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An indie pop group whose eclectic sound embraces everything from lo-fi acoustic jangliness to full-bodied power pop gusto, Fishboy are, at their core, a vehicle for the bright-eyed zany songs of Eric Michener. Michener, a native Texan, was dubbed "Fishboy" when, provoked by a dare, he ate a live fish at the Dallas World Aquarium during a middle-school field trip -- a stunt that allegedly went on to be aired on the local news. Michener's debut album, Tim Fly's Cause He's Having Fun, was released in 2000 on Business Deal Records, a small label/music collective co-founded by Michener's older brother Dirk. A self-released odds-and-sods CD-R, The American Friends of Carlos Velez, came out two years later, and was followed by 2003's Zipbangboom, which featured Adam Avramescu on horn. Avramescu officially joined the group on that release, and was the first of several members to be added to Fishboy's ever-shifting lineup over the course of the next few years.
By the time the band's third full-length release, Little D, rolled around in 2005, Fishboy had expanded to include drummer Winston Reed Chapman and bassist Brady Goodwin. Chapman left the band soon after the album was released in order to focus on his work with Bosque Brown; drummer John Clardy took his place in the winter of that year. Boosted by the positive reviews of that album, Fishboy spent the following year gigging with high-profile bands and made an appearance on the Chicagoland kids' TV show Chic-a-Go-Go. Goodwin left the band in the summer of 2006 in order to attend a seminary, and was replaced by bassist Justin Lloyd that fall. Fishboy were picked up by the Athens, Georgia-based label Happy Happy Birthday to Me right around that time, and their fourth full-length, Albatross: How We Failed to Save the Lone Star State with the Power of Rock and Roll, was released in 2007.
Their next record, 2011's Classic Creeps, was also released by HHBTM, and this time Michener had a new cast of characters helping out: Adam Avramescu on piano, organ, trumpet, French horn, percussion, and group vocals; Tommy Garcia on drums, percussion, whistle, and group vocals; and Ryan Williams on electric and upright bass. By the time they self-released 2014's An Elephant, a concept album about Thomas Edison and Topsy the Elephant that came with a Michener-drawn comic, the band's new lineup included Scarlett Wright on bass, Grahm Robinson on drums, and Samuel Escalante on keys and horns. The band's next record featured a new bassist, Dave Koen, and an impressive concept revolving around artists of various types. To go along with the music, Michener began sharing a painting a day in October of 2016, ending after he painted 200 of them. The 3"x5" watercolor-on-chipboard portraits of "Art Guards" were incorporated in the album's packaging and sold when the album, titled Art Guards, was released in May of 2017 by Lauren Records. ~ Margaret Reges
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