Tag Archives: Out with the Kids

KindieComm things to do…


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!

My New Favorite Festival


Photo by David T. Kindler

It’s Jeff Bogle’s (Out With The Kids) fault. A couple of years ago he convinced me to attend the Grammys as I had access to tickets and he was looking to go.  Many fine kindie artists had been nominated that year and so I attended the Grammy Pre Telecast show to which one of my colleagues would win (The Okee Dokee Brothers won, yea!). Then in the middle of the show I was introduced to the music of John Fulbright with a blistering performance of Gawd Above.  I became a fan on the spot. This year my photographer friend David Kindler asked if I was interested in attending the American Music Festival at Fitzgeralds in Berwyn.  Heck yeah!  I had wanted to go for years and knowing John Fulbright was playing sealed the deal.  What a great fest indeed.  I prefer my concerts without jumbotrons and this one is just the right size. Here are the highlights for me attending on the last day of the festival…

Walked in on the Bellfuries (Austin, Texas)  with the sterling vocals of Joe Simeone and the Rock-a-sense-ability of Schecky Seaver, Mike Molnar and Chris Sensat.  I could listen to them all day!Fest2014_070514-2469

The Split Squad – What do you get when you hook up a bunch of career rock and roll guys?  FACE MELTING ROCK!  I also got some vinyl of the band. Double Win!Fest2014_070514-2602

COCHOMBO – You take a Cochon de Lait (Roast Pork Po’ Boy) + The best Andouille sausage I’ve ever had  = Superior Sammich.  The Cajun Combo so to speak.  I ate two (one early, one late). Tom “Festival” Cimms and staff do a fine job indeed!

Girls, Guns and Glory with Sarah Borges – Amazing! Best surprise of the festival.  Had no idea about either of these acts and was blown away. They have a 7″ Vinyl coming out out on July 20th and highly suggest you check it out!Fest2014_070514-3171

John Fulbright – opened the show singing Acapella and quieted a full crowd.  Amazing talent and songwriting ability.  The inspiration for my coming to the festival and it was well deservedFest2014_070514-3228

Free Water available all over the festival.

$3.50 Miller Lite bottles

David Kindler – My favorite photographer.  Never fails to make an introduction and really enjoys his work. His photos really capture the festival as seen here in this article. I was there because of his invite and will be back again next year.

Joe Ely and Reckless Kelly – Joe is an American treasure and sang a Townes Van Zandt song. You should catch him with Reckless Kelly who were down right smokin’.  Magical closing song of the night for me with Not Fade Away. Fest2014_070514-3266

The Sound Guys – Kept things rolling and sounding good with sooooo many bands.

Many thanks to the Fitzgerald family and staff for an outstanding job.  This was my first year attending but definitely not my last. All fests should be run so well. Thank you for an outstanding day.

All Photos by David T. Kindler

Some Damn Fine Father Bloggers for Father’s Day.

It’s nearly Father’s Day and I thought I’d run my personal blog roll of the Dad’s who I read with some frequency. Those that inform, educate, humor and write some really good stuff…

Out With The Kids – Jeff Bogle isowtk the guy I started reading first for kids music and watched his site grow from a kindie centric site to a very well rounded family focused webzone.  His monthly music podcast is one of the best around and always family friendly.

The Rock Father – James Zahn  is a friend, father, and all around family resource for entertainment, toys and music.rockfather  He profiled me as one of his “ Rock Fathers” for Father’s Day in June and made me sound pretty damn cool. A page I check regularly and you should too.

How To Be A Dad – If Charlie Capenhtbad and Andy Herald’s blog were a baseball team they would be the Yankees.  A benevolent and kind version that helps other dad bloggers along and puts out some really funny and relevant parent relating stuff.

Dad and Buried – Mike Julianelle dadandburied writes the stuff I would if I were to write more about my family which is not necessary since he’s writing.  Very funny man with a perspective on kids and family I truly appreciate.

A Blogger and a Father – Oren Miller is the one who started the DadBloggerFather Blogger group on Facebook I belong to.  At least once a week I find myself laughing hysterically or thinking profoundly from stuff posted there.   Oren’s a very able writer who just found out he has cancer. His blog post on this is… I have no words you just need to read it.

There’s probably a few I could add to the list but this is a fine starting point. Go support a dad blogger today!

What it takes to make a CD

gold record

The other day on Facebook a really good conversation thread about Kickstarter was started by Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids fame.  He was inquiring why musicians needed to raise so much money to make a CD these days. Many great replies from Zooglobble, The Rock Father and others. It was a very valid question.  Why is it, it takes 10K to make a CD.  I know a couple things about making a CD having produced 2 in the last 5 years (and not much more).  While making music is free… Recording it can be a bit expensive. Unless your a talented engineer as well as musician (see Todd McHatton) and have your own studio (which is a sizable investment in itself) you are going to have to pay someone to record your band.  Now how much depends on who you hire and how long it takes.  Do you pay a set rate or are you paying hourly?  Is the band ready to play the songs?  Do you need to hire musicians and or singers? How much to Mix? Master? Are you traveling the recording studio  (I know a lot of folks travel to record with Dean Jones) or is it local.  Are you paying for a producer or self producing?  How much does he charge (I’ve been quoted 5k for a producer).  The whole idea of making a record is to make the best music you can and get it to your fans and make some money so you can do it again.  Phew!   Recording is a lot of fun but paying for it sucks.  Recording costs ranges from 30 – 100 dollars an hour.   You can get weekend rates, some places have a  flat fee and others discount for pre-paying for large blocks of time.  Know this.  You get what you pay for and a good engineer is priceless.  No matter how good you are live recording is a completely different animal and the guy recording you is critical.  Know your budget and expect some costs you didn’t consider. Know that mistakes will be made and re-recording is a reality.  Some bands record the bass and drums and then lay tracks over that.  Poochamungas usually record as a band with my vocals and guitar as a scratch and then fill them in later.  This works for us because it’s more energetic, efficient and cost effective.  Then we add vocals, additional guitars, etc.  Then after recording there’s the oh so important mixing part.  Some people specialize in only mixing.  This is also critical to your sound so get someone who knows what they’re doing here as well. Know that hearing in things in the studio is different than hearing things for gigs. All of the above takes time, effort and money.  This leads to success or failure. Mistakes usually means spending more time and money. Lets not call them failures but learning experiences. Which then leads to success.   Which happens when your creating art.  Which is what making music is… ART.  I know very little but I know this. If your goal is to just sell  records you get lousy art. But if you go out to make great art you may get to sell some records (Which by the way for kids artists means pressing CD’s and more money).  Making great art takes time and time costs money. For some it cost more than others.  Is 10k unreasonable.  Depends on the perspective.

Chicago Toy and Game Fair is coming!!!


This is something a little different than the norm here at A Man, A Band and a Plan HQ.  I have not told the kids yet but the Joyce family is headed to the Chicago Toy and Game fair coming up on November 23rd and 24th.  We have garnered a bloggers family pass and I am pretty excited to see my kids reaction when we arrive. Plus it’s happening at one of the coolest places to visit in Chicago… Navy Pier!  They’re having a Star Wars luncheon on Saturday which if my kids were interested I would so be there!.  I have heard form a reliable source (The Rock Father strikes again) that this was a really good time last year.  To add more coolness there will be a man whom I have blogged about before in attendance with his great family.  No other than the guy who writes one of my favorite  blogs and whom I went with to the Grammys – Mr. Jeff Bogle.  You can read about our adventures here which I really should of titled Rolling With the Bogle.  Plus there shall be a few other Dad bloggers in attendance whom I’m looking forward to meeting.  If your interested in going just click on the picture at the top and it will take you there.  Perhaps a kids music stage in the future?

Songs I wish I had written

SpicyKid-Wallet.inddI want to make this a the first semi regular topic here on the blog.  Sometimes as an artist you hear a song and think to yourself… Wow!  That’s brilliant.   I wish I had written that song.  Well it happened a few weeks ago when listening to the new Lunch Money CD.  Now initially I wasn’t a big fan of the group.  I think Molly Ledford the lead singer/songwriter is amazing and writes smart lyrics but the music on a whole didn’t click with me.  My colleague Jeff Bogle (Out With The Kids) thinks the world of this band so I kept an open mind.  Well one day in the car listening to Spicy Kid on Kids Place Live it hit me what a great tune it is.  I was hooked!  So when I got home with their Spicy Kid CD after Kindiefest I put it on in the car for a proper listen. While the CD is excellent with many great tunes the one that really got me was Translator.  Simple. Poignant. Funny. Brilliant. It’s a one minute and fifty four second love story.  The opening line is “You ask them for a bathroom and they hand you a balloon.”   When you can define a subject and story in one line… Wow!   As a writer you continually work to convey  your  message so simply with such power.  In one minute and fifty four seconds Molly conveys her love for her child better than people who have written novels and filmed movies.   So yes I wish I had written this song.  Lucky for me Molly did and I get to listen.   Besides she’s a better singer!  Go get the song and CD here today!

Pre-Kindiefest – Day 1- 2013


Flying in on a beautiful NYC morning

My feet are finally feeling better.  Another whirlwind weekend in Brooklyn, NY will do that to them.  Walking to and from the hotel to venue (.6 miles) and talking to people while standing and more standing and talking and listening and standing and eating and standing.  Long day on the feet will do that to you.  But while you’re having fun you tend not to notice.  And fun I had!

Early morning transportation

Early morning transportation

Day one had nothing to do with the Kindiefest event except for checking in.  It started with me waking up at 4am to catch my 6:45am flight.  I grabbed a cab and off to O’Hare Airport.  After a quick, no frills, flight where we waited an extra ten minutes on the runway because of the sequester we headed off to NYC.  We then arrived ten minutes earlier than scheduled.  Moving fast were we.  I must say that air travel wise it was the easiest I have ever flown and I checked a bag both ways. (La Guardia Sunday night was 10 minutes from curb to gate, checked bag included!)  Upon arriving I called my friend and fellow Northeastern Illinois Alum Jennifer Tuttle (amazing actress and now college professor) who picked me up then off her place in Astoria.  I then met her husband Kip and we discussed making a Poochamungas video as he is a professional film director, editor, etc.  Very cool guy.  I am looking to working with him sometime this summer (as long as the planets align and our schedules allow).

Great guys in great hats who make great music and me!

Great guys in great hats who make great music and me!

Recording at KPL

Recording at KPL


Steve Songs, Kenny Curtis and Dean Jones.

We then had a great lunch at a Queens diner and then she dropped me at my hotel.  I had enough time to clean up, change my shoes, hook up with Jeff Bogle (Out With The Kids) and Dave (Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl) Loftin and take a subway to Manhattan  and Sirius/XM headquarters.  We were invited to the live taping of a future show involving many of my favorite kindie bands doing songs of other Kindie Bands.  (Mindy Thomas had an inspired idea for  show and talks about it here ).   I also handed out the first copies of the Poochamungas new CD Block Party!    In the building was a who’s who of kindie artists.  Recess Monkey, Lunch Money, Tim and the Space Cadets, Mista Cookie Jar, Charlie Hope, Sugar Free All Stars, The Pop-UpsDog on Fleas, Steve Songs, Okee Dokee Brothers, The Not-Its and Brady Rymer.  I had a great time and even got to sing backup on the big number at the end (Thanks Mindy!)  I’ll  be sure to report here when the show airs on Kids Place Live.

NFL Draft day as well!

NFL Draft day as well!

After the show I joined Jeff and Dave for a dinner in Manhattan. I had no idea I was within a block of the NFL Draft headquarters as we walked by Radio City Music Hall on our way to meet the McHatton Clan along with Morgan Taylor.  The plan as outlined by the adventurous and technologically advanced Jeff Bogle was to have our paths intersect as we walked toward each other in NYC and the find a suitable eating place as well.  Well part A of the plan worked really well as Jeff and the McHattons did a great job of locating each other (technology is awesome).  Plan B took a bit longer but we finally did find a suitable place to eat for party of 10 as Mista Cookie Jar and the lovely Jenna joined us as well.  While the meal was OK it was great to talk with everyone at the table.  Lots of laughs and good conversation. Morgan explained to me the origin of Gustafer Yellowgold which was very cool ( My sons first concert other than Poochamungas was Gustafer. He’s a fan! You should check out The Underbirds as well.) Then it was back to the Subway and then bed somewhere around 1am after a very long but informational and enjoyable day.  Day two was only 9 hours away!

GRAMMY WEEKEND part 1 – Saturday

Griffith Park Obsevatory.

Griffith Park Observatory.

It’s taken a few days to decompress from the great weekend in LA and I’m gonna have to make this a two parter due to sheer volume. First thing is the weather. At no time did I see any Ice or Snow and the last day it was nearly 70 and had my feet in the ocean!  I was contemplating how to get my family to where I was but that wasn’t really a choice.  Secondly I was in good company.  I was traveling with Mr. Jeff Bogle and we hung with lots of great people. 

Gotta get the tickets!

Gotta get the tickets!

Famous LA traffic!

Famous LA traffic!

  I arrived on Friday so I could check into the hotel,  pick up Grammy tickets and have a drink with a friend in downtown LA.  I have a penchant for fine whisky and we went to Seven Grand on his suggestion.  It didn’t disappoint. It was an early night thankfully because  Saturday started early and ended earlier… so to speak.  I awoke at 5:30 am (not by choice) having slept 8 hours and decided to go for a walk.  Afterward I made breakfast, showered and we (Jeff and I) were off and running.  Later that  morning was the Grammy Nominee kids concert followed by an Industry Luncheon at the Mint in LA.  The show was really good as you would expect from 5 Grammy nominated bands. 

Ticket Time!

Ticket Time!

 The Okee Dokees, Elizabeth Mitchell, The Pop Ups, Bill Harley and the JumpinJazz Kids were all excellent. 

Okee Dokees at Grammy Show

Okee Dokees at Grammy Nominee Show

Pop-Ups taking the stage

Pop-Ups taking the stage

The sound for the acts was excellent.  No small feat for the changing bands and styles.  A shout out to the sound guy at The Mint.  A job well done indeed.  So after the show there was the luncheon.  So everyone filed out onto the sidewalk while they set up tables and chairs for 100.  With the weather being beautiful it wasn’t a problem.  Artists signed autographs for kids and Industry folks mingled.  There I got introduced to Todd McHatton who’s I think I’m a Bunny” took the kids music world by storm two years ago.  It’s a really smart, funny, Henson-esque song with Todd’s daughter performing on it as well.  Go check it out cause it’s a lot of fun!  Then it was time for the luncheon and  I got to  renew friendships, start new relationships and hand out the new 4 song CD sampler to as many people as possible.   I had a short conversation in the back  with  Joe of the Okee Dokees, helped the Pop-Ups look for a lost item (they found it in the car) and then heard Bill Harley give a heck of a keynote speech about Sandy Hook.  It was honest and sincere and my thanks to Bill for being poignant without preachy.  Thanks Bill.


 Then as it wound down and the nominees ran off to their Grammy Nominee dinner  many collected outside and talked for another hour or so.  I handed out a few more CD’s. Then there was more talking and more laughing (my feet started to hurt) with Randy Kaplan, David Tobocman, Norm and Heather from Rythym Child and Mr Cookie Jar and whoever else I may be forgetting. Then some people were hungry and  it was time for some supper. 

Post Luncheon with Todd, Norm, Mista Cookie Jar and Jeff.

Post Luncheon with Todd, Norm, Mista Cookie Jar and Jeff.

So following the after luncheon gathering we headed off to a really great restaurant called the Mohawk Bend.  The place catered to vegetarians(a few in the group) and had a fine representation of nearly every California Brewery!  The food and beer were excellent.  I had a Deliverance Strong Ale which is barrel aged awesomeness from Lost Abbey Brewery.   I highly recommend it.  I also had a chance to talk to David Tobocman (check his music here) and his lovely wife KC, Gina McHatton, the McHatton kids and Rebecca who writes the Kids Can Grove blog (go check it out!) and of course my partner in crime for the weekend Jeff Bogle (OWTK).   Dinner and company proved to be excellent as did the desserts. (I had a home made salted caramel Ice Cream)  Lots of sharing makes a happy table.

So the Tobocmans had to leave (time to relieve the babysitter) and I thought we may head to the hotel.  Not when your rolling with the Bogle.  We then headed off to Griffith Park Observatory.  I had never been there and what a cool place it is.  They have a giant telescope (skipped it due to long lines), all kinds of cool science exhibits, a Tesla coil (check out the electricity) and it overlooks Los Angeles.  This was one of the highlights of my weekend. 

What a view!

What a view!


It's Electric!!!

It’s Electric!!!

What a totally cool place to visit.  One day I shall take my whole family out to LA and we shall stop at the Griffith Observatory.  Places like that make learning fun and inspire kids to inquire more about science. I’m ready to go take a science class myself!

I think I forgot to mention that Todd gave us all a sneak peek at a new CD coming out.  He’s been collaborating with Morgan Taylor (Gustafer Yellowgold) and that stuff we heard was really amazing.  Look for it in the next year you won’t be disappointed.  Anyway after hanging with the McHattons I figured we’d be headed back to the Hotel and drop Rebecca at hers…  Wrong again! 


Mels on Sunset.

When your rolling with the Bogle you roll all night.  So off to Mels where we met up with Mindy Thomas, Kenny Curtis and crew from KPL (Kids Place Live) and our friends the Okee Dokee Brothers.  Mindy and the Brothers were all dressed up having just come from the Grammy Nominee Dinner.  Kenny Curtis and his crew had been editing the Kids concert from the afternoon and broadcast it the same day…Phew!  That’s a job well done!  Anyway after a full day there was a lot of laughing,  a couple  beers,  a milkshake on the table and more laughing. 

KPL crew and Joe.

KPL crew and Joe.

Okees Dokees and Rebecca

Okees Dokees and Rebecca

So Kenny and the KPL producers headed home.  The rest of us stayed a bit longer laughing and talking about things I have been forever sworn to secrecy! Well we did talk about…. Nyet!  So finally we paid the bill and headed back to the hotel…  No really!  We dropped Rebecca off as she had an early flight and we went right back to the… 

Burger awesomeness!!!

Burger awesomeness!!!

And then we headed off to bed…   To Be Continued.

Kids titles you should have.

Christmas is coming and while I am not about to start playing holiday jingles in my house quite yet the subject of good kids music came up with another parent in our wiggleworms class today.  Right now there is an abundance of good kindie music out there for new parents looking. They also make great gifts.  I am happy to recommend a few CD’s that I think are truly excellent to get you started and also a few blogs who deal directly with the issue at hand.  Here are 5 titles in different genres to get you started on quality kids music.

Grenadilla – This is a fantastic vocal journey that amazes me to this day.  The whole album is full of happiness and joy.  This is the hidden gem of the bunch.

The Boogers-  Let’s Go.  This is their latest CD and if Punk Rock is your thing you and your kids will be rocking for hours with this one. The best at what they do.

Justin Roberts – Pop Fly.  There’s a reason why he was Grammy nominated for Jungle Gym this year.  Still Pop Fly is our fav and filled with great, tight pop songs.

The Verve Pipe – A Family Album.  This is the best kindie CD ever made.  Just great songs and a great band.  Great stuff!

Okee Dokee Brothers – Take it Outside.  Who knew bluegrass made for such great family music?  The Okee Dokee Brothers did and this CD is pure energy!

These are just to get you started.  These are also my 5 personal favorites and there are many more out there including our very own Poochamungas.   Now in terms of blogs who really follow this stuff you can’t go wrong with Zooglobble.  Stefan does a nice job of sorting though the huge amount of music there is out there these days and lets you know what’s good. The other is  Out with the Kids by Jeff Bogle.  He does a really nice job with music plus gives insights into parenthood from a Dads perspective.  I subscribe to both on Facebook.  So there you have my kindie music primer and a couple of resource to look into.  Talk to everyone soon and have a great day.