Today’s Tunesday Tuesday band is Chocolate USA. I got into this band because I was an avid fan of They Might Be Giants, and both bands started on the small indie record label called Bar None. When I was in high school I used to buy albums that I thought had cool covers. I had seen Chocolate USA’s album “All Jets are Gonna Fall Today” in ads for Bar None, and I thought the cover was pretty cute, so I bought it without ever hearing the music.
I liked what I heard, so I wrote the band a letter. Honestly, I did not expect to hear back (though I did send a SASE just to see if they would use that to write back to me), but Julian did write back! I was in heaven just to get a letter back from a band I wrote to! It really meant a lot to me, and it still does. I still love this music.
This was 1994 or so. I was at the end of my high school career, and I had turned my friends on to Chocolate USA. I put their songs on mix tapes and gave them to my friend Todd and my pen pals. I laughed at the Doogie Howser part with my younger brother. My cat even liked Chocolate USA!
Needless to say, I HAD to go see them when the band went on tour! I begged my parents to take me and Todd! I begged, I pleaded, I bought my Dad a Hershey bar. I think it was the Hershey bar that put him over the edge. They took me and Todd to see Chocolate USA, who Dad called Chocolate America. This band was a band that wrote back to me more than once, and when Julian did not write, his grandmother sent me a postcard. This really meant so much to me. It still does.
I really really enjoyed the Chocolate USA show I got to go see. In fact, I am almost sure that Todd and I were the only ones who were there for their music. Anyways, these are photos from that show. The next time they came round (fall of 1994) my friends and I drove to see the show, but alas, we got there too early and missed them! Julian did phone me up, I remember, and said something like “don’t think we can’t get you in if you are not 21.” I think we were going to be “roadies” and carry equipment, but that never happened.
Chocolate USA was my “gateway” into Elephant 6. I am still an E6 fan to this day, and I don’t think I would be where I am today without this great connection.
So here I am at 18, and in awe of a really creative band of musicians who I truly admire. At 18, I used to think that Julian, Bill, Liza, and Eric were so much older than me, when in reality, they were not much older than me at all! But here they were making music, touring, and doing all this stuff that I was interested in, but I was never a great musician. Instead I drew comics, wrote zines, and wrote letters, all while listening to their music.
I was shocked and sad to hear about the passing of Bill Doss last week. I was happy to have met him this day when I saw Chocolate USA play, and I had kept up with his other bands over the years. I have been thinking of all the nice people and friends I have made through E6, and I wish them the best at this time. ❤