Westword Music Showcase 2004

Fifty bands. Ten stages. Five bucks. Be there.


How long has your act been together?
Mr. Pacman has been a trusted Denver institution since 2001.

What are some of your noteworthy recent feats?
Forget about the music, Mr. Pacman is still the undefeated champion of the Hotdog Challenge (hosted at indie venue Monkey Mania), having downed fifteen hot dogs with buns in five minutes and washing them down with nothing but ketchup and mustard. Let's see the competition do that!

Love .45
Love .45
DJ Vajra
DJ Vajra

Recent recordings of note?
We're working on two new full-length albums, the heavy-metal epic Crotch Rocket and the Caribbean-flavored Mr. Pacman Goes to Jamaica. In the meantime, we've been collecting some impressive remixes from the Pacman Playaz around the globe. Want to rock out to "The Ninja" in an obnoxious rave-party atmosphere? You will.

How do you pay the bills? What are your day jobs?
Let's stick with: astronaut, pirate, cowboy and dungeon master.

What's the biggest crowd you've ever played for?
The record for us is still the fabulously disastrous "Night of 1,000 Evils" Grim Halloween Party of 2002, if you can count dodging bottles and escaping the drunken, angry mob as "playing for." If so, we counted a thousand "fans" at that show.

Favorite places to play?
We'd like to give a shout-out to the Gothic Theatre. We'd like to shout out to the Larimer Lounge and the Climax Lounge. Shout-out to the hi-dive -- you've got a great venue. You, too, Bluebird Theater. You, too, Lion's Lair. And Monkey Mania, we can't forget you.

Why music?
Romance expert Fabio really summed it up best in his 1993 classic Fabio After Dark: "When I play a special song, it is very important because it can express what I feel so perfectly. A song can speak for me when I cannot put my feelings into words. I listen to a solo and I think of a duet."

If not music, what else?
Although music is a primary focus, entertainment is the mission. So without music, we'd probably be doing the violent children's show The Half Hour of Power, warning kids about the dangers of strangers and the stinking of drinking.

What band names were left on the cutting-room floor in favor of your current one?
Mr. Pacman was never a group of musicians who set out to invent a band. The name and the idea started as a film-school project and grew from that, collecting musicians. So there was never any question as to the name. A better question for us might be: "What are you going to be called after your lawsuit with Namco?"

Funniest/strangest gig story -- local?
At the 4th of July party at the Scott Baio Army house, Mr. Pacman performed only one song, "Let's Get This Party Started." The song was performed six times, and each time, Mr. Pacman guzzled a 40 oz. malt-liquor bottle during the instrumental while the crowd chanted, "Chug! Chug! Chug!" The final reprise consisted of Mr. Pacman singing the final verse while simultaneously puking his guts into our gearbox.

Funniest/weirdest gig story -- on tour?
We were in Albuquerque on tour with the Magic Cyclops. The Magic Cyclops thought it would be funny to play a prank on us and pretend that his car, the Suzuki Swift, had been stolen. The bouncer of the bar, who was in on it, drove by in the "stolen" car, triggering the White Tiger to get in his van and start chasing the Swift. A high-speed chase ensued, and the White Tiger was seconds from apprehending and pummeling the bouncer before the prank was revealed. We are still plotting our revenge against the Magic Cyclops.

Worst gig?
Probably any show in which one or more pieces of critical gear decides to fail. Since we use a lot of vintage synth technology, this is not that unusual. Taking a hint from the hit show Survivor, we've decided to institute a "last man standing" policy in which the show must go on until every last piece of equipment has failed. One particular show ended with only vocals and hand claps.

What do you love about the local scene?
Denver is a great town. People are always excited to participate and help out with Mr. Pacman. I don't think we could ask for any better support from musicians, record stores, venues and media.

What bugs you about the local scene?
We're not so excited that Colorado has become the hippie jam-band capital of the world. We're planning to launch our own death-metal Phish cover band called "Phist" just to sabotage that jingle-jangle noodley-doodley scene.

What's the biggest misconception about your band/act?
Mostly misspellings based on the popular '80s video game "Pac-man," to which the band "Mr. Pacman" is wholly unrelated. The real story behind the name: Mr. Pacman was the name of our lead singer's comb-overed junior high school gym teacher who used to tell him that he wouldn't amount to anything. Look at him now, Mr. Pacman! Look at him now!

Any random facts we should know?
We found our guitar-playing, six-foot cockroach in a bombed-out Guitar Center in the year 3030. In the future, the roaches are masters of heavy metal. He eats raw garbage, so feel free to feed him at one of our shows!

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