The Deep

The dark side of Reel Big Fish

This time, you let out the big, uncomfortable laugh—partly because Barrett is recounting the lyrics like an exaggerated Sunday-morning preacher and partly because they're just so, well, sad.

"I don't think we're really anything right now," he says. "People think we're big and famous and huge and popular, and a lot of people know who we are. But when I first started and I was dreaming of fame and fortune and rock stardom and stuff, well . . ."

(Big pause)

" . . . this isn't . . ."

(Big pause)

" . . . it." And then a big laugh.

"Do you think you'll ever feel like you're famous?" you ask.

"Yeah, if we had a big hit that was on the radio all the time and on the charts and in the Top 10. If I were walking down the street and people recognized me. That's famous. That's fun." He pauses. "I'd probably hate that, too."

"But do you want that?" you ask.

"As far as I know, that's what I want," he says.

"Are you more insecure now?" you ask.

"Probably, I'd say so," he says. "It's hard to explain. I think what's depressing is when people tell you you're great and you don't think you're that cool." He laughs and exhales.

"See the way I talk? That's the way I write. It doesn't make any sense. Sometimes I feel old, but I also feel like a little kid who can't do anything for himself," he says. "I'm shy and stupid and stuff, and, like, I can't, you know . . . if I didn't have a band and a manager to take care of me . . ."

He lets his voice trail off and picks at something on the edge of his manager's desk.

"I think Aaron's the type of guy who wants to have a good time, who wants to be happy, who wants everyone to be happy and enjoy things," says the band's manager, Vince Pileggi. "But then he's got a really dark side—and I mean a really dark side—that I don't think people realize."

Reel Big Fish and a whole messa bands play the Sixth Annual Fullerton Earth Day Festival at the Hub Cafe, 124 E. Commonwealth Ave. (in Amtrak Station parking lot, does not face street), Fullerton, (714) 871-7469. Sat., 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Free. All ages.
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