Sunday, August 1, 2010

MOONPOOLS AND CATERPILLARS planning a reunion show?

Rumblings around the internet has fans of Moonpools and Caterpillars excited about a possible reunion show in the Los Angeles area. It started back in 2008 when fans received a friend request from Myspace from a page claiming to be the Official Myspace site of Moonpools and Caterpillars. Sure enough, it was them...back from the dead and posting, "Traffic" and "Hitcher," new unreleased songs never heard before! Later that year, a Facebook page launched with rarely seen concert footage of the band. Could this be clues to a possible reunion? New album? It's been nearly 15 years since the band called it quits but it looked as though the site was merely there to resell cd's and a concert dvd. But any news was good news and with it, brought back good memories of what their songs had meant to many of us, including me...

Moonpools & Caterpillars perform their final show at The Whisky A Go Go.

I had just come back from New York and was tired of what I was hearing on the radio. One day, while scanning the used cd isle at a local Warehouse store, I came upon a bright green album with a cartoonish character on the cover. "Lucky Dumpling" by a band calling themselves Moonpools and Caterpillars. On the back was a photo of the band – three boys, on gal. They looked like the kids you see riding their bikes around the neighborhood. You have to understand, at time, music on the radio was either hip/hop, R&B or the typical 'I'm so sad, my life sucks,' types of music. So coming across this happy and bright album was different from everything I've been hearing on the radio lately.

It was 1995. A year earlier, Cobain had just killed himself in the top room of his Seattle home. Grunge was essentially dead and the Billboard charts were ruled by Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Seal and TLC. Lost in all of this was Moonpools and Caterpillars, a local L.A. band who were known for playing great live shows. Their debut album "Lucky Dumplings," released in May of that year was starting to get airplay on college radio. "Hear," their hit single was featured in a national commercial for Volkswagen and they embarked on their first national tour. They even appeared on Katherine Heigl's feature film debut in Disney's, "Wish Upon A Star."

Moonpools and Caterpillars in Disney's Wish Upon A Star performing "Hear" and "Heaven."

Comprised of Kimi Ward Encarnacion, Jay Jay Encarnacion, Gugut Salgado and Tim de Pala, Moonpools and Caterpillars' rise to fame was accidental. It's said that during one of their shows, an A&R representative from a record label went to one of their shows looking to sign a different band that was also performing that night. Well, the A&R guy got there early and caught Moonpools' set and loved them so much he signed them on the spot.

Moonpools & Caterpillars perform their final show at The Whisky A Go Go.

I decided to give it a shot to see what did these kids had to sing about? Was it teen angst? Were they railing against 'the man'? I was wrong on both counts. That night, my room was filled with the sugary sounds of Moonpools and Caterpillars. The poetic and fun lyrical vocals of Kimi danced over the optimistic and playful guitars and beats. Their sound was distinct just as Kimi's yodeling-style screamed anthem-like lyrics from the rooftops. Their songs were a celebration of youth but more importantly, about life. They weren't trying to change music, they were merely trying to have fun at something they loved to do.

That's all I needed. I was hooked. As I scoured the internet in search of more, I found out that Moonpools and Caterpillars were dropped by their label a year later and ended up self-releasing their equally magnificent sophomore album "12 Songs." On top of that, they also had released a hard to find live album known only as "The Pink Album." Considering this was during the internet's infancy and pre-Napster days, I scoured the internet, record stores and message boards in search of this elusive "12 Songs" and "Pink Album," and finally found an equally fervent fan who shared my excitement for this band and mailed me copies of the albums.

Through the years, Moonpools and Caterpillars have grown a cult-like following by word of mouth, friends making copies for friends, listening to their songs on long car rides and singing along to their universal lyrics of life, proving that their albums hasn't aged through the years and their songs could easily play on radio today. Today, fifteen years later, I still listen to these albums and with the help of the internet, fans –new and old – can rediscover this band that continues to entertain. For me, this was basically the start of Picksysticks and my love for women-fronted bands began.

Now, with the rumors of a reunion show fueled by Moonpools and Caterpillars' own Facebook page revealing full-band practice sessions and the teasing a show at the intimate Hotel Cafe, fans are foaming at the mouth for a chance to see Moonpools and Caterpillars one last time. Let's hope, at least for me who has never seen this band live, that this happens.