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Richard Cheese

The nom de plume of Los Angeles-based actor, comedian, and singer Mark Jonathan Davis, Richard Cheese is both a covers artist and a comedy act. Emerging at the turn of the 20th century, Cheese quickly found favor with audiences via his swanky, lounge/swing renditions of contemporary rock, rap, and Top 40 hits. Since releasing his debut, 2000's Lounge Against the Machine, Cheese and his band have delighted audiences the world over and have issued a seemingly endless stream of finger-snapping albums that skillfully (and winkingly) merge the past and present. After hearing songs like the Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" and Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice," comedian and lounge singer Richard Cheese realized he was living in what he likes to call "a Golden Age of songwriting." It seemed like only he was aware that Slipknot and the Beastie Boys were writing the future standards that were destined to become fixtures of American music, and seeing how cats like Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin were gone, it was up to him to point it out. He donned his tiger-striped tuxedo, rounded up some Vegas-minded musicians for his swanky swing band, and made his debut in 2000 with Lounge Against the Machine, released by the Oglio label. Cheese's uncensored and "swankified" covers of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" and Nirvana's "Rape Me" quickly found favor with morning shock jocks on the radio and novelty music fans in the record stores. The CNN cable network and The Los Angeles Times profiled him and he soon landed a gig as co-host and bandleader on MTV's Say What Karaoke series. His second album, Tuxicity, appeared in 2002 and featured swinging covers of Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" and Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back," a favorite among Cheese's fans, who are known as "Dick-Heads." He had made appearances on the Opie & Anthony and Howard Stern radio shows and led the house band for NBC television's Last Call with Carson Daly before he released I'd Like a Virgin (2004), which featured covers of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" and Michael Jackson's "Beat It," the latter accompanied by a children's choir. Aperitif for Destruction from 2005 featured the Beastie Boys' "Brass Monkey" and Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle." The following year heralded the arrivals of the compilation The Sunny Side of the Moon: The Best of Richard Cheese and the yuletide album Silent Nightclub -- "a collection of happenin' holiday hits". 2007 saw Cheese deliver a set of classic television theme songs on the aptly named Dick at Nite, which he followed with a concert LP, Viva La Vodka: Richard Cheese Live and a new studio effort, OK Bartender, the latter of which featured Cheese-centric renditions of songs originally performed by the likes of Lady Gaga, Weezer, and Miley Cyrus. The cheeky Live at the Royal Wedding arrived in 2011, as did the new studio outing A Lounge Supreme, his 11th full-length effort. Back in Black Tie, a tribute to the "the deadest rappers and rock stars in music history", arrived in 2012, as did a pair of compilations. The Royal Baby Album, a studio version of the tracks performed on Live at the Royal Wedding, saw release in 2013, with his second seasonal collection, Cocktails with Santa, arriving later that winter. 2015 proved to be another busy year for the prolific artist, yielding the live LP Bakin' at the Boulder, and the studio albums Supermassive Black Tux and the Star Wars-themed The Lounge Awakens: Richard Cheese Live at the Mos Eisley Spaceport Cantina. In 2016 Cheese landed a pair of songs in the Zack Snyder-directed blockbuster Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and in 2017 Cheese and his band made an animated appearance in the Lego Batman Movie. Later that year marked the arrival of a new studio LP, Licensed to Spill, and in 2019 he released Richard Cheese's Big Swingin' Organ, a collection of instrumental organ versions of some of his best-loved material. In 2020 Cheese issued Numbers of the Beast, with plans to release an autobiography, Atlas Lounged: The Music, Movies, and Madness Behind Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine, along with a pair of new studio efforts, in 2021.
© David Jeffries & James Christopher Monger /TiVo


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