Tag Archives: Kids Place Live

Ratboy Jr? Better late…

ratboy jrBack when I had Sirius/Xm Radio.  Back before they ended my subscription without a warning or email or letter or carrier pigeon.  Back when we were loyal listeners to Kids Place Live (we still love you Mindy, Jack and Kenny). We were up to date on a lot of kids music and How to Eat a Cloud by said above band was a pretty cool song. Smart, thoughtful, quirky and fun. I had seen them perform at the last Kindiefest and they were quite good as well. So today we are going through some of the CD’s we acquired from KindieComm  (which was great! Review forthcoming) and Ratboy Jr. got the CD slot and both son and I are in agreement. It’s pretty darn good! Smart, thoughtful, quirky and fun describes the whole disk. Any CD that makes a reference to Chewbacca is a winner in our home. My son loves Pretends Your Hand’s a Puppet and Backyard Camping. It was also recorded at that fun factory in New York run by that Dean Jones guy called No Parking Studios.  I know the review is 3 years late but I just got my copy and better late than never! I look forward to their next disc.  Go find a copy of this CD and support an independent artist today!

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KindieComm things to do…

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I am headed to KindieComm. A conference of my kindie peers and I am a bit excited to meet some new people and talk to old friends. Here are 11 Things I hope to accomplish while I am in the city of Brotherly Love…

  1.  Share a beer with the Legendary  Kathy O’Connel(Kids Corner)
  2. Hang out with the Jim Cosgrove and family
  3. Watch Seanster and the Monsters perform (Great CD!)
  4. The Liberty Bell
  5. Visit old Pine Forest Camp friends
  6. Go eat at a LA diner with KPL’s Mindy Thomas, Kenny Curtis, and The Okee Dokee Brothers. Wait I did that while Rolling with the Bogle ! So…
  7. Rollin’ with the (OWTK) Bogle…  PART DEUX!
  8. Hanging with Joanie Leeds Drummer (we never mention him by name)
  9. Hear great new music
  10. Book a gig or 2
  11. Laugh a lot

So if you’re at the conference be sure to stop by and say Hi!

The Song and the Process. Imaginary Friend by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

 

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Here’s a crazy fun fact! Would you believe that Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and I lived within a half block of each other in 1994? Right here in Chicago by Belmont and Clark? Well it’s true!  What is also true is the genius of this song and writing from the view of an imaginary friend who looks at the world in the belief that he’s real and the boy he hangs with is the imaginary one.   It all started with the idea for a song about imaginary friends.  Mr. Skidoo let it marinate in the brain awhile.  Like myself 23 is a big fan of comics and the idea of the parallel or multiverse.  This is where the idea of what if the Imaginary Friend had a universe of his own.  Telling the song not only from the child characters point of skidoo-photo6-lgview but making it a duet by having Pickles (the Imaginary Friend) who believes he’s real and the child he’s with imaginary contribute to the story. Two universes in one song!   So the idea is set and now he sets up Pirate/ Sea Shanty hook.  Which is how the Skidoo Process works.  IDEA – HOOK – MUSIC – LYRICS.  He tends to write when he has to. He disappeared for a month writing for this CD though he is storing ideas all the time in his phone. The ideas use to exist on scraps of paper under a stuffed monkey (which may be a song idea of its own) but with technology he may be saving a few trees. But I digress…  Because he’s now living in California and likes to record back with his crew in North Carolina there was a bit of travel involved with the CD.  For him the funky music groove he needed was where he had done his previous album in NC. The musicians do a fantastic job (I love the horns and the spooky keyboard).   He has one ending written but ends up changing it under the advice of his wife (a honest sounding board is very helpful).  Now he needs a pirate voice so he calls his pirate buddy (Of Course Secret Agent 23 Skidoo has a pirate buddy) to lay down perfect quirka vocal but… too scary.  How about Jack Forman (We’re big fans of this Recess Monkey/KPL DJ)?  Too nice.  So Skidoo is showing another vocalist what he’s looking for and bingo.  He finds that groove he’s looking for within himself.  Not too scary or nice but just right!  If you like smart songs with a funky haunted house vibe and great horn play check out this song.  Right now Secret Agent is in the middle of a National tour, finishing up a Halloween song and putting out a 7” vinyl with The Not-It’s.  Imaginary Friend can be found on The Perfect Quirk. So go listen to Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and support a Kindie Artist today!

 

The Song and the Process. The Ramble by The Hipwaders

hipwaders-golden-stateThe Ramble holds a special place in our hearts here at A Man, A Band and A Plan… Sort of.  This was the song that my daughter choose for her first ice skating solo last summer. It had already been one of our favorites and The Golden State album is one of my recommended choices for people entering the world of Kindie music. I met head songwriter/ Hipwader Tito Uquillas at my very first kindiefest (definitely a theme around here). He is a full time paramedic (still working 24hr shifts for a private ambulance is a rare thing these days) and I am a full time firefighter so we had a few things to talk about. It’s always fun to exchange stories with people in the EMS industry. We also share a music making philosophy – Get in a band with musicians better than you as we both consider ourselves songwriters first.  Well we didn’t exchange CD’s at that time (my usual way of obtaining music),  it was at another kindiefest 2 years later and Hey Josie (also on The Golden State) was a big hit on Kids Place Live at the time.  It seems after that first kindiefest, on his last day, he went and spent a day in Central Park roaming. Having already visited many NY destinations greenwich-village-circa-1980s-public-domain(Greenwich Village, Wehawken, etc)  connecting all the things he had seen on TV and movies while growing up. He then set off on an adventure of a different sort.  The goal that day was to walk through Central Park and head to the Museum of Modern Art.  Being a California guy this open space in NYC came a bit unexpected.  He came upon a cool foot path that took him through the trees and rocks, winding through arches and over bridges, through bushes around ponds… Then he found out the name of the path was “The Ramble”.  800px-Central_Park_New_York_City_New_York_23_croppedHe had an idea and quickly sang into his phone. The original version he says was more of a hop scotch rhythm to it.  More of a chanting version sans bass, drums and guitar.  So he takes this back to California and has a version of this song in mind.  He also has some other songs and the band goes and road tests them- meaning they’re rehearsing them and putting them in their live shows. The Ramble has started to morph. He looks up birds of Central Park and finds a warbler which works. After a year of practicing all the new stuff they head into the studio.  By now the Ramble is completely different.  The chanting rhythm has been exchanged for a drum rhythm and the full band version is rocking.   They now have a tom-tom dominant drum line (Tito wanted more tom like Christopher Walken wanted more cowbell) and the guitar riffs and bass line are set.  They now need a studio to record in as they are ready.  Through a series of events they end up at control-room-a-2Studio Trilogy and record with Willie Samuels.  Willie has a great story as to how that ever important drum sound in The Ramble came to be…”I do something when recording drums where I have my “standard” microphone set up, but I will usually throw up one or two “oddball” microphones in random locations around the drum kit just to see if any “magic” comes from them (usually not, but its a fun experiment). On those sessions, I put up an old RCA 77 ribbon microphone about 5 feet out in front of the drum set. It was a weird, and funky sound that didn’t seem to contribute much to the drum sound.  BUT while mixing The Ramble, I was having difficulty finding a drum sound that fit the vibe of the track.  I pushed up the fader with that RCA microphone on it and everything just came to life. It gave the drums this great old Bo Diddly quality that really fit what Nick (Hipwaders drummer) was playing with all the floor Tom work.  I took it a little further and pulled back all the other mics and the drum sound on that tune ultimately ended up being almost completely just that one microphone”…  Basically he’s saying most of  the drum sounds came through the one mic.  Which is not how you usually record drums. So very cool. Which is why you hire a good engineer.  Which is a story for another day.  Moving on…    Tito is an inspirational type of songwriter.  He can go six months without writing anything and then write six songs in two weeks. He usually writes the chorus and melody and then fills in the rest.tito Occasionally he’ll find a guitar riff and work from there.  Go have a listen to The Ramble and the rest of  The Hipwaders catalog as it’s some pretty tasty stuff.  They’re headed back into the studio this year for a yet to be named new CD. I’ll be looking for it and you should as well.    Go support a kindie artist today!

Happy Holidays and a song I wish I had wrote…

So Influenza Type A paid this lad a visit just before Christmas.  Not the gift I had been looking for but thanks to some rest and recuperation (my wife was a great help!) I am back to nearly myself.  Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and looking forward to a Happy New Year.  I shall have my year in review in a day or two.  Also the other day one of our family favorite songs came on Kids Place Live.  Rattling Can by Key Wilde and Mr. Clark.  Its part science lesson and an Irish drinking song all wrapped up into one.  What a raucus good time song it is. Trying to sing along is half the fun as the kids and I try the navigate the increasing story.  It quailifies as a song I wish I had written. My only complaint is the video isn’t racous enough!  Check out the video by clicking on the song title or buy it by clicking on the photo.  Their latest CD Pleased to Meet You is on a lot of best of lists.  Go support a kindie artist today!

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Great kindie radio.

antique_radioIt being thanksgiving weekend I have a lot to be thankful for.  My family, friends, home, etc.  So I thought today I’d say thanks to some of those who play the music called kindie.  Now most people get their kids music from TV.  It being the biggest medium around these days.  And that’s a shame.  Because the music seen on TV is very, very limited (Barney, The Wiggles, Fresh Beats, etc).  Dan Zanes recently had a rare appearance on “The Chica Show” as it’s known around here and he’s been playing great family music for a long time.  Fortunately TV is not the only source for great kids music and no I’m not talking about Youtube which also has a lot of quality kindie stuff.  No I’m talking about good ole’ radio! Which because of the internet is now better that ever.  You can not only get great shows dedicated to the family genre you can also listen to some of them even if you missed the original broadcast thanks to podcasting! All of these shows listed below are internet available, they are all free (sorry Kids Place Live) and all play great new and old music. Here are my top 5.

  1. Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl – Dave Loftin  is one of the very first to play the  Poochamungas.  He’s got great taste in family music and music appropriate for kids not to mention one of the best voices coming over the airwaves.  New stuff balanced with classic and rarities.  He hosts at http://wawl.org   in  Chattanooga,Tennessee.   The show goes on every Saturday at 8-10am (EST). It does repeats episodes sometimes but always worth the listen
  2. Imagination Parade –  This show is another one who got an the Poochamungas bandwagon early.  Paul Butler is the host and been doing it so long when he started he had kids and now has grand kids! He also has high quality taste in music. Especially the kindie kind but also just any great music for families to enjoy.  We did a interview with Paul this year during fire prevention week. You can check out Pauls show at WDFU-FM 89.1 out of Farleigh Dickinson University in New York/ New Jersey every Sunday at 9am Eastern time.
  3. Musical Merry-Go-Round – Grandfather Paul Stark hosts this great show down in St. Louis.  He hosts live music acts/interviews and discusses books with Ms Kathleen the Librarian and plays all sorts of great music. The show runs 7-9am CST on Saturday mornings on KDHX 88.1 in St. Louis.
  4. Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child –  Host Bill Childs has been spinning family Music since 2005 along with his kids Ella and Liam.  He’s was a founder of the recently ended  Kindiefest ( thanks Bill it was a lot of fun) and now runs his show out of Austin, TX.  He hosts live bands, banters with his kids and plays great music. The show is now syndicated.  You can check out the Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child website for times and broadcasts.
  5. Kids Corner – This show is a Philadelphia institution celebrating their 25th anniversary this year… Happy Anniversary!  Fun, games, jokes, live guests, and and their brilliant host Kathy O’Connell make this a show worth hearing every day. I forgot mention the great music as well!   The show runs 4 nights a week from 7-8pm (EST) on WXPN 88.5 in Philadelphia.

Also  T-Bones Radioactive Kids, Kids Rock Nashville and the Hilltown Family Variety Show (they even had us host a show!) are some of the others worth checking out as well

These are some of the radio shows I think everyone should check out.   If your an artist reading this be sure to send them a CD and be polite, respectful and DON’T PESTER THEM CONTINUALLY.  They tend to receive a lot of music so have patience.  And thank  them when they play your music.  Just last week Dave Loftin gave us a spin.  Thanks Dave!  And thanks to all of those shows out there spinning family and kids music.  We wouldn’t be heard without you!  If you know of a music show on and read this please let me know and I’d be glad to listen in and let others know about it.  So go know! Listen and support you local kindie DJ today!

The kindie community needs to step up

KINDIEPoochamungas just had a new CD released and took  many steps to make sure the public hears about it.  I mentioned to our publicist (Elizabeth Waldman Frazier has been amazing) the other day that an article used “kiddie rockers” instead of “kindie rockers.” To which she matter of factly said “If you walked up to someone on the street and asked them what kindie was they’d have no idea what you were talking about.” She is correct in that assessment.  We as a community, especially  artists do ourselves a disservice by not promoting as much quality kindie product as possible. Poochmungas just released a CD and in terms of community support I say this.  It’s never as good as you want but not as bad as you think.   Paul Crowe of The Boogers has been awesome.  Marc Bazerman  been supportive while promoting his own upcoming release. Mr Singer always likes and shares us on FB.  Story Laurie and Lori Henriques have help been really helpful as well.  Gina McHatton, Kurt Gallagher and Tito Uquillas gave us a nice mention on Facebook.   But I think that’s about it.  Privately I have had fantastic support. Publicly not nearly as much.  My personal belief is that some feel that if they promote others that their work somehow diminishes.   Untrue.  There is also the  fact that working to book gigs, promote gigs, make CD’s, etc. is a vastly time consuming effort to do.  One tends to get tunnel vision.  Competition and jealousy aspects also come into play… Why did he get played by Kids Place Live and not me?  If they buy his CD they won’t buy mine…  Get over it.  We need to help each other. This genre won’t grow unless we collectively promote the genre and not just yourself.   Reach out and help someone who’s music you like or an artist you respect. If you share your fan base those fans aren’t going to abandon you.  If someone does promote you remember to promote them back.  What does it take to like someone else’s show while meandering through Facebook.  Share someone else’s CD release, Kickstarter funding or gig?   Write some kind words?  When talking about your music use the word kindie (though someone is trying to make 2K off domain rights to kindie.com right now) so it becomes part of peoples vernacular.   When someone writes an article not just about you but someone you like or respect. Like and share it.   Stefan Shepard has a great blog (and podcast) called ZooGlobble . The Kindie Manifesto is something everyone should read.   Do yourself a favor. Read, listen and share what he’s promoting so ZooGlobble grows and with it the platform for us kindie musicians. James Zahn and Jeff Bogle have shed some serious props on their blogs about kindie music. Link them to your website. Promote their stuff so they grow and with it our platform.  It’s important you give blogger writers their due so their blogs can grow!  Promote the radio shows and blogs that review and play kindie music even when THEY AREN’T PLAYING YOURS, BUT ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE.   That’s what I’m trying to do with this blog and on FB and Twitter.  All it takes is a few minutes a day by each of us and all kindie artists benefit.  It doesn’t mean you still aren’t going to have to work your ass off cause you are.  I’m not asking you to start a blog.  But take a few minutes a day and get out of the tunnel and see the whole picture. Don’t like my music?  That’s OK.  Find that which you do.  There’s a big bright kindie world ahead of us if only we all help it along. Cause if we don’t, who will?    I have listed some of my favorites blogs and Radio shows that support the genre below…

BlogsOut With The Kids, The Rock Father, Gooney Birds Kids, Kids Can Grove and the afore mentioned ZooGlobble.

RadioKids Place LiveImagination ParadeMusical Merry-Go-Round , Spare the Rock Spoil the Child, Kids Corner  and The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl

These are just a few and their are plenty more.  Listen.  Share. Support.