Rock-a-fire Explosion ... Don't Call it a Comeback


Most of us can probably remember a time in the 1980s when—by choice or by circumstance—we went to a Chuck E. Cheese's or Showbiz Pizza Place. It could be argued that these storied establishments exemplify the '80s. They represent an entire generation of fun for those of us who grew up in this oddly fashionable decade.

Chuck E. Cheese's gradually took over the Showbiz name through what was referred to as "product unification" in the early 1990s. Though similar in concept, the key difference between Showbiz and Chuck E. Cheese's was the animatronic robot band characters. Chuck E. Cheese—a pizza loving mouse from New Jersey—headed up his band. Billy Bob Brockali—an ambiguously rad bear with a latent drinking problem—was the leader of the Rock-afire Explosion, the group associated with Showbiz.

After Showbiz went the way of pogs, a handful of loyalists began collecting and maintaining these long obsolete animatronic creatures. Today, they can be found mostly on YouTube, where they are programmed to play contemporary songs. If you haven't seen the video below, it was only a matter of time. For the expanded version of how this glorious rebirth came to be, check out the Rock-afire Explosion documentary that came out in 2009.