When Chocolate U.S.A. was formed in 1989, under the original name Miss America, lead vocalist and songwriter Julian Koster was a seventeen year old Junior in high school, violinist Liza Wakeman was a fifteen year old Freshman, and drummer Keith Block still had a full afro. Then based in the Tampa/St. Pete area (the lightning capitol of the United States) the kids got to perform to the coolest, most devoted audience an indie rock band could wish for. An equal number of folks hated their guts.
The intimacy of this band/audience relationship had a lot to do with the course Miss America would take over the next three years. The "Chocolaty Good Smash Hit of the Month Club", a monthly tape club in which members get a new lo-fi tape of Chocolate songs, stories, and all sorts of other stuff - available nowhere else - mailed to their doorstep, was formed. "Spacely Been Hurt", the band's own weekly radio, comic book serial, featuring guest appearances by friends of Chocolate, such as Daniel Johnston and Eugene Chadbourne, became a regular feature on WMNF (88.5 FM). They also founded and organized "the Totally Bitchin', Way Cool, Ultra-Hip, Alternative Fest", Florida's only annual indie rock festival, now entering its fourth year. A small, quickly sold out run of their debut cassette "All Jets Are Gonna Fall Today" was self-released.
It also seemed that everyone with a word processor and a press pass had some strong opinions, positive or negative, on the band which led to a fairly constant local media debate in their honor. This, while being a generally cool thing, unfortunately alerted the Miss America Pageant Inc. in New Jersey to the bands existence. A cease and desist order was issued and legal beheading was quickly threatened. At the "We're Getting Sued By the Sexist, Fascist, Corporate Pigs" party in Ybor City, the inevitable was announced: Miss America was to officially become Chocolate U.S.A.
In late 1992, Chocolate U.S.A. and Bar/None Records decided to start making music together beginning with the re-release of their "All Jets Are Gonna Fall Today" debut and a single of "l00 Feet Tall" coupled with "Skateboard Heaven." A beautiful love/hate relationship was born...
Given these developments, Chocolate U.S.A. decided that it was time to leave the comforts of home for a new life of punk rock homelessness, punctuated by as much touring as possible, and making new friends all over the country. Their current campsite is a big delapidated house in Athens, GA. Chocolate U.S.A. is moving to your neighborhood soon.
For more info on what Julian and Chocolate U.S.A. are up to these days, please visit these other sites: Flydaddy (Olivia Tremor Control), (Neutral Milk Hotel) and Spin Art (Apples In Stereo). Liza Wakeman's new band is called Alva keep an eye out for their upcoming cd, out in May on Avant called "Fair Haired Guillotine" .