It's unfortunate that the cultural value of Limp Bizkit's "Nookie," 2 Live Crew's "Me So Horny," and Beyoncé's "Naughty Girl" seems lost to the generation graced with such rich music, but if there's one man who can point out the timelessness of these tunes it's Richard Cheese. After hearing songs like the Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" and Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice," 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 year 2006 was fan's dream, with both the compilation The Sunny Side of the Moon: The Best of Richard Cheese and the holiday album Silent Nightclub -- "a collection of happenin' holiday hits" -- landing in stores. ~ David Jeffries