Video: documentary on Showbiz animatronic band

For eleven years, the Rock-afire Explosion was the animatronic house band for Showbiz Pizza Place restaurants. The musicians' story is a touching tale of technical expertise, marketing muscle, and, er, "concept unification." (See the Wikipedia page for more on that.) Chris Thrash Window Pictures (director Brett Whitcomb / writer Brad Thomason) are making a full-length documentary on the Rock-afire Explosion, and the new preview trailer is itself a must-see. Rock-afire Explosion trailer (YouTube, thanks COOP and Rodney Ascher!)

UPDATE: Rodney just found a video of Rock-afire Explosion, programmed by Chris Thrash, playing Usher's "Love In This Club." YouTube

UPDATE: The film is actually about Chris Thrash. More info at the movie's MySpace page.


  1. We had a Showbiz Pizza in Phoenix. They advertised on TV.

    It got bought and changed to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Since it’s the same number of syllables, the jingle in the TV ad didn’t change.

    I’d always wondered…

  2. This reminds me of my favorite animatronic opera/thrash/death metal/comedy troupe: Captured! by Robots.

    A new show is written, constructed and programmed each year by one man (a former bassist for the Blue Meanies and Skankin’ Pickle). The story is that he built some robots to help him on stage, but they rebelled and took him as a slave.

    Wikipedia Page
    YouTube video

    Outside of the performances, which are amazing, the music itself is a bit… raw.

  3. I’ve wanted to see Captured! By Robots for some time, as I have a bunch of live mp3s of them (him). I wasn’t aware of his pedigree; I saw Blue Meanies and listened to Skankin’ Pickle in college.

    You know what would be awesome? If the manner in which they plan to introduce the Dinobots in the Transformers sequel is as a Showbiz-style quintet affected by the Allspark. Beyond a theme park/restaurant milieu, I can’t see that making any sense otherwise.

  4. Showbiz pizza in my neighborhood converted into a teen dance club on Saturday nights. I remember trying to breakdance…..

  5. Dude, I used to cry when I went to Showbiz and watched the band. Not tears of joy either, they were tears of fear. Those things creeped me out!

  6. ya know, I successfully repressed all memories of these guys for years. Thanks for bringing me right back into the nightmare, jerks!

  7. Used to go these places every several times a year for birthday parties out in AR. Hillbilly Bob especially creeped me out, because not only was he some whirring, clicking animatronic monstrosity on the stage of horrors, they had some guy dressed up in a suit walking around to freak kids like me out.

    I remember daring other kids to stick their hands in his mouth, and it became some kind of strange game to see who could work up the courage to stick your hand in there and poke the guy wearing the suit directly in the screen covering his face. ah, children are so stupid.

    Invader Zim duplicated the experience for me perfectly..I think the place was called Hoggies or something like that. Chuck E. Cheese is not near as threatening.

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