LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville band "Belushi Speed Ball" knows how to make an entrance.
At No Comply, the locals-only music festival held at Louisville’s skate park, lead vocalist Vinny Crastellano ran ahead of a giant beach ball recreating the famous scene from Temple of Doom.
Their musical catalogue is full of other references to Spongebob, Dragonball and Captain Planet. It’s been 10 years since they started making music, and nine since they started playing live shows.
So far, they’re up to 99 shows in Louisville.
On May 20 at the end of prom season, Belushi Speed Ball is celebrating with their 100th show.
“We’re all gonna dress up in fancy tuxedos and dresses and we’re just gonna throw trash everywhere,” Michael Moreno, one of the band’s vocalists, said.
The all-ages show is sold out, but the band regularly provides a space for younger people to come out and be themselves. However, they’re not the only ones invited.
“It’s amazing. We love playing shows and honestly, having all the kids there, it’s really fun. It’s cool. It’s a big party. Everyone’s invited. All ages. Not just kids. Old people too,” Crastellano said.
The band’s theatrics are as important as their engagement with the audience, something inspired by the classroom experience.
“If you’re a teacher, you want all of the students actually doing the doing, and engaged and immersed. So we think of it the same way. We’re not gonna stand up on stage and lecture you with our music,” said Señor Diablo, one of the many members responsible for the band’s theatrics.
Both Diablo and Crastellano are high school teachers within Jefferson County Public Schools.
The satirical thrash band has plenty of lore, from being born in a basement to getting paid in Spinelli’s pizza for gigs. Part of that legend intersects with the actor Jim Belushi and his supposed love for the Sega classic Sonic Spinball. It’s a game Diablo and Crastellano agree is the best for the Sega system.
“We’re named after Jim, and he likes Sonic,” Crastellano said.
But Spinball and Speed Ball are two different things. Their explanation for the difference is simple:
“He mispronounces it,” Crastellano said.
Before leaving Hillview Skate Park -- which the band says is better than the one they played at in downtown Louisville -- Kyle Phelps, one of the band’s guitarists, grinded a Belushi-branded finger skateboard along one of Hillview’s rails.
They showed off some of their merch in the back of Crastellano’s car, along with their latest album on an Nintendo 64 cartridge and trash they had prepared for the day’s show.
“It’s real good trash right there,” Crastellano said.
Trash they and the many other members of the band will be picking up after their prom-themed show at The Whirling Tiger.
To see where the band is performing next, find them on Instagram.