Mark Jonathan Davis (born November 27, 1965), better known by his stage name Richard Cheese, is an American musician and comedian. He was born in New York. He fronts Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine, a Los Angeles-based cover band and comed...
Mark Jonathan Davis (born November 27, 1965), better known by his stage name Richard Cheese, is an American musician and comedian. He was born in New York. He fronts Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine, a Los Angeles-based cover band and comedy act, performing popular songs in a lounge/swing style reminiscent of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett.
Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine specialize in playing lounge-style arrangements of recent popular rock, metal and hip hop songs, sung in a croony traditional swing vocal style, contrasting an elegant jazz treatment of the music with often profane and ribald lyrics to create a humorous dissonance.
Since 2000, the band has released ten albums, and played in concerts around the United States, two concerts in Europe, and has made numerous television appearances, including performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel, Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN, NBC's Las Vegas series, NBC's Passions soap opera, and as the house band on NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly and MTV's Say What? Karaoke series. Richard Cheese has also been featured on radio morning shows and syndicated radio programs such as Opie and Anthony, KROQ-FM's Kevin and Bean, The Howard Stern Show, The Bob and Sheri Show, The Adam Carolla Show, and Gonzo in the Morning. The band also performed at events for singer Brian Setzer, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, 300 and Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder, and the Creative Arts Daytime Emmy Awards. The band gained exposure after their cover of Disturbed's "Down with the Sickness" was featured in the 2004 remake (directed by Snyder), Dawn of the Dead.
The band's first CD (Lounge Against the Machine) was released in 2000 by Oglio Records. Cheese's next two albums (Tuxicity and I'd Like a Virgin) were independently released in 2002 and 2004 by Cheese's own label, Coverage Records. From 2004-2006, Surfdog Records released three new Richard Cheese CDs (Aperitif for Destruction, The Sunny Side of the Moon: The Best of Richard Cheese, and Silent Nightclub), and re-released Tuxicity and I'd Like a Virgin. In 2007, Cheese returned to releasing his own albums through Coverage Records: Dick at Nite in 2007, Viva la Vodka: Richard Cheese Live in 2009, OK Bartender in 2010, and Johnny Aloha: Lavapalooza in 2010.
Cheese produced an album by "Johnny Aloha" called Lavapalooza, with a band of Hawaiian musicians performing tiki-style versions of rock and rap songs.
In September 2014, Cheese announced a hiatus from live performances on his website's frequently asked questions page, citing medical concerns.
The present line-up of the band consists of:
Richard Cheese: vocals,
Bobby Ricotta: piano and keyboards,
Laighton Millea: drums and percussion,
Billy Bleu: bass,
Becky Running Bear: bongos,
Plus a rotating roster of other bass players, including Gordon Brie, Skip Neufchatal, Nacho, and Wayne String.
The names are all pseudonyms that refer to types of cheese (Ricotta, Feta, Bleu) and new band members either adopt the pseudonym of the player they replace, or new names are developed. The name Richard Cheese itself is a pun on "dick cheese", a slang term for smegma; "Lounge Against the Machine" is a wordplay on Rage Against the Machine.
The role of pianist and musical director Bobby Ricotta is currently played by Noel Melanio, but was previously portrayed by David Adler. When the drummer Buddy Gouda (Charles Byler) left the band in 2004, he was replaced by Brian Fishler and the stage name was changed to Frank Feta. The role of bass player Gordon Brie was portrayed by Louis Allen and was previously portrayed by Christopher Monaco. The band now has a new bass player, Billy Bleu, portrayed by Ron Belcher. The band has also worked with numerous session musicians and performers, including horn players Eric Jorgensen, Terry Landry, and Lee Thornburg, theremin player Pamelia Kurstin, vocalist Joshua Path, and singer "Weird Al" Yankovic. The only constant band member is Cheese himself.