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Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine is a cover band and comedy act, performing popular songs in a lounge/swing style, reminiscent of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett. Lounge singer Richard Cheese is a character created and portrayed by Los Angeles-based actor/comedian/singer Mark Jonathan Davis.
Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine performing live in 2011
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Genres||Lounge, comedy, retro swing|
|Labels||Coverage Records (current), Surfdog, Oglio|
|Members||Richard Cheese (Mark Jonathan Davis)|
Bobby Ricotta (Noel Melanio)
Frank Feta (Brian Fishler)
Billy Bleu (Ron Belcher)
|Past members||David Adler|
Michael Bordelon (current bass sub)
Davis developed the Richard Cheese lounge singer idea in the mid-1990s while working as a producer at KROQ-FM in Los Angeles. Davis portrayed a character named "Paul The 55-Year-Old Intern" on the Kevin and Bean morning show, and Paul recorded a single called "Paul on 45", which was a humorous medley of KROQ songs arranged in a swing/big band style.
Davis pitched this idea as an album concept, and the band's debut album Richard Cheese: Lounge Against the Machine ("Featuring 16 Swingin' Covers Of Alternative Standards") was released in 2000 by Oglio Records. Since 2000, Davis's Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine band has released twenty albums.
Cheese's second and third albums Tuxicity and I'd Like a Virgin were independently released in 2002 and 2004 by Cheese's own label, Ideatown Entertainment (later renamed to Coverage Records).
From 2004–2006, Surfdog Records released three new Richard Cheese CDs: Aperitif for Destruction, Silent Nightclub, and The Sunny Side of the Moon: The Best of Richard Cheese, which included newly re-recorded versions of six Richard Cheese classics plus three all-new covers. Surfdog also re-released the Richard Cheese albums Tuxicity and I'd Like a Virgin on their label in 2006.
Beginning in 2007, Cheese returned to releasing his own albums through his independent Coverage Records label, about one each year: Dick at Nite, Viva La Vodka: Richard Cheese Live, OK Bartender, A Lounge Supreme, Live at the Royal Wedding and its companion behind-the-scenes album The Royal Baby Album, Back in Black Tie, and a Christmas album, Cocktails with Santa.
Cheese also produced an album in 2010 as Johnny Aloha called Lavapalooza, with a band of Hawaiian music musicians performing tiki-style versions of rock and rap songs. The album cover artwork was created by the artist Shag.
In late 2015, Cheese released 3 new CDs: a live album titled Bakin' at the Boulder, a Star Wars tribute called The Lounge Awakens: Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine Live at the Mos Eisley Spaceport Cantina, and a new studio album Supermassive Black Tux.
In 2016, because Richard Cheese sang two songs in the motion picture Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the band released a one-track parody album called Richard Cheese: Live at Wayne Financial Tower in which the band's performance is cut short by Superman's heat vision.
The Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine band released a new studio album on CD titled Licensed to Spill in 2017, and a greatest hits digital compilation titled Lord of the Swings: The Best of Richard Cheese, Volume 2 in 2018. In 2019, the band released a one-track parody album titled Richard Cheese: Live On Titan which satirized the ending of the motion picture Avengers: Infinity War.
A career retrospective boxed set titled Grateful: 21 Years of Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine 2000–2020 is scheduled for release in summer 2020.
The Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine band has toured extensively around the United States and has performed shows in England, Portugal, The Bahamas, and Canada.
The band is currently headlining regularly at Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas.
Richard Cheese's cover of Disturbed's "Down with the Sickness" was featured in the 2004 Zack Snyder-directed remake of Dawn of the Dead. Snyder also included Richard Cheese songs in his 2016 Warner Bros. film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Warner Bros. then hired the band to perform and appear as animated LEGO mini-figs in the 2017 film The Lego Batman Movie, singing the song "Man in the Mirror" and performing an "elevator-music" version of "Everything Is Awesome".
Richard Cheese has made numerous television appearances, including performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° for New Year's Eve, ESPN for a Las Vegas March Madness broadcast, Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel, ITV's The Jonathan Ross Show in England, and as the Vegas house band on NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly and MTV's Say What? Karaoke series.
Richard Cheese has also been featured on radio morning shows and syndicated radio programs such as The Dr. Demento Show, KROQ-FM's Kevin and Bean, Jonathon Brandmeier, The Howard Stern Show, Opie and Anthony, The Bob and Sheri Show, The Adam Carolla Show, and Gonzo in the Morning.
Davis is currently writing an autobiography about the band, titled Atlas Lounged: The Music, Martinis, and Madness Behind Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine which is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
The present line-up of the Lounge Against the Machine band consists of:
- Richard Cheese – vocals
- Bobby Ricotta – piano, keyboards
- Frank Feta – drums, percussion
- Billy Bleu – upright bass, bass
The names are all pseudonyms that refer to types of cheese (ricotta, feta, bleu). The name Richard Cheese itself is a pun on "dick cheese", a slang term; "Lounge Against the Machine" is a reference to Rage Against the Machine.
The role of pianist and musical director Bobby Ricotta is currently played by Noel Melanio; previously the role was played by David Adler. The band's first drummer Buddy Gouda was played by Todd LaValley, and then by Charles Byler. Byler left the band in 2004; he was replaced by Brian Fishler and the drummer's stage name was changed to Frank Feta. The role of bass player Gordon Brie was first portrayed by Christopher Monaco. The current bass player, Billy Bleu, is portrayed by Ron Belcher. Other bassists who have performed with the band include Gus Seyffert, Skip Ward, Jeff Novack, Nathan Peck, Steve Jones, John Hatton, Louie Allen, Pablo Motta, and Michael Bordelon. The band has also worked with numerous Session musicians and performers, including horn players Cleto Escobedo III, Eric Jorgensen, Terry Landry, Lee Thornburg, and Bill Churchville, bassist Will Lee, guitarists Jimmy Vivino and John Pizzarelli, percussionist Joey DeLeon, theremin player Pamelia Kurstin, and singers Fred Schneider, Slipknot's Corey Taylor, and "Weird Al" Yankovic.
Studio albums and singlesEdit
- Lounge Against the Machine (2000) (Oglio Records)
- Tuxicity (2002) (Surfdog Records (originally released by Ideatown/Coverage Records))
- I'd Like a Virgin (2004) (Surfdog Records (originally released by Ideatown/Coverage Records))
- Aperitif for Destruction (2005) (Surfdog Records)
- The Sunny Side of the Moon (2006) (Surfdog Records)
- Silent Nightclub (2006) (Surfdog Records)
- Dick at Nite (Your Favorite TV Themes Loungified!) (2007) (Coverage Records)
- OK Bartender (2010) (Coverage Records)
- Johnny Aloha: Lavapalooza (2010) (as Richard Cheese presents Johnny Aloha) (Coverage Records)
- Richard Cheese: Live at the Royal Wedding (2011) (Coverage Records)
- A Lounge Supreme (2011) (Coverage Records)
- Back in Black Tie (2012) (Coverage Records)
- The Royal Baby Album (2013) (Coverage Records)
- Cocktails with Santa (2013) (Coverage Records)
- The Lounge Awakens: Richard Cheese Live at the Mos Eisley Spaceport Cantina (2015) (Coverage Records)
- Supermassive Black Tux (2015) (Coverage Records)
- Richard Cheese Live At Wayne Financial Tower (2016) (Coverage Records)
- Licensed to Spill (2017) (Coverage Records)
- Richard Cheese's Big Swingin' Organ! (2019) (Coverage Records)
- Richard Cheese: Live On Titan (2019) (Coverage Records)
- Yesterday (single) (June 2019) (Coverage Records)
- The Sunny Side of the Moon: The Best of Richard Cheese (2006) (Surfdog Records)
- Hail To The Cheese: Richard Cheese's All-American Greatest Hits (digital only) (2012) (Coverage Records)
- Down With The Dickness: Richard Cheese's Dirtiest Greatest Hits (digital only) (2012) (Coverage Records)
- Lord of the Swings: The Best of Richard Cheese, Volume 2 (digital only) (2018) (Coverage Records)
- Viva la Vodka: Richard Cheese Live (2009) (Coverage Records)
- Bakin' at the Boulder: Richard Cheese Live at the Boulder Theater (2015) (Coverage Records)
Other album appearancesEdit
- The Lego Batman Movie soundtrack (2017) (Warner Bros.)
Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine have played numerous concerts around the United States, as well as in Canada, Portugal, the Bahamas, and England. The band has performed at popular U.S. venues such as The Gramercy Theatre in New York City, Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco, Thalia Hall in Chicago, and many times at House of Blues venues around the United States. The band performed at Jack Black's Festival Supreme in 2015, and at other festivals such as KROQ Acoustic Christmas in Los Angeles and Y100's Feztival in Philadelphia. The band's largest audience was at Sonisphere in England in 2011, when they performed for a crowd of 18,000. The band also performed at private events for singer Brian Setzer, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, actress Sara Ramirez, British talk show host Jonathan Ross, the band Muse, director Zack Snyder, and as the house band for the Creative Arts Daytime Emmy Awards in 2004 and 2005.
Cheese still performs live concerts, and is currently scheduled to perform tour dates in the U.S. in 2019.
- The Comedy Team of Pete & James ("One") (2001)
- Dawn of the Dead ("Down with the Sickness") (2004)
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ("Night and Day", "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye") (2016)
- The Lego Batman Movie ("Man in the Mirror", "Everything Is Awesome") (2017)
- CNN – Showbiz Today – Richard Cheese interview (2000)
- MTV – Say What Karaoke – performed as house band in Las Vegas
- VH1 – Rock & Roll Jeopardy! (2001)
- Fox News Channel – Fox & Friends Morning Show (winter 2001 and fall 2002) (performed live on the streets of New York City)
- NBC – *Last Call with Carson Daly (May 2003 and May 2004) – performed as house band in Las Vegas
- ABC – *Jimmy Kimmel Live! (April 2004) (performed "Baby Got Back" and "Personal Jesus")
- NBC – Las Vegas Season 4, Episode 8 ("Christmas in Las Vegas") (2006)
- NBC – Passions (soap opera) (2006)
- CNN – Anderson Cooper 360° – Richard Cheese performance in Las Vegas (New Year's Eve 2007)
- ITV – The Jonathan Ross Show (London) – performed as house band (November 2012)
- ESPN – Tournament Challenge – performed as house band in Las Vegas (February 2017)
- The Leftovers (HBO series) – Season 3, Episode 3, "Crazy Whitefella Thinking" ("Personal Jesus") (April 2017)
- KROQ-FM Kevin and Bean (various dates, various songs)
- The Dr. Demento Show (various dates, various songs)
- The Howard Stern Show (March 13, 2003)
- The Opie & Anthony Show (June 17, 2005and various other dates prior to 2005, performed "Shitdick" and other songs live)
- The Jonathon Brandmeier Show (various dates, various songs)
- The Frank Show, KFMA Tucson, AZ and KDOT Reno, NV (various dates, various songs)
- The Adam Carolla Show July 31, 2008; December 2, 2008
- The Rod Ryan Show (various dates, various songs)
- Rick Emerson Show (various dates, various songs)
- Tommy & Rumble Show (March 9, 2006)
- Premiere Radio Networks Rock Comedy Channel (syndicated 2002–2005)
- Gonzo in the Morning (various dates, various songs)
- Coverville (April 5, 2006) Richard Cheese interview
- Club 301 (November 30, 2006) Richard Cheese interview
- Turner, Katherine (March 3, 2016). This is the Sound of Irony: Music, Politics and Popular Culture. Routledge. p. 171. ISBN 9781317010548. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- Tilles, Jay (March 24, 2016). "How a Richard Cheese Song Made it into Batman V Superman". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- Stapleton, Susan (February 3, 2015). "Cheese whiz Richard Cheese slices two sets in Las Vegas". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 August 2017.