Times are hard at Reality Inc.: the producers of CBS' Rock Starapparently couldn't find a real band willing to replace their dead singer with a hopeful high school dropout, so they hired a brand-new fake band instead. From this fall season forward, Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted, Gilby Clarke and Dave Navarro—and a winner to be decided later—will be known as Supernova. Even though there already is an OC band called Supernova, and even though CBS apparently knows it.
"They had a song in the movie Clerks—I think in '93 or '94—but the people behind the Rock Star program worked it out to trademark the name and do all the proper things you're supposed to do with a band," Newsted reportedly said on Indie 103's Camp Freddie show. "That's all been worked out, and we are the one and only Supernova."
But that's news to the non-rock-star Supernova's Art, Jo and Dave, who say they've never been contacted by anyone from Rock Star, and who are gearing up for a battle with CBS' corporate death star.
Their Supernova—the true Supernova—hasn't been on the radar for a while. Drummer Dave says their last live shows were on a long-ago Warped Tour, and their last album was 2002's Pop As a Weapon, a best of/rest of compilation highlighted by the Clerks soundtrack song "Chewbacca" ("What a wookiee!"). In their day, however, they were a Costa Mesa mainstay and a notable national act in the same orbit as similarly sci-fi bands like Man . . . Or Astroman? or Servotron (who even absorbed a Supernova member into their lineup).
If you missed it, they were nerds who wore shiny space suits, loved a good 4/4 beat and offered discount admission in exchange for tinfoil—a valuable substance on their "home planet." Ever since—and contrary to reports of family life and law school—they've just been "touring other planets." But in mid-March, a subspace transmission from a fan to Dave alerted them to the other Supernova.
"We've toured and played and been doing stuff for so many years, and so many people were kind of into our retardedness—it's frustrating," says Dave. "We don't want people to be like, 'We came here to see tinfoil spacemen and there's a bunch of Hessians onstage.'"
"Maybe they think we're not big enough and that we aren't a band," says bassist Art. "But yes, we are a band, and we have fans, and you can't have our name."
So they're buffing the rust off the live set, launching a West Coast mini-tour from Detroit Bar to San Francisco and back, and even working on a few new songs—one of which, "Poodle," is available as a practice preview at the new Supernova MySpace page (www.myspace.com/supernova_army). They're even talking about a new release. Dave likes the idea of a one-sided pink vinyl single, something that's more a toy than an actual recording—which is the Supernova ethic in a sentence.
"They've basically given us the corporate bird," says Jo. "Actually, they should call themselves the Corporate Birds."
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"Or they should hire us," says Art. "We'd be way cheaper."
But that's not the way show biz goes here on Earth. Instead, the two Supernovas are locked in what Art calls legal neener-neenering. They hope this mini-tour—and any further national dates to satisfy die-hard fan enclaves in Green Bay and Atlanta and New York City—will remind the people of this planet that there really is only one Supernova: the one without Jason Newsted. If that doesn't work, they've already got a backup plan.
"We're thinking if we end up losing our name, we'll probably change it to Led Zeppelin," says Jo. "They haven't used it in a while, right?"
SUPERNOVA PERFORM WITH FILMSTAR AT DETROIT BAR, 843 W. 19TH ST., COSTA MESA, (949) 642-0600. SAT., 9 P.M. $8 OR $7 WITH TINFOIL. 21+.