky with the ladies. At least, not with his 12 year old co-eds. He would constantly attempt to gain their favor by sharing history lessons and trivial information about the amount of labor hours needed to construct things like desks, chairs, chalkboards, and number 2 pencils.

One day, his estranged father arrived at Eugene’s door with two gifts: an MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice Greatest Hits mix tape containing three songs, and a movie called “The Gas Pump Girls with some unknown dude named Ron Jeremy. Whether or not this was for his higher education or it was just something his father had picked up two blocks down the street at a garage sale, Eugene began the hulk-like transformation into who would ultimately become Vanilla Smoove. He listened to the mix tape over and over again. He studied the timing, the pacing, of the music–the numerical sequencing of the beats. He studied the movie, too. Over and over…and over again. He grew much more confident in his approach with the ladies around him. He figured, if he understood what worked for Ron Jeremy, he could make it work for himself.

The Pac Men found Vanilla one night hitting on all their fans at a local pub, the Green Turnip, and they decided he may just be smoove enough to join their ranks. Today, Vanilla Smoove is the rhythmic powerhouse of the Pac Men. He entertains 80s fans nightly with his sharp wit and amazing rapping ability. He continues to deal with his emotional instability and Freudian issues at his own pace, and dog-gone-it, people like him