Vance was a member of the Chicago-based ska group Blue Meanies from 1989 to 1994, but it was his subsequent enlistment in the San Francisco ska outfit Skankin' Pickle that made him realize his days of dealing with human musicians were numbered. "It was an awful situation," he complains. "There were drugs involved all the time. In the van there was constant pot smoking. And it's hard to deal with someone on the three-day speed plan."
By 1996, Vance had had enough and envisioned forming a band of robots that would never keep him waiting -- sober entities programmed strictly to play music for no pay. He would give them cute names like GTRBOT666 and DRMBOT 0110. What he didn't count on, though, was that the robots would tear out his insides, put a chip in his head to enslave him and rename their former boss JBOT. "That was around '97, when I was actually captured by the Bots," he says. "Before that I thought I'd be able to get along with these guys, tour around and have a good time. That would not be the case. It would be awful times."
Clearly, this touring machine's idea of a good time involves inflicting bodily harm and personal shame on JBOT. "The robots dis me so hard sometimes. They talk about my Mom. They force me to eat boogers."