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Here's what reporters, deejays, rock stars, and super-cool Hollywood directors are saying about Richard Cheese, his fabulous CDs, and his hundreds of swingin' concerts!
 

 

The Wall Street Journal
The Power Of Cheese
Arts & Entertainment
The Wall Street Journal, Page D11, 05/20/2009
--Joanne Kaufman
(see complete article at:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124277281865836549.html
)

"Young lady, get in front of these guys. Right in front, sweetheart," singer Richard Cheese directed a fan at his Webster Hall show here in mid-April. "We have a gender problem," continued Mr. Cheese, gazing with exaggerated disapproval at the heavy concentration of males arrayed before him. "Dude. Dude. Dude. Dude," he counted before launching into a cover of the Beastie Boys' hit "Brass Monkey." Hoisting beers and camera phones, the crowd of 1,000, mostly in their 20s and 30s, gleefully sang along.

But someone had been monkeying big-time with that brass monkey, funky monkey. What had started life as a classic hip-hop song became, in Mr. Cheese's interpretation, a jaunty, up-tempo number that seemed tailor-made for a finger-snapping Jack Jones or Vic Damone.

Such is Mr. Cheese's game: presenting very skillful Las Vegas lounge-style versions of punk, rap, heavy-metal and rock songs by the likes of Nirvana, Guns N' Roses, Britney Spears, Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead -- with the often lewd lyrics completely intact. The rap number "Baby Got Back," by Sir Mix-A-Lot, as covered by Mr. Cheese and his back-up group, Lounge Against the Machine, became a song for swingin' lovers, while U2's impassioned anthem "Sunday Bloody Sunday" morphed into a mambo with Mr. Cheese singing some of the lyrics in Spanish.

"How ya doing, kids?" he asked with all the sincerity of a used-car salesman. "We're going to take a short break." Beat. Beat. "We're back!" And now for a lightly swinging

RC in the WSJ!   drawing by Ken Fallin

rendition of the theme from the '70s sitcom "Three's Company," a little bonbon included on Mr. Cheese's seventh album, "Dick at Nite" (Coverage). He's currently in the middle of a tour to support album number eight, "Viva La Vodka" (Coverage), a compilation of live performances -- among them what one listener referred to as "swankified" takes of "Toxic," originally performed by Britney Spears, and "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls.

Richard Cheese is the alter ego of comedian and striver Mark Jonathan Davis, 43, who's offering up a variation on Nick Winters, the lounge lizard conjured by Bill Murray on "Saturday Night Live," and Darlene and Jonathan Edwards, a lounge-act parody conjured in the '50s by jazz singer Jo Stafford and her orchestra-leader husband Paul Weston.

For Mr. Davis, the word "cheese" pretty much says it all. "I guess it's the idea that lounge music is kind of cheesy," he said in an interview after the show. "When I chose the name of the character, I wanted to communicate that it was sort of a joke. But Richard Cheese doesn't know it's a joke. He's kind of clueless," added Mr. Davis, who extended the jape to include the members of his band: pianist Bobby Ricotta (Noel Melanio) and drummer Frank Feta (Brian Fishler), collaborators with the boss on the shrewd musical arrangements, and bass player Billy Bleu (Ron Belcher). Through the years there's also been Chazz American, Wayne String, Gordon Brie and Buddy Gouda.

Suffice it to say that in the decade since Mr. Cheese began spreading his magic -- CD sales total 170,000 -- fans have milked the dairy angle for all it's worth. "We played a show in Boston last year and a guy showed up in a cow costume," Mr. Davis said. "We have people show up wearing those hats shaped like cheese wedges. They'll say 'if I'm in your band I'm going to be Peter Processed.'

"Different people focus on different aspects of the act," Mr. Davis continued. "Some people latch on to the cheese part. Some people like the fact that we have a jazz trio. Some people are big fans of the original artists -- they show up with a variety of tattoos and body piercings. I welcome them all. I just wish there were more girls."

The younger of two children, Mr. Davis grew up in Phoenix where after high school he began volunteering at the local top-40 radio station, KZZP-FM. A paid part-time job contributing song and commercial parodies followed, with Mr. Davis eventually working his way up to producer of a morning show. He moved to Los Angeles in 1990 for another radio job, then found his way to KROQ-FM, better known as K-Rock, and began developing the character that became Richard Cheese.

"I had created Paul, a 55-year-old who worked as an intern at the station," said Mr. Davis. "It was a rock station, so of course a 55-year-old guy shouldn't be working there. He was always trying to convince the producers to play Sinatra songs.

"I came in one day and said 'let me have the guy sing Sinatra versions of K-Rock songs,'" added Mr. Davis, who stitched together a medley of tunes -- Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf"; Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give It Away"; The Clash's "Rock the Casbah" -- done in swing style.

When it comes to choosing material, Richard Cheese wants a tune with that certain je ne sais quoi -- a song that if not a standard today will surely be a standard tomorrow. So bring on "Gin & Juice" by Snoop Doggy Dogg and "War Ensemble" by Slayer.

As for Mr. Davis, "I want a song that everyone recognizes, something that has lyrics that are rather ridiculous when sung in a lounge style. And I want our version to be as good as or better than the original."

The groups whose songs Mr. Cheese has covered seem to enjoy the joke mightily. "We met U2 the year our first CD came out, and I gave a copy to Bono," said Mr. Davis, referring to the leader of the Dublin rock group. "He instantly got what we were doing." The heavy-metal group, Disturbed, whose "Down With the Sickness" turned up "swankified" in the movie "Dawn of the Dead," are fans. So are the guys in the band Rush, "which is amazing and wonderful," added Mr. Davis. "People love it when you sing their songs. Not only do they make a little money off it, it's a tribute."

And in return let us pay tribute to Mr. Cheese: He has unquestionably fulfilled his stated ambition of being the loudest lounge singer in America. Actually, this has less to do with his warbling than his wardrobe. Among his nine tuxedos is a shiny silver number, a cocktail print, a Hawaii print and a tiger stripe. Grrrr.

This is Mr. Cheese's farewell tour with Lounge Against the Machine, Mr. Davis insists. "I have some other things I want to do with recording and performing," he said, mentioning a Richard Cheese documentary, a forthcoming Hawaiian-themed album, "Lavapalooza," as well as an album of contemporary rock songs repurposed as serious ballads.

Richard Cheese can undoubtedly go on swinging as long as there are songs to sing. Mr. Davis, not so much. "I want to keep things interesting for our fans," he said. "This is something I love doing, but everyone has to grow."

Ms. Kaufman writes about culture and the arts for the Journal.


 

 

 


"...The most ironic tribute act on the planet"
--Leslie Gornstein, The Los Angeles Times, 03/04/2004

 

DIRECTOR ZACK SNYDER / MTV.COM
Zack Snyder at MTV.com!

'Watchmen' Director Zack Snyder Reaches For A Slice Of Cheese
MTV News guest columnist has music on the brain as
he wraps shooting the hugely anticipated superhero flick.

--Zack Snyder, guest columnist, mtv.com, 01/30/2008
(see complete article at:
http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1580555/story.jhtml )

Zack Snyder is the acclaimed director of "300" and "Dawn of the Dead."  His forthcoming "Watchmen" project, adapted from the long-worshipped graphic novel, is one of the most highly anticipated superhero projects in years.  Snyder is also an occasional guest columnist for MTV.com.

"The Irony of Cheese"

I just realized that quite a bit of time had gone by since I last ranted about anything on MTVNews.com, so I thought I better get to it.

At the moment, I'm in the final weeks of shooting "Watchmen," in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Since "Watchmen" is a dissection of the superhero genre and forces it to take a long, hard look into the pop-culture mirror, it only makes sense that it's where my head is at these days.  With that in mind, I started thinking about music and whether there were any parallels that could be drawn.  Enter Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine.  Although tonally they are vastly different in many ways, the film and the Cheese-y music share an in-your-face look at the world, calling bullshit on pop culture in an unapologetic way.

For the unfamiliar, Richard Cheese (also known as Dick Cheese) is a Los Angeles singer and comedian.  He and his cover band, Lounge Against the Machine — which features Gordon Brie, Frank Feta and Bobby Ricotta — have spent the last 10 years satirizing the pop songs that assault our ears day in and day out, every time we turn on our radios.  Don't get me wrong, I have my own musical guilty pleasures (don't think for a second I'm going to divulge them here), but it never ceases to amaze me the range of songs that can race to the top of the charts and stay there indefinitely, some offering almost nothing of substance, while others are bound to be future classics.  Richard Cheese seems to have a similar fascination with both the good and the bad that fill the airwaves.  He refuses to lie down and accept the pageantry, attitude, emotion, chords, alliteration and sometimes sheer absurdity of today's music at face value.  Covering everything from Nirvana's "Rape Me" to 2 Live Crew's "Me So Horny" to the "Three's Company" theme song, he chooses to engage songs by recording hilarious and, in my opinion, genius lounge-style renditions.

I've been a fan of Richard Cheese for a long time, so naturally he's in my mental Rolodex when I started thinking about music for my movies.  When I was looking for tracks for the "Dawn of the Dead" soundtrack, it was important to me that the music reinforce the film's underlying desire to break conventions and not be limited by the expectations placed on the film because of its roots in the genre world.  Too often I think studios and filmmakers have a preconceived notion of what audiences' expectations will be based on a film's genre.  I believe this approach often sets a course that funnels many projects down a familiar pathway with comfortable choices and safe decisions.  I'll be the first to admit that sometimes this actually works, creating cinematic "comfort food" that delivers and satisfies.  But more often than not, it leaves me as a viewer dissatisfied, wanting more and wishing I didn't know what was waiting for me around every corner.  That is why I like creating projects that are self-aware.  In my opinion, the trick is being self-aware without becoming self-conscious, having an awareness of a project's roots, but not being stifled by the typical genre pre-conceptions.  I always say it was important to me while making "Dawn of the Dead" to "have fun with," but not "make fun of," the zombie and horror genres.

Which brings me back to Richard Cheese.  When I was cutting the scene in "Dawn of the Dead" where we find our survivors passing the time while trapped in the mall together, I immediately thought of Richard Cheese and his cover of the Disturbed song "Down With the Sickness."  Don't get me wrong; I knew the typical song choice for that moment could have easily been the original version of the song.  Ripe with all its testosterone-driven badass attitude and pounding drums, the original would have suited a montage of our characters that portrayed them as defiantly shrugging off the surrounding dangers.  But, in this particular instance, I think it would have been the wrong message.  There is an obvious symbolic lyrical "illness" tie-in, but more importantly, I was depending on the irony found in the lounge rendition of the song to play through.  So, I dropped it into the cut, stepped back and let it play.  There was something ironic as I watched the characters, in the dire situation they were, passing the time ever so casually in the face of a zombie apocalypse.  Exposing these very alive people as strangely similar to the mindless creatures surrounding the mall, the song helped to reinforce the tone of the moment.  It was the perfect fit.  Even in the face of a potentially world-ending plague, they are still drawn to the mundane.

In many ways, this is what Richard Cheese is all about:  Peeling away the tough, polished exterior of a song dressed in its most aggressive riff or eardrum-rattling bass and exposing it to its core.  He has the ability to look in the pop-culture mirror and see both the good and the bad and, without discriminating, have fun dissecting both.  After all, what's not to like about a swanky lounge version of Slayer's "War Ensemble"?

Then again, that's just my opinion.  Check him out yourself ... www.richardcheese.com

-Zack

RC says:   HOLY SHIT!  THANKS ZACK!

 

 

 

New Times Phoenix!
The Biggest Dick in Phoenix
Richard Cheese at Celebrity Theatre on Saturday, June 7
Up On The Sun,
New Times, Phoenix 06/08/2008
--Benjamin Leatherman
(see complete article at:
http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/uponsun/2008/06/the_biggest_dick_in_phoenix_ri.php )

Back in mid-1996, Zach de la Rocha and the rest of Rage Against the Machine ruled the alt-rock world, with stations like The Edge (then on 106.3/100.3 FM) broadcasting the foursome’s aggro agitprop songs from their second album Evil Empire on seemingly an hourly basis. In those pre-iPod days, the radio dial in my ’88 Ford Escort was usually tuned to The Edge, and after hearing about how “tha power dons” were rallying ‘round the family with a pocket full of shells for like the 999,999th time in a single day, I thought to myself, “I wonder what ‘Bulls on Parade’ would sound like as a swing song?”

It wasn’t a cure for cancer or anything, but I thought it’d be pretty snazzy to neuter such a fiercely aggressive jam by rendering it as a jazzy, torched-out number with plenty of call-and-response. But like many random thoughts and ideas, this one was filed away in the back reaches of the mind under the “maybe someday, if you’ve got the time” header.

Fast forward to 2002, when I first heard Richard Cheese croon out his loungy, parody version of Disturbed’s violently hostile chart-topper “Down with the Sickness,” and felt very much like the schnook in those invention-patenting commercials who failed to secure the rights to his new pasta pot, or some such device that could’ve made him a fortune.

“Damn,” I thought, recalling my scheme of six years ago. “Somebody beat me to it.”

[photo caption:  Richard Cheese, lampooning lounge-pimp extraordinaire. ]

(Turns out Cheese wasn’t the only one to give birth to the same brain child, as the Mike Flowers Pops over in England and Australia’s Frank Bennett have been doing jazzy send-ups of pop and rock hits since the mid-90s).

But despite the fact I was suffering from a bad case of “woulda-shoulda-coulda,” I became an ardent fan of Cheese and his slick-sounding spoofs of rock, pop, and hip-hop anthems, and was very much looking forward to the lounge lampoon’s concert at the Celebrity Theatre. It’d be my last chance to watch the big Dick in action, as the singer was billing the current “Lounge the Vote” tour as a swan song to live performances due to “vocal chord problems,” and the concert didn’t disappoint in the least.

The sell-out crowd was already feeling in the mood for swing and swank thanks to a smokin’ opening set by Phoenix jazz ensemble Sonorous (who were joined at one point by songstress Lonna Kelley), but when Cheese strode onto the Celebrity’s round stage with the three members of backing band Lounge Against the Machine, things really got rolling. Carrying an oversized martini glass with him (and getting plenty of hoots from the audience as a result of the prop), the singer started off with his comical versions of Nine Inch Nail’s “Closer” and Mystikal’s “Shake Ya Ass.” He scatted and snapped his way through the vulgar-sounding numbers with style, transforming the venue into a gonzo version of some smoky, barely-lit lounge.

[photo:  Bill Murray ain't got nothin on Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine.]

He seemed extra jazzed for the show, considering he was performing for his hometown crowd. Cheese is originally from the Valley and wore his Arizona affiliation on his sleeve by dropping references to local radio stations and businesses (even singing a loungy version of the jingle for a local Berge/Mazda/Volkswagen dealership). He also gave plenty of shout-outs to friends and family in attendance, including his parents.

“Is everybody drunk? Are my parents in the back already drunk?” Cheese asked the crowd. “Somebody get them a drink. My mom likes a good Vodka and Geritol.”

After a few profanity-laced songs, the swinging satirist made some amusing apologies to his folks for all his ribald and racy rantings. Later, he also presented his parents with a what appeared to be a fancy cake and fruit salad in honor of the upcoming Father’s Day holiday while LATM performed a dad-oriented song, which turned out to be the “Imperial March” from The Empire Strikes Back. Clever.

[photo caption:  Get up, come on get down with the dickness.]

But the audience got more than just aptly-timed recyclings of sci-fi themes, as the Cheese and company managed to jam more than 30 songs into a two-hour show (albeit some in abbreviated form) and gave ‘em more than their money’s worth. The set list featured a large number of TV themes (The Brady Bunch, Three’s Company, Aqua Teen Hunger Force), owing to the fact that Cheese’s latest disc Dick at Night is filled with said songs. He even gave another nod to the Valley by belting out the theme to 80s sitcom Alice, which was set in the PHX.

Like any good lounge singer, Cheese knew how to the work the room, and did so with snazzy style. Ever the showman, Cheese also had his between-song (and even in-song) patter down pat. He moved through the aisles at various points, interacting with the crowd, humorously hitting on married women in front of their husbands, or dragging audience members up to the stage (including bringing three bro’s in tuxedo tee shirts up to dance with him, Rockettes-style, to “Down with the Sickness”).

[photo caption: This shot ain’t from the Celebrity show, but it illustrates how Cheese gets audience members (particularly the female ones) to demonstrate how much they love Dick.]

In order to stave off drunken requests for songs from being shouted out during the affair (which they were anyway), Cheese also placed a “suggestion box” made from tiger skin-like fabric (natch) at the edge of the stage.The dapper dood also changed his tux jacket three times during the concert, switching from basic black to one covered in martini glasses, then a faux tiger skin model, and finally a more silvery deal.

Other hilarious hi-jinks included:

-- Before performing audience favorite “Baby Got Back,” he pulled one bootylicious lady onto the stage and requesting she use the mic stand as a stripper pole.

-- During a performance of the theme to SpongeBob SquarePants, Cheese had some in the first few rows blow bubbles and asked everyone else to wave their arms around like kelp.

-- After performing a medley of Beastie Boy songs (“Brass Monkey”/“So Whatcha Want”/”Sabotage”), Cheese noticed some 14-year-olds in one of the front rows and asked them if they’d heard of the Beastie Boys. “Tell you what, go out and buy Ill Communication, Check Your Head, and Hello Nasty and you’ll get laid next year like that,” he said.

-- In the middle of the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha,” Cheese began doing hilariously spot-on impersonations of how singers like Bob Dylan, Michael McDonald, or Bjork would sing the song.

(We really wish we had some pictures to show you of the some of these shenanigans, but the singer hates having snapshots taken of him during gigs, so the photo Nazis, err…ushers repeatedly put the smackdown on anyone daring to raise a camera).

Cheese finally wrapped up the show around 11 p.m. after a three-song encore, thanking us for helping “spread the Cheese” and finished with a rendition of the chorus from “Viva Las Vegas Phoenix.” If it indeed was his final show in Phoenix, (and not just some marketing ploy), it was a helluva way to go out.

Personal bias: I wish I owned a swank tiger skin tux and an oversized martini glass.

Better than: Hanging out with the dicks in Scottsdale.

Overheard outside: “I think Richard Cheese is the new Danny Elfman.”


Random detail: Before Cheese took the stage, the P.A. system was playing the original versions of many of the songs he’s parodied, including Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie,” Green Day’s “American Idiot,” and Beastie Boys “Brass Monkey.”

Set list (and the originators of each song):
1. “Closer” (Nine Inch Nails)
2. “Shake Ya Ass” (Mystikal)
3. “Another Brick in the Wall” (Pink Floyd)
4. “You Shook Me All Night Long” (AC/DC)
5. “Smack My Bitch Up” (Prodigy)
6. “War Ensemble” (Slayer)*
7. “Crazy Bitch” (Buckcherry)
8. “Indiana Jones theme” (John Williams)**
9. “Brass Monkey”/“So Whatcha Want”/”Sabotage” (Beastie Boys)
10. “Ice Ice Baby” (Vanilla Ice)
11. “Theme from Three’s Company” (Joe Raposo)
12. “Me So Horny” (2 Live Crew)
13. “99 Luftballons” (Nena)*
14. “Airbag” (Radiohead)
15. “Theme song from Alice” (Linda Lavin)
16. “Gin & Juice” (Snoop Dogg)
17. Medley of tidbits of audience-requested songs, including “White Room” (Cream), “Hollaback Girl” (Gwen Stefani), “P.W.A.” (5th Ward Boyz), “Hot For Teacher” (Van Halen), “My Humps” (Black Eye Peas), “Theme from The Love Boat” (Jack Jones), and “Amie” (Pure Prairie League)*
18. “Chop Suey” (System of a Down)
19. Jingle for Clorox 2 (“Mama’s got the magic of Clorox 2”)*
20. “Theme from SpongeBob SquarePants” (Patrick Pinney)
21. “Eye of the Tiger” (Survivor)**
22. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana)
23. “Toxic” (Britney Spears)
24. “Don't Cha” (Pussycat Dolls)
25. “Baby Got Back” (Sir Mix-A-Lot)
26. “Theme from Aqua Teen Hunger Force” (Schoolly D)
27. “Theme from The Brady Bunch” (Sherwood Schwartz)
28. “Imperial March” (John Williams)**
29. “People Equals Shit” (SlipKnot)
30. “You're the Inspiration” (Chicago)
31. Encore: “Down with the Sickness” (Disturbed)
32. Encore: “Careless Whisper” (George Michael)
33. Encore: “Creep” (Radiohead)
34. Encore: “Viva Las Vegas Phoenix” (Elvis Presley)*
* Abbreviated version of the song
** Instrumental
 

 

 

RC on the cover of the LAS VEGAS MERCURY!
"The best"
--Las Vegas Mercury, April 2003

 


"Lounge singer extraordinaire"
--Bonnie Burton, starwars.com, May 12, 2006
(see complete article on our INTERVIEWS page in this
website's  ABOUT DICK  section)

 

Revolver Magazine May 2003 issue!
"Although we have mixed feelings about this kind of shit, we couldn't help but be amused...."
--Eric Frigo, Revolver Magazine, May 2003

 


"This processed cheese has Richard taking alternative rock songs, smothering them in new arrangements, and belting them out with vocals seemingly unearthed in the darkest corners of America's cocktail lounges...a melodic vocalist in an era when so many musicians scream the lyrics...a beat that's a liberating departure from the confines of the original songs...The word on cheese is spreading!"
--Paul Vercammen, CNN, 06/19/2001
(see complete story at
http://www.cnn.com/2001/SHOWBIZ/Music/08/29/richard.cheese/index.html )

 

Desert Living Magazine - January 2006
"This guy may be the best lounge singer ever … or at least the best dressed"
--Chris Rubin, Desert Living Magazine, January 2006
(see complete interview on our INTERVIEWS page)

 


"There is deep irony found in turning obscure songs by groups like Slipknot, Disturbed, and Puddle of Mudd, laced with raw emotion and explicit language, into innocuous fluff."
--Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, May 29, 2008
(see complete interview on our INTERVIEWS page)

 

 

New Times!
"Insidious"
--Phoenix New Times, May 2005

 

Gonna email five copies to my mother!
"...faux Rat Pack...with a splash of Paul Shaffer thrown into the mix."
--Chris Rubin, RollingStone.com, 12/18/2001

 

 New Times Broward-Palm Beach!
"Lounge has never been cheesier"
--New Times Broward-Palm Beach
(see complete interview on our INTERVIEWS page or
http://music.newtimesbpb.com/Issues/2005-08-25/music/beatcomber.html )

 


"Imitation Cheese: The Big Cover-Up"

Tribute bands are alive and well. Or at least alive.
RICHARD CHEESE
This West Coast ivory tickler (his friends call him Dick Cheese) delves into lounge versions of alt-rock's greatest hits on his CD Lounge Against The Machine, from a jazzy samba version of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" to a finger-snappin', Catskills-worthy take on the Offspring's "Come Out and Play." It's the only way we're able to listen to Limp Bizkit.
--Stuff Magazine, 04/01/2001

 


"Outrageously funny fucking thing!"

--Will Lee, Bass Player Extraordinaire, Late Show With David Letterman, 11/12/2002
(
listen to his voicemail message!) [ :43 MP3 628kb ]
[ warning: parental advisory, explicit word ]

 


"He's One Smooth, Satirical Cat"
--Lina Lecaro, The Los Angeles Times, 01/14/2001 (
see review)

 


"Expletive-Pocked"

Las Vegas Review Journal, 02/01/2002

 


"Swinging, schmaltzy pizazz"
--Washington City Paper, 12/07/2001

 



"
Cassini Finds Enceladus Tiger Stripes Are Really Cubs - The Cassini spacecraft has discovered the long, cracked features dubbed "tiger stripes" on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus are very young -- between 10 and 1,000 years young."
NASA Cassini Mission Report, 08/30/2005
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/media/cassini-083005.html

 


"
One of my favorite days of every year is the day I get my first new Christmas CD release of the season.  That was yesterday this year when my good friend Richard Cheese sent me his latest album, chock-full of 14 all-new swingin' holiday hits to make your season tight!  I love Christmas music, listen to it all year long, and have one iPod full of nothing but.  This one, 'Silent Nightclub' is a keeper.  My favorites on the CD are covers of 'Personal Jesus,' 'Christmastime Is Here' and maybe Dick's best song ever, 'The Trees,' a re-invention of the classic song by Rush.  'Christmas In Las Vegas' is a terrific new original song too.  Buy my friend Dick's new album.  It's family-friendly and perfect for every holiday gathering.  Available in stores everywhere, on the website, and through iTunes too."
--Bean of the KROQ Kevin & Bean Show, 09/26/2006

 

"Hapless"
--David Bauder, Associated Press, 04/11/2001

 

"Especially whimsical"
--The LA Weekly, 02/02/2001 (
see review)

 

"This is great!"
--Bono, U2, 10/26/2000

 

"Hide your daughters"
--New Orleans Times-Picayune, 03/19/2003

 

"Tiene un mérito de cojones!"
--Joan S. Luna, Mondosonoro, Febrero 2001 (
see review)

 

"Le tout passé à la moulinette muzak et chanté avec une voix de crooner de bas étage."
--Olivier Briat, Ouirock.com, 2001 (
see review)

 

"It's the perfect blend of Cocktail Nation and Lost Generation"
--Dave Penkower, CDNOW.com, 11/06/00 (
see review)

 

"I couldn't stop laughing"
--Possessed on-line, January 2001 (
see review)

 

"Vegas-style send-ups of many alterna-hits that
are guaranteed to blow the minds of your friends"
--Matt Pinfield, farmclub.com, 11/09/00

 

"A toe-tapping, knee-slapping good time"
--Jason Schaefer-Valerius, Van Gogh's Ear, 2001 (
see review)

 

"Instead of finger-flipping music, this is finger-snapping music!"
--Orange County Weekly, 11/08/00

 

"Call it underground goes pop, call it alternative stealth lounge, call it the funniest, most outrageous CD you've heard in years."
--Cosmik.com, December 2000
(see review)

 

"Swankified!"
--Donna DeChristopher, Hits Magazine Daily Double, 10/24/00

 

"This thing goes beyond the elbow in the rib chuckle."
--Thrust Record Round-Up, February 2001 (
see review)

 

"Brilliant!"
--Dickie, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, 10/17/00

 

"Lounge singing has just gotten hipper"
--Nick, LaunchMedia.com, 10/11/00

 

"Five Stars for this Fromage Homage"
-- David Moye, Wireless Flash, 10/4/00

 

"Los Angeles-based"
--Yahoo.com, 12/2000

 

"Nine Inch Nails' 'Closer' gets 'Lounge' treatment cut by Cheese"
-- Dr. Pance, NineInchNails.net, 9/22/00

 

"No comment."
-- Richard Cheese, Lounge singer, 9/1/00


 

And read these great reviews from journalists around the world:

 

THE LA WEEKLY
Music Picks - February 2-8, 2001

Richard Cheese at House Of Blues
by LINA LECARO

Lounge music may not be the titillating trend it once was, but one enterprising performer refuses to let it die. Reared on the effortless song stylings and swagger of the Rat Pack, Richard Cheese is your classic Vegas vamp with a mike in one hand and cocktail in the other - with one catch.

Not content to simply croon classics of the Steve & Edie variety, Cheese loungifies today’s raunchiest rock hits in unexpected, often ironic ways. Limp Bizkit’s "Nookie" is a jazzy feel-good romantic ode, while Nine Inch Nails’ "Closer" is a sweet-‘n’-swingin’ mambo that’s especially whimsical in the refrain "I wanna fuck you like an animal."

Swanky versions of these and other "classic songwriting works" such as the Offspring’s "Come Out And Play," Blink 182’s "What’s My Age Again" and Papa Roach’s "Last Resort" (a staple on KROQ’s Kevin & Bean morning show) can be heard on Cheese’s recent release, "Lounge Against The Machine" (Oglio Records), but see the singer live for an experience that’ll really make ya melt. (Lina Lecaro)




THE LAS VEGAS SUN
Music - November 8-10, 2002

by
Spencer Patterson

"A sprinkle of Cheese is grate -- er, great"

For Las Vegas' younger residents and visitors, the words "lounge singer" generally evoke a quick, simple response: cheesy.

The modern lounge sensation known as Richard Cheese, leader of the group Lounge Against the Machine, doesn't see it quite that way.

"I've never really noticed the word cheese being anything other than my last name and a calcium-rich diary product," Cheese deadpanned during a recent phone interview.

Cheese has made it his mission to bring lounge music to the masses, particularly younger audiences looking for lounge sounds beyond Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.

As its name would suggest, Lounge Against the Machine performs and records modern hits, taking familiar melodies and lyrics and layering them with is own blend of ... well, Velveeta.

Just a few the 19 songs on "Tuxicity," the group's latest album: Britney Spears' "Crazy," The White Stripes' "Fell in Love with a Girl," Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back," Weezer's "Buddy Holly" and Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brian."

"We like to take the songs of the day that the kids are listening to and swankify them," Cheese said. "There are so many great songs out there and there just aren't enough lounge singers doing the current material.

"The great songs of our time didn't stop in 1951. There's a new golden age of songwriting out there. And it's nice to carry that tiki torch to the next stage and the next audience."

Cheese and his band -- which includes pianist Bobby Ricotta, bassist Gordon Brie and drummer Buddy Gouda -- perform Friday night at 10 at Venus Lounge at The Venetian.

The charismatic singer prefers to keep his true identity and the location of his residence under wraps.

"It would be like if you interviewed Superman -- you wouldn't reveal that he was really Clark Kent," he explained.

True enough, but since Cheese isn't exactly fighting crime, we'll clue you in that it's not his real name.

Cheese did admit a certain desire to spend more time in the nation's lounge capital.

"We're looking for a regular slot in Vegas. We'd like to headline the Sands, the Desert Inn or the Hacienda," Cheese said. "And I'm hoping to move into Tony Curtis' estate."

Over the past few years, Cheese and his band have developed something of a cult following, even appearing on NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly."

The act also inspired a "Lounge Against the Machine" category on VH1's "Rock & Roll Jeopardy."

"I think we were even an Audio Daily Double, but I try not to let that go to my head," Cheese said.

For information on Cheese's upcoming tour schedule, to sample his music or buy his CDs, visit richardcheese.com.

RICHARD CHEESE is joined by Maria "The Snake Babe" Gara and a Brazilian Rainbow boa as he performs with his band Lounge Against the Machine during party at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel Wednesday.


 

REVIEW FROM EDMONTON SUN
THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE MOON:  The Best of Richard Cheese (Surfdog Records)
Generally speaking, novelty records in which a lounge singer performs rock 'n' roll hits are funnier for the idea itself than for the actual listening.  OK, we get it!  But while Paul Anka failed with Rock Swings by attempting to be reverent and subtle and professional and heedless to the obvious joke of a lounge lizard crooning Smells Like Teen Spirit, a Mr. Richard Cheese operates under no such snobbish constraints.  He covers deserving songs ranging from Nirvana's Rape Me to Snoop Dogg's Gin and Juice - and it is not subtle.  It's as obvious as limburger up your nose.  Unrelenting schtick is the order of the day here and - if you find the name "Dick Cheese" at all funny - belly laughs will be the result.  3 1/2 out of 5

 


 

 

Van Gogh's Ear - CD Reviews - http://www.vangoghs-ear.com
RICHARD CHEESE Lounge Against the Machine
by Jason Schaefer-Valerius, 2001

One of the funniest recordings in recent memory is Richard Cheese and his lounge-lizard cohorts refashioning modern rock hits in swanky styles Sinatra and the rest of the "Rat Pack" would have been proud of. Nothing is sacred in this all out assault on songs ranging from Radiohead’s "Creep" to Nine Inch Nails’ "Closer," and everything in between.

Things kick off in grand style with a hilarious send-up of Limp Bizkit’s "Nookie" and "Break Stuff" (in medley style), with the f-words all the more lacerating in this musical context. Rage Against The Machine’s "Guerilla Radio" explores uncharted melodicism with a bossanova beat, and "Come Out and Play" (Offspring) is pared-down swing for martinis and cigarettes. Things take a decidedly demented turn with "Closer," combining Sesame Street piano with lyrics "I want to f**k you like an animal," and Nirvana’s "Rape Me," opening with the line, "[Here's one for] the ladies." Poor taste aside, these are minor complaints for a CD which manages to make you laugh about every two seconds. "Creep" is the best; a toe-tapping, knee-slapping good time, full of fake horn fills, while "Only Happy When it Rains" (Garbage) features a backdrop containing a truly inspiring tribute to Gene Kelly’s "Singin’ In The Rain." "Smack My Bitch Up" (Prodigy) and "The Rockafeller Skank" (Fatboy Slim) receive less thought or commitment, yet the laughs remain intact, even if for brief moments. Trust me; play this CD and you WILL be the life of the party.

http://www.vangoghs-ear.com


 

Amazon.com - Editorial Reviews - 2001
RICHARD CHEESE Lounge Against the Machine
by Fred Cisterna

On Lounge Against the Machine, alt-rock hits get the Vegas treatment way before their time. Vocalist Richard Cheese and his piano trio really know how to warp a song. Rage Against the Machine's "Guerilla Radio" sounds smooth as silk, if incredibly schmaltzy, in the hands of this wayward lounge act. The Dead Kennedys' "Holiday in Cambodia" gets completely defanged in Cheese's rendition. And it's definitely strange to hear the rage drained out of Nirvana's "Rape Me" and replaced with bland, mindless enthusiasm. The tone of these covers is so far removed from the originals that at times you forget what you're really listening to. At moments like these, Cheese and the boys sound like some anonymous combo going through the motions. But then you'll hear the singer let loose with some foul language or croon a harsh line and it sounds downright strange and funny. Lounge Against the Machine can be tiresome at times, but it certainly takes the piss out of these songs.


 

AT THE SHORE, The Press Of Atlantic City
"Lounge Against the Machine," February 2001
BY ELAINE ROSE

Not since Pat Boone's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" has good music been made to sound so bad. Richard Cheese reworked 16 modern-rock hits into lounge-act songs that sound, well, downright cheesy. This is still not your grandmother's lounge music. This album doesn't have a parental advisory sticker, but it should.
Cheese and some other wacky musicians gave a Big-Band sound to hits like Limp Bizkit's "Nookie" and Blink 182's "What's My Age Again." Check out a few bars of the Jewish folk song "Hava Nagila" inserted into a rendition of "Come Out and Play" by the Offspring. Or listen to his opening to "Wrong Way" by Sublime: "Waitress, I'll have a martini with a twist of Sublime."

You won't want to listen to this album more than twice. But it is cleverly done and good for a laugh while tossing down some brewskies with a few friends. It's also a great CD to crank up on the stereo as a hint to your guests that the party's over and it's time to go home.


 

cdnow.com - alternative/indie music review
"staff picks"

Richard Cheese "LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE"
by Dave Penkower

Staff Picks are personal recommendations from the music collections of CDNOW's knowledgeable technical, administrative, marketing, merchandising, customer service, and managerial staff.

Every once in a great while, a CD comes along which makes you want to shout, "Gimme a hunk 'o that there pepper jack and to hell with the cracker!" Richard Cheese's Lounge Against the Machine is just such a disc.

Reinterpreting a set of "alternative standards" from groups like Limp Bizkit, Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead in a variety of lounge styles, Mr. Cheese puts the angst in the Angostura®.

Before listening to the disc, I must admit that I was unfamiliar with most of the originals. Even so, the jokes work very well on their own, mainly due to Mr. Cheese's clear, yet stylized, enunciation of the profanity-laden lyrics that are more usually slurred and buried under a wall of distorted guitars. Of course, the Holiday Inn ® piano bar instrumentation and intentionally simplistic solos of the thematically surnamed band (Bobby Ricotta on piano) don't hurt either. Well, actually, they do, but in a good way.

After watching some of my more contemporary colleagues flat out lose it over songs I didn't know, I had to get on to the CDNOW site and seek out sound samples for all of the tracks with which I was unfamiliar. I must say that the stylistic contrasts are definitely pushed to the limit. Highlights include the tender treatment of Sublime's "Wrong Way," the sing-along section in Nirvana's "Rape Me," and the band introductions in Prodigy's once controversial, "Smack My Bitch Up."

So, mix yourself up a highball (or maybe a speedball) and swing angrily to Lounge Against the Machine. It's the perfect blend of Cocktail Nation and Lost Generation.

Dave Penkower is a data analysis manager for CDNOW's Planning and Analysis Department.


 

MONDO SONORO
VINILOS, Febrero 2001

RICHARD CHEESE:
LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE (Oglio) - NEO-SWING
by JOAN S. LUNA

Tras gastarnos la panoja en infinidad de discos tributo, discos de versiones y marcianadas por el estilo, hemos llegado a la conclusión de que pocos, muy pocos, son capaces de defenderse por si mismos, por lo que ofrecen al margen de la inicial curiosidad que plantean. Bien, pues lo que ha conseguido Richard Cheese tiene un mérito de cojones. Porque combinando lounge y neo-swing, nuestro hombre ha dado forma a uno de los más redondos e indispensables discos de tributo de los últimos años. Primero, porque las adaptaciones funcionan incluso dejando a un lado los originales y porque Cheese nos hace disfrutar de lo lindo con un trabajo redondo. Y en segundo lugar, porque a excepción de un par de obviedades, el estadounidense ha optado por echar mano -a lo Weird Al Jankovic o Mike Flowers- de populares temas alternativos. Así se marca versiones de auténticos hits como "Last Resort" (Papa Roach), "What's My Age Again" (Blink 182), "Creep" (Radiohead), "Closer" (Nine Inch Nails), "Nookie/Break Stuff" (Limp Bizkit) o "Bullet The Blue Sky" (U2) y así hasta dieciséis, con una maestría, gracia y unos resultados que provocan sonrisas, excitación y todos mis elogios. Para pasarlo bien de verdad (aunque tengan que tirar de internet). Joan S. Luna


 

REVIEW FROM BAD-TASTE (ITALY)

Recensioni:
Richard Cheese, ovvero della musica con l'oliva nel bicchiere Follia e swing.
Le mie rotule mi stanno guardando negli occhi.
Mi appoggio al banco, ansimando, ordino un altro martini. Sorseggio e gorgheggio. I'm singing the end of the world. Dissacrante genialità messa a servizio della musica. Il movimento decolla subito bollente e senza tregua.
Ricotta, Brie, Gouda e il re Cheese (ci si interroga però ancora su questi cognomi culinari e latticini...) ci conducono nell'arte dello swing, con dosi sprizzanti di ironia e divertimento.
Sedersi, ascoltare e ridere. O sciogliere le gambe e gustarsi la sana dissacrazione di tante hit del rock (più o meno) alternativo degli ultimi quindici anni.
Coordinate loungitudinali, of course. Di che cosa sto parlando? Bene, chiudete gli occhi pensate a un pezzo rock di quelli pesanti, cattivi, invettive sonore (qualche suggerimento? i Radiohead di Creep, i Rage against the machine con Guerrilla radio, gli storici Dead Kennedys dei tempi di Holiday in Cambodia, solo per citare alcuni nomi), ecco, adesso metteteli in uno shaker con ghiaccio, martini, un contrabbasso che odora di blues, e quanto basta di swing e otterrete proprio ciò che io sto ascoltando ora, ovvero Richard Cheese e il suo album "Lounge against the machine".
Non vi basta? Allora alzate il volume, ridete di tutto e tutti e pensate agli Offspring (quelli di Smash, più duri e puri rispetto alle canzonette che suonano ora) e metteteli in giacca luccicante a suonare in un jazz club, su ritmi con richiami latini, e le vostre ginocchia si scioglieranno e sorriderete.
Sì, non c'è che dire. Quando la gente che ci sa fare ci si mette, i risultati (al di là dei gusti personali) sono sempre decisamente interessanti. So che si parla di lounge, cocktail music, intrattenimento, va bene, ma fatto con la giusta dose di senno, citazioni (sentite il parlato di Creep) e conoscenza della musica.
Geniale, direi. E a volte s'inserisce l'impressione che alcuni pezzi siano molto più irriverenti, più punk, nel senso radicale del termine, rispetto agli originali (sto pensando al pezzo dei Blink 182 e a quello dei Limp Bizkit - eh, sì, ci sono anche loro - che ci vengono riproposti).
A proposito degli originali: conoscerli è la chiave necessaria per apprezzare appieno il lavoro di scomposizione e riarrangiamento messo in atto dal quartetto capeggiato da Richard Cheese, e cogliere il gioco che c'è tra i pezzi originali e queste versioni.
Forse nulla più di un gioco, appunto, ma proprio questo ci suggerisce uno sguardo ironico e quasi sarcastico sul mondo musicale contemporaneo.
Peccato che siano solo trentacinque minuti di musica, ma chissà che sorprese ci riserva Mr Cheese per il futuro.
Swing e follia.
Uh, yeah!
http://www.morloi.org/page.php?sezione=osservare&idart=21


 

MORE INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE:

QUESTO PEZZO DI FORMAGGIO DAL GUSTO RAFFINATO E DAL PROFUMO PENETRANTE E’ PIUTTOSTO DIFFICILE DA REPERIRE NEI NEGOZI DI DISCHI FIGURATEVI DAL VOSTRO SALUMIERE DI FIDUCIA!!!!
http://www.gfb-e.com/radio/viplounge/view_reviews.asp?ID=30

WE BEEN ON THE RADIO IN RUSSIA!
http://www.feelee.ru/radio_up.php?news_tab=previous

WE'RE OK IN THE UK!
www.celebritymate.co.uk


 

REVIEW FROM BUTLAND

Richard Cheese / Lounge Against The Machine
Sure, it's a joke, but as Les Nessman so eloquently put it, "it's darn funny, too." Mr. Cheese and his compatriots, Gordon Brie (strings and strums), Buddy Gouda (sticks and skins), and Bobby Ricotta (charts and ivories) have recast some of the hot, happening, wacky agit-rock hits that the kids are grooving to today from acts like Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit, Sublime, Nirvana, Prodigy, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Papa Roach, as finger-popping lounge jazz. It's hep enough to bring Bill Murray back to a Holiday Inn at any major airport. You've never heard "motherfucker" enunciated so clearly, and "I Want to fuck you like an animal" has never been funnier. The sheer inanity and spoiled brat petulance of many of the lyrics is exposed - The Beastie's "Fight For Your Right" (included here) sounds like Shakespeare compared to most of the sentiments. And the paucity of memorable music forces Mr. Cheese and his comrades to invent melodies to go with many of the tracks, but then a nice samba or mambo is what much of this stuff is crying out for, believe it or not. The smarmy liner notes are the perfect cherry on top of this musical cheesecake. - John F. Butland


 

REVIEW FROM CORNELL DAILY SUN

Rock music is dead, or at least it is gasping on its deathbed.  Sunny Side of the Moon collects eighteen omens of its demise.  Richard Cheese is a doomsday prophet, the lunatic from old sci-fi movies who stands on the street holding a placard that forecasts the apocalypse and gets laughed at for an hour until he turns out to be right.

Cheese's ironic lounge lizard renditions of hit rock songs do not impose an external vision on the originals; instead, they reveal a latent corruption in the songs themselves.  Even Nine Inch Nails' brilliant sadomasochist parable "Closer" and Radiohead's self-pity anthem "Creep" seem to have realized their actual potential on Sunny Side.

Rockers have long pretended that from Led Zeppelin to Dave Matthews, there is something rebellious and genuine about rock, in opposition to styles like Las Vegas lounge music.  Well watch out, sinners, judgment day is coming!  Here comes Saint Dick, bringing the gospel.  Preach, brother, preach.  --Shuja Haider
 


 

LISTENER REVIEWS FROM AMAZON.COM

 

THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE MOON CD
Smooth as Fondue, Sharp as Cheddar!
(posted February 2006)
Reviewer: Aaron, Davis, CA
If you have other Cheese discs (or "platters"), it may be confusing to see "Best of" described as "11 new songs." Cheese has swankified seven songs from earlier discs (mostly from the relatively Spartan first album), and added four completely new songs.  The big band versions jam!  The band *pops* airily and swoops with dramatic weight, like your first sip of Seven and Seven!  And Cheese shows his range; from the crowd rousing Rape Me ("Everybody, put your hands together!"), to the hauntingly :-) reductive Another Brick in the Wall, to a heartfelt plunge into cliche with Badd (his funniest yet). No one commits like Dick! Cheese triumphs with brilliant phrasing, out-of-nowhere jazzy off-notes and pauses, and "mock" sincerity you just can't help but buy into, etc.  Sid Vicious sang My Way like a panther full of napalm, and Frank liked it (true). Richard Cheese returns the favor -- with swanky pizazz! And bonus -- Sunny Side of the Moon was made for hi-fi!

 

LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CD
Very cool, quite funny, not too cheesy
(posted October 2000)
Reviewer: RJKJ, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom
This album is just amazing. The concept of the album is that singer Richard Cheese and his band take a bunch of well known alternative rock songs and cover them in the style of a lounge/ swing jazz band. It may sound very cheesy (sorry about the pun), but most of the songs are played straight and the way the songs make a perfect transition to this genre just highlights the quality of the originals. This sort of thing has been done several times before (e.g. Moog Cookbook, Pat Boone's metal covers album) but this is the most successful and entertaining. Obviously those without a sense of humour will hate this but I would recommend any open-minded rock fan to buy this because it's both funny and professionally done.

 

LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CD
Very Funny
(posted October 2000)
Reviewer: LK, Downey, CA
I first heard of "Richard Cheese" on the Mr. KABC show. Cheese expressed his motivation to produce this album was to take advantage of this golden era of lyric writing that we are now living. Meaning that he wanted to bring the lyrics of popular rock alternative songs that would not be listened to by the average adult, and re-arrange them in a way that would be easier to listen to. Though lounge music has seen it's heyday, most adults wouldn't be opposed to sitting back his Cheese's album and a "vodka martini with a twist of Sublime" In my humble opinion, Cheese met his goal and seemed to have fun doing it. Excellent concept. Well done, Cheese!!!

 

LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CD
The greatest cheese for the buck
(posted October 2000)
Reviewer: RL, Westville, NJ USA
While this disc is in no ways imaginative or musically innovative, it is easily worth the cash as a memento of the years when an unhappy clash of cultures came to a head. Richard Cheese's mix of today's unimaginative alterna-pop and equally unimaginative retro-lounge act is a beautiful ridicule of both form and content. In many ways, "Lounge Against the Machine" is more effective than recent pop-spoof acts (ala Weird Al) as it captures the ludicrous nature of the song by keeping the original lyrics and simply changing the context. This is ever-so-poignant in his rendition of Sublime's "The Wrong Way" and his often tasteless cover of Nirvana's "Rape Me." At the same time, the contrast of Cheese's happy-go-lucky lounge act with lyrics of rape, prostitution, violence and murder strikes at the tradition of a lounge culture used to pushing kitsch to an extreme. "Lounge Against the Machine" is, at its essence, a stark portrayal of a society stuck between a horribly self-righteous discontent and a painfully self-conscious escapism.

 


 

LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CD
A "Letter" from "Bill Murray"
    Dear Music Fan:

Please do not support this "Lounge Against The Machine" album.
Richard Cheese (not his real name) has totally ripped off my classic
nightclub singer bit from Saturday Night Live, and I am thoroughly
outraged by this blatant infringement of my Emmy-award-winning
intellectual property. In fact, I'm gonna sue that weasel.

I wholly condemn and denounce this project; I don't even want my
name associated with it. And by the way, I didn't even write this
letter, it's just a completely fakey scam.

Sincerely,

(signed)

P.S. That's not my signature, either!
Damn you, Cheese!

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


RICHARD CHEESE
RICHARD CHEESE®
Richard Cheese is a registered trademark.
(C) Copyright 2000-2011 Richard Cheese / Coverage Records / World Information Supply.
All rights reserved.  Unauthorized use, duplication, performance, or other copyright/trademark infringement is
a violation of applicable laws, and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Complete site terms on "CREDITS" page.
www.richardcheese.com
 

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