Ritual Space Travel Agency is:
SAIC Chico, bass and vocals
SA El Jefe, guitar and vocals
SA Klaus Umlaut, drums and percussion
SA Pokevon, percussion
SA R88ND88S, keyboards
The original (and most likely real) story of this band is that they sprung fully
formed from the head of baseball great Mickey Mantle, but as impressive as that
sounds, there really isn’t too much more to that story. As such, we’ve made up
something more believable, and considerably longer:
Benjamin Morelli-Ramirez de la Moose (guitars, vocals) and his younger brother SAIC Chico (bass, vocals) grew
up in a snotty, rich suburb of Pittsburgh where money grows on trees behind electrified fences. Neither rich nor
particularly well suited to snot, the brothers spent the better part of their childhood playing one musical instrument
or another and forming a series of bands so cool that no one ever heard of them.
Andrew Fitz (guitars, vocals) comes from the same sucky suburb, the youngest of 32 children. He didn’t like it
either. His folks bought him a sax which he would trade for an electric guitar in order to put an end to getting his
ass kicked for being a band geek, as well as to try to finally get laid. He would wind up getting his ass kicked for
having long hair and playing simple rock music for all the wrong reasons.
After high school, Ben became a combination meteorologist/prostitute/composer, dropped out of college and
moved to New Orleans, a suburb of Phoenix in Southern California which shares a border with Amsterdam.
Chico and Andrew went to college like good little boys. Chico bounced around the planet a couple of times, and
eventually came back to Pittsburgh to play with the late, lamented Smoking Pets. Andrew moved to Florida,
learned more ways to bastardize ugly minor scales and power chords, and then moved back to Pittsburgh where
he continued to regret anything he did.
Years later, Ben also moved back to Pittsburgh, and began performing again with Chico. When the other band
members they were working with tragically imploded, Ben and Chico hooked up with Andrew, who introduced
them to scene veteran Troy Cramer (drums, knuckles) - formerly of Seventh House, Bucky and the Surf Weevils,
about a billion other bands, and currently also backing up Chismo Charles with the Jeff Bell Blues Band. Ben and
Chico clubbed a baby seal into the shape of a human, which developed an exceptional talent for clarinet and
saxophone, graduated from Juilliard, performs with the seminal avant-punk band called The Pittsburgh
Symphony, and goes by the name Pat Leyden (aforementioned woodwinds, omelettes), after the guy who has
exactly the same history except for the baby seal part. Finally, an old friend of Ben, Chico, and Andrew from
school told the boys he had a trumpet-playing mushroom gestating in his sister-in-law’s basement who was also
learning the trombone. We call him Robert “Bud” Smokovich. Ben is currently on leave from his senses as well as
from the band. He's gonna see how the water smells in Morocco. Jamie Owen Ball, who was a member of the
imploded RSTA, is now back in the fold, and kicking that patented Dog Surgery Alto Sax sound he is so famous
The music of this band is influenced by such disparate artists as Sly and the Family Stone, Tom Waits, Los
Lobos, Sun Ra, Frank Zappa, Igor Stravinsky and Tiny Tim. I’m lying about Tiny Tim, but mentioning Igor
Stravinsky seemed too pretentious. Ritual Space Travel Agency is tirelessly dedicated to the quest to make
people dance to strange music.
Fun (largely false) facts about Ritual Space Travel Agency:
- Free admission to any gig if you show a corpse at the door.
- We used to be Poison.
- We’re media darlings.
- Andrew’s nostrils have teeth.
- Troy eats nothing but cheese.
- Chico is a master of ‘Kung Fu Affection.’