Chia Pet Reunites Tomorrow | Bleader

Chia Pet Reunites Tomorrow

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I was two years old when Chia Pet formed in 1988 and eight years old when they broke up in 1994. I didn't discover the band till this year, when I stumbled into the back catalog of Johann's Face Records. With their strange strain of rock they managed to invoke Axl Rose, Freddie Mercury, Phish, and Andrew Lloyd Weber all at once, creating an avant-baroque pop mishmash that ranged from rambling bluesy guitars to operatic vocals to 80s metal riffs. Listening to one of their albums you can feel like you're in a backyard throwing tires over the barbecue pit, in a scene from Labyrinth, or on the set of a bow-chika-bow-wow porno flick. Since first hearing Chia Pet I've wondered what it would've been like to see them live, and improbably enough, this weekend I'll be able to find out.

I met singer Machfly Blownaparte, aka Johann's Face founder Marc Ruvolo, last year at the Lucky Gator loft (where he'd often work door), and I've gotten to know him well enough to e-mail him about the band. He explains what the hell was going on back then: "Chia Pet was a band that we could do anything we wanted in. It was part of no scene. It made us laugh," he says. "We took it pretty seriously though. We took a lot of acid in those days. It's pretty goofy and meant to be cartoonish and fun. Just for people to dance to and have a good time."

Chia Pet broke up because their guitarist, Cornbread Schmitz, got himself a real job. "Without him it just wasn't the same," says Ruvolo. They decided to do this one-off reunion show "because we did the No Empathy reunion show and three of us are in both bands. We had so much fun doing No Empathy that now just seemed like the right time."

The show is at the Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont) on Saturday, December 19, at 10 PM. Cover is $7. The House That Gloria Vanderbilt (members of Apocalypse Hoboken and Heart Shaped Hate) and Prizzy Prizzy Please open.

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