Reel Big Fish will make you laugh, smile, dance and ‘stick your middle finger in the air’
Reel Big Fish is coming back to Northeastern Pennsylvania and they’re bringing a guarantee for a damned good time.
The band best known for its hits including “Sell Out,” “Everyone Else is an Asshole” and “One Hit Wonderful,” took the ska scene by storm in the mid ’90s. Since then, lead singer Aaron Barrett has seen his fair share of band members, but now, in the second half of his career, has seemingly found a solid team. Johnny Christianson, known by fans as “Little Johnny Christmas,” has been with Reel Big Fish for 13 years, he said. He plays the trumpet in the band that consists of trombone, saxophone, drums, bass, guitar and vocals. That’s a long time in a niche music genre, but Christmas said he’s not surprised the group is still relevant.
“I think Reel Big Fish has a real important place in the world to help everyone get out of their day-to-day lives and help them laugh,” he said. “Our job is to make people happy. That’s the thing that keeps me going.”
And they’ve been going. The group was at Warped Tour at Montage Mountain over the summer and will take stage at the Sherman Theater on Nov. 11.
“All our shows in Pennsylvania are awesome. I don’t know what it is about Pennsylvania, that everyone loves Reel Big Fish, but it’s really special and I really appreciate the amazing fans,” he said.
Christmas said the band has always had an appreciation for its fans that stems from a love of what they do.
Before Christmas was a part of Reel Big Fish he was a fan.
“I had never seen crowds where everybody is dancing and just going crazy before,” he said. “All the gigs that I was playing, you had people who sat down at these jazz gigs and may or may not be paying attention. And that’s not nearly as fun as this whole ska world, and in particular, Reel Big Fish shows, that are so much fun.”
How much fun? Christmas said everyone sings. Everyone dances. Everyone is there to have a good time. And by everyone, he means everyone —from all different age groups. Having been on the scene for two decades, Fish fans are many and vary in age.
“It’s like art. When you see a good painting, everybody can take something slightly different from it, but still have a general feeling that they got something out of it,” Christmas said. “Somebody who is 40 may take something slightly different from a song like “Everybody Else is an Asshole” as somebody who is 15.”
And although ska has been dwindling from mainstream radio airwaves, Christmas said he’s confident it’ll continue its longevity.
“This music has been around for over 50 years. It’s not going anywhere,” he said. “It’s just got to change. It’s like anything in the world, if it stagnates it will die. Bands need to get in and create a scene and write good songs. Ska is all over the place. You hear it in movies, on TV, in commercials. There needs to be another radio hit.”
Christmas didn’t guarantee a new radio hit, but he did mention a Christmas (as in the holiday) vinyl to hit shelves just before Dec. 25. There’s also an upcoming tour with Pittsburgh punk band Anti-Flag among plans for 2017.
“I’m sure we’ll be back in Pennsylvania at some point during that tour,” Christmas said.
But there’s no reason to wait because Christmas and his crew will take stage at 8 p.m. in Stroudsburg.
“Expect to be entertained. We’re going to take you on a ride. We’re going to make you laugh, we’re going to make you smile, we’re going to make you dance, we’re going to make you stick your middle finger in the air. Go wanting to have a great time and we will bring it right to you and you’ll have the best amount of fun you’ve ever had at a show.”
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IF YOU GO:
Who: Reel Big Fish
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 11. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: The Sherman Theater, 524 Main St., Stroudsburg
How much: $20 in advance; $23 at the door