Music » Music Stories & Interviews

Local post-punk band Alias Punch deifies Shaquille O’Neal

RadioShaq is an annual themed party that, this year, culminates in a Shaq-rifice




9 p.m. Saturday | Will’s Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave. | | $5

Shaquille O’Neal, Orlando’s original Superman, has such a dominating personality that he expands his reach beyond basketball as a ubiquitous celebrity, mainly because of his goofy disposition (and his comically huge physique), but one local band has managed to inflate the big man’s cultural impact to even grander, god-like stature. Four years ago, post-punk band Alias Punch chose Shaq as the figurehead for an annual show series called RadioShaq. Now in its fourth installation, the party’s theme this year is “Shaqreligious,” featuring a lineup of Franchise, Jarl Q and Alias Punch, putting on their biggest effort yet: Creating a Church of Shaq and fleshing out a religion that makes the former NBA center the focal point of an entire worldview.

“We’re not directly satiring any religion,” says bassist, vocalist and “high priest” Dusty Mondy. “We’re kind of pulling different concepts from different religions and creating this happy-sounding religion.”

That includes a 13-minute documentary that explains the tenets of the religion and seeks to spread the peace and love of Shaq to all. At the show, a 12-piece mural set in stained-glass style will depict the defining moments in the religion, and onstage there will be a pulpit where the show will culminate in a “Shaq-rifice.” Next door at Lil’ Indies, you can escape to a secluded prayer area, including holy water blessings in the form of Shaq’s recently released branded sodas. If it sounds absurd, then we’re all on the same page, but the devotion and detailing of each RadioShaq proves that Alias Punch isn’t just looking to play a show – they’re seeking to sanctify our local music scene as more imaginative and memorable.

“We wanted to create a big event that we put on because we were tired of just jumping on shows, because we’ve been a band for six years and wanted more control,” Mondy says.

Together with bandmates Jasper Bleu and Eddie Graves, Mondy preserves the ritual of RadioShaq, following a recent lineup change. It’s an admirable mission to push the boundaries of what a show can be, and Mondy says they’ve decided to seek sponsorship and additional resources to take the event beyond the extremes they reached for this year’s RadioShaq 4 at the fifth anniversary next year. That’s saying a lot, considering that, to prepare for this year’s holy event, the guys trespassed on the Holy Land Experience’s grounds and were shooed away by armed security, and went door-to-door to convert followers in robes, prepared with pamphlets and mock fervor.

“I was hoping that people would be angry and pissed off about it, but 90 percent of the people who opened the door were really receptive and just laughed and thought it was hilarious,” Mondy says. “I wanted to be a martyr.”

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