Visit to '80s animatronic rock band warehouse

rockafire.jpg

Casey Paquet says:

My buddy Allen and I had the opportunity last week to visit Creative Engineering, Inc. in Orlando -- better known as the birthplace of the Rock-afire Explosion, the animatronic band you may remember from Showbiz Pizza Place in the '80s. In an unassuming (and unmarked) warehouse smack in the middle of downtown sits a huge time capsule, once home to over 300 employees and now a relic of rotting robots and shattered dreams. The owner, Aaron Fechter, is the only remaining "employee" and a walk through the main floor and basement of the warehouse is like walking through a ghost town that was vacated in 1984, everything left just as it was the day the doors were closed.

Aaron was kind enough to give us a guided tour of the enormous warehouse, which was equal parts entertaining and depressing. The highlight of the visit was getting to see the Rock-afire Explosion (the very one that all of the original show tapes were programmed on) perform -- Aaron handed us a huge document containing all of the show tapes, letting us choose what we wanted to hear and playing us some of his favorites. I can't quite explain the surreal nature of the visit, seeing a robot band that I haven't seen in 20 years up close and personal is a bit unsettling, not to mention seeing parts of said band strewn about in various states of disrepair across thousands of square feet of dark warehouse.

For your viewing pleasure, I have provided links to a Flickr set of nearly 100 photos throughout both levels of the warehouse and a series of videos. I've done my best to let you know what you're looking at in the captions, so enjoy!


Visit to 80s animatronic rock band warehouse