Fans of terrifying robot bird women and leering, singing pizza rodents were struck a major blow yesterday, when Chuck E. Cheese announced that its would soon begin phasing out the animatronic house bands that have long been a staple of its restaurant experience. But while a number of folks waxed poetic about the bizarre, soon-to-be-extinct spectacle of celebrating a birthday in the company of jerky, cheerfully singing animatronics, one man—indie rocker Josh “Father John Misty” Tillman—went further, offering up a heartfelt eulogy for “Charles Entertainment Cheese.”
Tillman posted his thoughts and feelings via Facebook, reflecting on the career of a performer he apparently drew a great deal of inspiration from. “When I consider that this motherfucker was playing up to 5 sets a night all over the country simultaneously,” he wrote, “I am reminded that, yes, it can be done, and that just by getting on that stage every night and leaving everything up there, I am part of lineage, of a collective imagination that spans the generations.” Tillman’s praise extends not only to Cheese’s dedication, though, but also to his consummate skill as a musician:
Chuck was an interpreter. He didn’t write much, outside of his seminal “Happy Birthday” but neither did Frank fucking Sinatra. Like Sinatra, Chuck wasn’t “the best”. But he had a style, and style cannot be taught; something we tend to forget in this era of manufactured pop stars.