Chuck E. Cheese’s fall from grace

There comes a time in the careers of all great artists when they have to look at themselves in the mirror and admit that they just can’t produce the goods the way that they used to. Dave Lee Roth doesn’t like the fact that he can’t do the splits-jump like he did in the ’80s, but he’s slowly arriving at the painful realization that he’s better off crooning while his feet are planted firmly on the floor.

Similarly, Chuck E. Cheese is in the midst of his “Elvis-Vegas stage” right now, and he’s not carrying it well. Those of you of a certain vintage might remember Munch’s Make Believe Band, the oddball group consisting of a drumming chef, a singing chicken, a guitar-playing dog and a weird purple thing that backed up Chuck E. as he entertained masses of children. It was weird and freaky but really kinda cool.

Chuck E. Cheese ruled the children’s pizza-rock scene. Sure, Disney World had the Country Bears band, but that was a vacation thing. Children knew that Chuck E. was just a drive away, and he was going to give his all in the name of entertainment. At some point, his ego got in the way.

Nowadays, Chuck E. Cheese has a Warhol-esque portrait of himself on the wall (pictured). Seriously, Cheese? Instead of the band, the mouse stands in front of a wall of TV screens and attempts to interact with pre-recorded puppets. Not cool.

He jumps out occasionally to do a dance, but you just know that his heart’s not in it. It’s a tragic vision of a once-great. As for the band, where are they now? There have been reports that the singing chicken has been spotted drunkenly performing “We Built This City” in a Garden City Karaoke bar, although we can’t confirm. The dog is playing blues every Tuesday at Callahan’s in Auburn Hills, and the Chef plays drums in a Seger tribute band. The weird purple thing is cage fighting Grimace after ICP shows.

It’s a fall from grace, but a comeback is not impossible. C’mon, Chuck E. – get the band back together.

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