Captured! By Robots is one of the stranger bands in history. It is a one-man band, which is fairly rare these days. Jay Vance plays and sings, in shackles, a sort of pop sideshow metal. But what truly makes the band unusual is that he has robots accompany him on drums and guitar.
According to band lore, Jay Vance got tired of working with unreliable band members, so he built his own. The two main robots, GTRBOT666 (shown at right) and DRMBOT0110, provide the rhythm section for the band. This was working well until the robots decided to take over, and implanted a “biocerebral chip” in Jay Vance’s brain, rechristening him “JBOT”.
Vance decided to build robots after tiring of band problems, and after observing how switches and electronics are frequently used in music. Vance decide to invent robotic players. He had no formal training in robotics or engineering, so he taught himself what he needed to know.
According to Vance “I’d never built a robot before, and the first attempts were ridiculous,” he says. He had to trigger their himself, turning into a contortionist in the process.
To avoid this, he decided to computerize the process. He wired the robots to computers. The tracks stored on computer trigger the actions of the robots, letting them play without Vance’s direct intervention. He calls the control system the Motherfucker Board (MFB), because it’s not very reliable and causes a huge amount of frustration when it’s flaky.
According to band legend, Vance is now under control of the robots, because the implanted a chip in his brain. To keep him under control, they administer shocks on a regular basis. Even if he’s not literaly under control by the robots, he does seem to be captured by their influence. Vance says “I find myself thinking about robots all the time. All my money goes towards them. I talk about them all the time. Anybody who disputes [the capture] should just look at the facts: Everything comes after the band — and that’s what’s made me break up with girlfriends, lose friends, and lose jobs, but if you have something that you want to pursue, you can’t let anything get in the way.”
C!BR’s show is a mixture of dark comedy and pop-metal tunes. Sample MP3’s and videos can be downloaded from Vance’s site.