Late-night diners enjoy a meal in the dimly lit environs of Mangia Italiano in St. Louis. Modest stage lights illuminate four 5-foot-tall hotdog cut-outs.
Lanky Fairview Heights resident Corey Goodman emerges from the men's restroom wearing a back headband and a chest hair-exposing black vest. The other half of "Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, " Christopher Eilers, is cracking a few jokes to warm up the audience.
Goodman cues up their first song on an iPod next to the mixing board and starts to limber as the music starts. He turns to shake hands with Eilers before bounding into the audience as he sings "Totally Awesome":
"I am awesome! You, you are awesome too! Together we're totally awesome woo!"
Goodman is in constant motion throughout their set. He jumps on tables, runs around the dining area and interacts with the audience. In contrast, Eilers stays on the stage as his driving guitar riffs accentuate the rhythm of the music.
"Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship got started because I wanted to play shows and didn't have a band. I was just sitting around so I decided to do it myself," said Goodman, who works as a maintenance supervisor at Target. "I made some backing tracks and played a show with a CD player and it actually worked-and it was fun. "
Goodman's off stage antics and '80s-inspired outfits have become a hallmark of their live performances. He smells audience members' hair, samples their food and invades their personal space.
"The main thing I wanted with this band originally was to be something different, I would go to shows back in the day, the bands would be good but everyone would be standing around. They would be good but I was like 'this is so boring,'" Goodman said.
After watching a show, you may think that the live performances reflects Goodman's flamboyant extroverted personality, but you would be wrong.
"I'm actually horribly shy and awkward and nervous. I've got a lot better because of this band, but when I started out, I was completely terrified," Goodman said. "It seems like playing shows and running around and acting goofy and playing these songs -- I can do that. I'm still nervous but I can do it. Get me in front of a room full of people and I cant talk or give a speech.
"It's a different persona. I feel like when I'm on stage, I can do whatever and get away with anything more so than in real life. If I acted like that in person, people would be like 'what's wrong with this guy?'"
Goodman, 27, describes their sound as "electro-comedy-rock." He started the group with a friend while he was attending High School in St. Elmo. Soon, it became a one-man show. He performed solo until two years ago when he asked his friend, Christopher Eilers, 25, of St. Louis, to join him. Eilers, who works at Firemen's Fund in St. Louis, plays guitar in several local bands, including the Vanilla Beans.
"He actually asked me to join the band, which I was very surprised by at the time," Eilers said. "I had talked to him about working on other musical things together and he was always very reluctant to work with other people. Not because he was conceited in any way but mostly because he felt he was not musically qualified to work with anyone."
The addition of Eilers' guitar has given them a more organic sound.
"The guitar is changing it a lot. The new stuff we don't have to rely on synth stuff," Goodman said.
While they have built up a strong regional following, some people consider them a novelty act or a joke band.
"It's really hard to be taken seriously with this band. We've been around a while and people have an opinion about us that we're real goofy or that we're just a throwaway band. It kind of sucks," Goodman said. "I do want to be taken seriously and so it's hard sometimes playing shows with other bands and people are like 'there is that joke band.' We're a band and we're trying -- we're doing this. We're rocking out and having fun."
Eilers and Goodman have been collaborating on new songs and they are working on a comic book based on their onstage personas. They also have produced their own music videos, including an epic showdown between Marvel and DC comic book characters for their song "I like Marvel, You like DC."
"I am super happy with the direction we're going in musically," Goodman said. "The newer songs we have been working on sound different from the old stuff but it still sounds the same. I'm more excited now than I've ever been about this band."
Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship will perform Friday night at Stagger Inn in Edwardsville, with Earthsol and The BOB Band. For more information about upcoming shows, visit their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/public/Superfun-Yeah-Yeah-Rocketship.