That Time the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Toured As a Rock Band
Did you know that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles once toured as a rock band back in 1990? The tour, rife with head-scratching moments, took the sewer-dwelling reptilian heroes from "cowabunga" to cowa-bungled.
It was an exciting new decade — artists were crossing over and hip-hop had started to take on an extreme edge never heard before in music. Naturally, it got entangled with rock 'n' roll, and the Turtles cashed in on the new craze, shilling for Pizza Hut, who sponsored the tour and, now that we're writing about it almost 30 years later, are still getting their money's worth out of it all.
The very first live performance was televised on Pay-Per-View (and can be seen at the bottom of the page). Astonishingly, people still bought tickets to the other gigs despite the wholesale buffoonery that was on display for a national audience, proving that kids don't really have a filter when it comes to this kind of stuff.
The whole thing comes off as a G-rated GWAR show — instead of mangled genitals, decapitated celebrities and the ever-flowing blood shower, we've got clap-along rap-rock jams, totally bodacious drum synths and... a keytar.
While GWAR's intent is to slaughter anything with a pulse, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles work to stop wanton destruction as foe Shredder (unfortunately, none of the guitarists can be described as "shredder") and evil scientist Baxter Stockman aim to wipe out all of the music in the whole wide world. (This is the part where you tent your hands and go, "MWOOHAHAHA!")
Not that it matters one bit, but here's the breakdown of the group: Donatello (keyboards), Leonardo (bass), Michaelangelo (lead vocals, guitar), Raphael (drums, percussion, tenor saxaphone, vocals). Work it, Raphael.
Even more ludicrous than the 90-minute concert, is the "making-of" mockumentary, which gives chase to This Is Spinal Tap for blurring the lines between reality and satire.
Bob Bejan, producer and goober extraordinaire behind the tour, commented, "Watching them come out of their shells literally now as they go out on the road, it's great. It's incredibly fun for myself and my partner Gottfried just to be around it and watch it because these guys are truly a band in the best sense of the word because they're brothers and have been together forever and the music really reflects that. Now that they're taking it out, it's tremendous."
"Bob was telling me all about this incredible group that was playing underground in the sewers of New York and it was the most exciting thing he said he's ever seen," Steven E. Leber, another producer/goober, said, picking up where Bejan left off.
"Of course, we manage some of the biggest rock 'n' roll bands in the world — Aerosmith, AC/DC, Ted Nugent, the Scorpions — and we knew that something new and exciting had to happen in the '90s," Leber went on. "Bob told me about this group, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I couldn't believe that they were gonna sing. Bob brought me down and what I saw was incredible. It was the most unbelievable, best new rock 'n' roll band I had ever seen. I just had to sign them."
So, carve out a good two hours of your life you don't mind never getting back and watch it all below. You might want to order some Pizza Hut — or not. Chain pizza kinda sucks.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, "Coming Out of Their Shells" Tour - Full Concert
The Making of the "Coming Out of Their Shells" Tour
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