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"Judge Sides With Original Supernova"

Judge Sides With Original Supernova In 'Rock Star' Suit


Ruling requires Tommy Lee's band to change name following show's finale.

David has defeated Goliath.

According to a Tuesday (September 12) ruling by San Diego Judge John Houston, the producers of CBS' "Rock Star" are going to have to come up with an alternate name for Supernova, the band made up of Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee, Voivod's Jason Newsted and former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke.

Last month, the original Supernova — an Orange County, California, punk trio — filed for a preliminary injunction in San Diego's U.S. District Court against CBS Broadcasting, Mark Burnett Productions and Lee, Newsted and Clarke, who are starring in the second season of the reality show. The injunction sought to halt the television-contrived act from performing or recording under the name "Supernova" if the band fails to change or add any words to the moniker.

Lee, Newsted and Clarke were dropped as defendants late last month at the request of the original Supernova's lawyers (see "Supernova File Injunction Against Tommy Lee's 'Rock Star: Supernova' ").

Earlier Tuesday, Houston granted the request from the members of the original Supernova — bassist Art Mitchell, drummer Dave Collins and guitarist Jodey Lawrence — for the preliminary injunction. The injunction keeps the producers of "Rock Star: Supernova" — which concludes Wednesday night — from "performing rock and roll music, or recording, or selling rock and roll music recordings under the same [name], pending a trial of this action on its merits, or until otherwise ordered by the court."

The original Supernova — which formed in 1989 and released four studio LPs — first filed suit against the show's producers in late June (see "Supernova Sue 'Rock Star: Supernova' Producers, Bandmembers"). The filing alleged trademark infringement and sought a jury trial, as well as the eradication of all "labels, signs, prints, packages, wrappers, containers, advertisements, electronic media and other materials bearing the Supernova mark."

Supernova are perhaps best known for their tune "Chewbacca," which appeared on the soundtrack to Kevin Smith's 1994 film "Clerks." When the group discovered the show's producers' intentions to use Supernova as the name for their supergroup, the band contacted them; negotiations between both sides followed on the heels of the suit's filing. Those talks hit a wall last month, forcing the band to take additional legal action to protect its rights.

The suit insisted that the "Rock Star" producers willfully ignored the fact that the Supernova moniker was unavailable and that "individuals within defendants' own organizations informed defendants of plaintiff's rights in the Supernova mark." Using the Supernova name would cut into the original band's future earnings, as it would interfere "with plaintiff's business relationships" or cause the band to lose merchandising deals and potential offers to perform, according to the suit. The filing also suggested that some fans of the band might be confused and therefore duped into buying the new Supernova's merchandise and music.

In his ruling, Houston acknowledged that "the marks are identical, the parties operate in very similar or identical markets, the Supernova is distinctive and therefore strong, and there is evidence of actual confusion in the market." Houston further noted that "irreparable harm [to the original Supernova] is presumed" and added that "defendants access to [a] large amount of monetary and promotional resources will effectively diminish, if not eliminate, [the original Supernova's] commercial presence in the marketplace."

The decision, in short, bars the CBS-created rockers from touring, recording and selling merchandise as "Supernova" once the order takes effect. First, the original Supernova must post bond, the amount of which has yet to be determined by the court.

The "Rock Star" band will launch an American tour December 31 in Las Vegas, with dates scheduled through February 27 in Long Beach, California. The Panic Channel, the band featuring "Rock Star: Supernova" co-host and former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, has been tapped to open on all the trek's dates (see "Dave Navarro Juggles TV And Guitar, Shrugs Off Panic Channel Sales").

— Chris Harris


"Tin Foil Heroics"

Tin Foil Heroics

Art Nova, of Orange County spacewave band Supernova, discusses crash-landing on earth, the virtues of tin foil, and performing the same show for adults and five-year-olds.
Do you ever get ridiculed when you put on your foil hat? Well, you wouldn't if you were at a show of Orange County "spacewave" band, Supernova. You'd be one of many in the foil-wearing Supernova army.

How did you assimilate to life on earth after crash-landing from Cynot 3?

The good thing is we look like humans. The other good thing is that our spaceship is a van. We fly our vans, but here people drive them. The wheels for us are just the landing gear, but to not freak anyone out, we figured we’d just drive around in our spaceship. Also, we noticed people don’t value tin foil very highly here. So, I got a job as a trash man, so I could get paid in this weird paper currency. I don’t know. I guess they like paper here. I got a job as a trash man and collected tin foil, and got a little house in Costa Mesa. We play music. Music makes our van go. That’s why we play. It’s like fuel.

That’s awesome.

Here, people pay you money to hear it. So we’re like, ‘We already do this to get around, so let’s go play.’ It worked out pretty good.

You might need a special license to fly your ship around here.

We didn’t want to stick out. We noticed that the other flying vehicles didn’t look like ours and there weren’t that many. So we thought we’d better just drive. Cynotians are pretty smart. Highly intelligent.

Some people say that southern California is like another planet. How close is life in Costa Mesa to life on Cynot 3?

It’s pretty similar. The weather conditions are the same. We’re able to live in this climate. It wasn’t detrimental to our health. Both are crowded. Everybody has tattoos, here and there. Except for us. We’re nerds there and here. Even though I have some. These are fake. These are just so I can be in Costa Mesa.

And not draw any attention. Very wise. You’ve toured with a lot of big name acts. For which one would you drop everything to tour with again, and why?

I don’t know if people remember The Cows, but we loved touring with The Cows because they’re an awesome band, but also because Kevin the bass player wears pajamas when he’s on tour. They are funny guys. The Presidents of the United States, they were awesome. We loved playing with those guys. We played with them before they were big, in places like Seattle. We got to play with them this year again. Definitely those guys. Shoot. I know I’m probably forgetting somebody. But we’ve done so many different things, like old Warped Tours were awesome. It’d be No Doubt, Sublime. Nobody even knew who No Doubt was. We were on the side stage with No Doubt. That was pretty funny. We love to play with The Aquabats. We still play with them. Love those guys. Probably The Aquabats would be my favorite band to tour with right now. As far as having fun, being like-minded and putting on a good show.

What do you do with all that tin foil?

Well, of course we like to wear it. We like to decorate our instruments with it. We like to do tin foil origami. That’s a big thing. We like to make things out of it. Fans usually make all kinds of things. Pirate hats, swords, bandannas. Did you see the tin foil contest? That’s generally what the crowd will look like. They get pretty creative. We like to have it thrown at us. See on Cynot 3, if somebody throws tin foil at you, it’s the ultimate compliment. We like it when they throw it at us on stage. Tin foil is everything. It’s an alternative fuel for our ship as well.

Along with the music.

Along with the music. We can actually fuel it on tin foil.

Does Al Gore know about this?

No. He does not know about this. We have had a little pushback from some of the zealots on this planet. Over the years, we’ve had to be more and more covert with our tin foil usage.

I would think though, that if he did know about this, it would have been in his movie.

It would have blown our cover wide open. We’d probably be finished. Humans don’t realize tin foil will actually save the planet. Really, it would make the world go around, but I don’t think humans are ready for that yet.

What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?

We like to help people. On Cynot 3, the funny thing about earthlings and Cynotians, we all believe in a higher power. As a band we like to help people, work with kids. We like to be a positive influence. We’re trying to push the virtues of tin foil, but a lot of entities on this planet like to push the virtues of negative things. We fight that the best we can.
Now that we’ve kind of re-grouped after the lawsuit. We never really planned on playing again. We thought our days of tin foil heroics were over. We have a lot of kids that are fans. I have a teenage daughter. You know that whole "I’m not a role model" thing. We’re not some huge band, But kids look up to you and if you tell them something positive, it sticks.

Do you guys look for all-ages venues then?

We play both. We just like to play as much as we can. The kids are so fun to play for because they’re not jaded. They dig it. They don’t have any agenda or ulterior motive for being there. I had forgotten that. It was weird because when we played in the 90s, we didn’t fit in very well. Now, the whole rock scene is so much more punk rock, and goofy, and new wave. We fit in a lot more. There were punk bands in the 90s but it was all hard, gnarly punk. We didn’t end up playing a lot of all-ages venues the first time around. I like playing bars. We just played a festival for young kids, called Wee Rock down in San Diego. I kid you not, we were blown away. We actually played a rock show for three- to five-year-olds. They were totally rocking.

Not a lot of bands can say that.

You know what the cool thing was? We played with some other bands. The Farmers played, and some other local bands. But every band kind of "dumbed down" their set. We got up there and did our same thing. We laughed about it. We played Friday night at a bar here in Costa Mesa, La Cave. We did the same set for the five-year-olds. And it went over equally as well. They were all wearing tin foil. We were walking around in our space helmets, and of course that’s going to endear the kids. They were all throwing it, rocking, and jumping. You can get them to do anything. We got done with that show and we said, “We did not change one thing in our set.” And they were completely going bananas. It was pretty fun. We had a blast.
Copyright © 2007 Gary Schwind
- BrooWaha

"Our Supernova vs Their Supernova"

OC Weekly
Rock Stars My Destination
Our Supernova Vs. Their Supernova
Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 3:00 pm

Take us to your lawyer. Photo by Tenaya Hills

Times are hard at Reality Inc.: the producers of CBS’ Rock Star apparently couldn’t find a real band willing to replace their dead singer with a hopeful high school dropout, so they hired a brand-new fake band instead. From this fall season forward, Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted, Gilby Clarke and Dave Navarro—and a winner to be decided later—will be known as Supernova. Even though there already is an OC band called Supernova, and even though CBS apparently knows it.

“They had a song in the movie Clerks—I think in ’93 or ’94—but the people behind the Rock Star program worked it out to trademark the name and do all the proper things you’re supposed to do with a band,” Newsted reportedly said on Indie 103’s Camp Freddie show. “That’s all been worked out, and we are the one and only Supernova.”

But that’s news to the non-rock-star Supernova’s Art, Jo and Dave, who say they’ve never been contacted by anyone from Rock Star, and who are gearing up for a battle with CBS’ corporate death star.

Their Supernova—the true Supernova—hasn’t been on the radar for a while. Drummer Dave says their last live shows were on a long-ago Warped Tour, and their last album was 2002’s Pop As a Weapon, a best of/rest of compilation highlighted by the Clerks soundtrack song “Chewbacca” (“What a wookiee!”). In their day, however, they were a Costa Mesa mainstay and a notable national act in the same orbit as similarly sci-fi bands like Man . . . Or Astroman? or Servotron (who even absorbed a Supernova member into their lineup).

If you missed it, they were nerds who wore shiny space suits, loved a good 4/4 beat and offered discount admission in exchange for tinfoil—a valuable substance on their “home planet.” Ever since—and contrary to reports of family life and law school—they’ve just been “touring other planets.” But in mid-March, a subspace transmission from a fan to Dave alerted them to the other Supernova.

“We’ve toured and played and been doing stuff for so many years, and so many people were kind of into our retardedness—it’s frustrating,” says Dave. “We don’t want people to be like, ‘We came here to see tinfoil spacemen and there’s a bunch of Hessians onstage.’”

“Maybe they think we’re not big enough and that we aren’t a band,” says bassist Art. “But yes, we are a band, and we have fans, and you can’t have our name.”

So they’re buffing the rust off the live set, launching a West Coast mini-tour from Detroit Bar to San Francisco and back, and even working on a few new songs—one of which, “Poodle,” is available as a practice preview at the new Supernova MySpace page ( They’re even talking about a new release. Dave likes the idea of a one-sided pink vinyl single, something that’s more a toy than an actual recording—which is the Supernova ethic in a sentence.

“They’ve basically given us the corporate bird,” says Jo. “Actually, they should call themselves the Corporate Birds.”

“Or they should hire us,” says Art. “We’d be way cheaper.”

But that’s not the way show biz goes here on Earth. Instead, the two Supernovas are locked in what Art calls legal neener-neenering. They hope this mini-tour—and any further national dates to satisfy die-hard fan enclaves in Green Bay and Atlanta and New York City—will remind the people of this planet that there really is only one Supernova: the one without Jason Newsted. If that doesn’t work, they’ve already got a backup plan.

“We’re thinking if we end up losing our name, we’ll probably change it to Led Zeppelin,” says Jo. “They haven’t used it in a while, right?”

- OC Weekly


Various 7' singles from 1990 - 1995
LP/CD - Ages 3 & Up - Atlantic/AmRep Records - 1995
CD - ROKS - AmRep Records 1997
CD - Pop As A Weapon - Sympathy For The Record Industry - 2000
7" - Diga Queso - Rococo Records - 2007
LP - ROKS (with an extra track) - Rococo Records - 2008



Supernova began on a faraway planet called Cynot 3. The inhabitants of Cynot 3 were peaceful people who spent their days relaxing and treasure hunting for tinfoil. Then one fateful day in 1989 Cynot 3’s sun went supernova and the inhabitants were forced to flee. Art, Dave, and Jo, fled the explosion in an escape pod and crash landed on Earth.

They took up habitance in Costa Mesa, California where they began live rock shows defining their sound as “spacewave.” People of Earth often attend Supernova concerts adorned in tinfoil that is lovingly hurled at the band throughout their set. Beginning in 1992, Supernova released a series of 7” singles on various indie labels that became popular on college radio and in the indie music scene. Along with the singles, early on, Creature Booking set up nationwide tours for Supernova to help spread the spacewave.

Many Earthlings have been touched by the Supernova experience. Independent film maker, Kevin Smith included the band’s “Chewbacca” song in the cult film classic “CLERKS.” Bill Nye “The Science Guy” had Supernova perform on his Disney TV show, and the band’s song “Math” was included in the B-movie classic “Tromeo and Juliet” by Troma Films (makers of Toxic Avenger). In 2007 the band was asked to perform their song “Up and Down” on the Nickelodeon TV show Yo Gabba Gabba and on 10/14/07 Supernova was featured on the “Good Morning San Diego” TV show where they performed live in the studio.

Supernova signed with Amphetamine Reptile Records and in a joint venture with Atlantic Records released their debut album “Ages 3 & Up” with the first single ‘Vitamins’ receiving radio airplay in major markets across the nation. Their sophomore album “Rox” (also on AmRep) was supported by additional tours of the U.S. and Canada. Their third full length album “Pop As A Weapon” was release by Sympathy For The Record Industry. Along with the albums and singles, Supernova has appeared on numerous compilations from both indie and major labels.

Supernova’s nationwide tinfoil collecting missions (e.g. tours) have included, the original Warped Tour, followed by further appearances on Warped three years later and again in 2007, and the Bamboozle Left musical festival (2007 & 2008). In addition to the Warped missions and Bamboozle, Supernova has toured with amazing Earth bands such as: Buzzcocks, Aquabats, Presidents of the U.S.A, Reel Big Fish, Boss Hogg, Supersuckers, Cows, the Red Aunts and supported Deborah Harry and Dick Dale.

The band’s name is so irresistible that recently a corporate empire tried to commandeer it for their very own. Supernova called upon the forces of uniformed Earthlings (attorneys) to assist in a battle full of rock stars, TV moguls and spacemen. The battle was hard-fought, but in the end the judges of Earth ruled for our heroes from Cynot 3. Yes, there really is justice on planet Earth and now the globe knows there is only one Supernova in the rock-n-roll galaxy.

Supernova has established a dedicated following that stretches from coast to coast. They continue collecting tinfoil from hordes of Earth kids, playing spacewave and refining songs for their fourth album. After the people of Earth witness a live Supernova performance, they come away with a newfound respect for tinfoil (could it be the discounts offered at the door to those bearing tinfoil?). Such accomplishments fuel Art, Dave and Jo pushing them even further into the outer realms of spacewave.

Live Long & Pop Star!