Tag Archives: School

School Break Primates (aka Recess Monkey) are at it AGAIN!

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I mentioned while talking about Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and his wonderful Imaginary Friend (on The Perfect Quirk, June 24) was sharing space in the coveteded car CD slot with WIRED by Recess Monkey.  This is one my favorite CD’s this year.  I could go on and on about the entire CD. How they recorded in San Francisco with John Vanderslice, recorded it on 2″ tape, a minivan of unused instruments but I already did that in my interview with Drew Hollaway… Opening track Take Your Kid To Work Day is just electric mayhem (sounds like a name for a band…). Seriously this one song gets you pumped up for the whole day. Great funky bass, smokin’ guitar licks and primal drums rhythms all make you want to dance.  Lyrically it’s just so much fun as a kid describesrecess monkey segway a day at dad’s (or moms) workplace. The whole CD is reflected in the vibe of this one song which will be available to you on JUNE 17th.  GO!  This is an amazing CD and you should buy it on pre-sale today. Go support a kindie artist today!

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Fire Engineer… A whole new world.

Airport Crashrig. Yet another type of engine!

Airport Crashrig. Yet another type of engine!

We have nearly completed half of Fire Engineer school here in Chicago and it’s been a lot to learn for me and my fellow students.  Everyday we are learning new terms, math and everything it takes to do the job.  As a firefighter you take the Engineer for granted when your at a fire because all he has to do is drive you there, send the water and be first in the food line for meals.  Easy peasy.  Well maybe not always.  Seems the engineer has a few things to do before he sends the water. If your relieving (Assigned to a district instead of a specific firehouse.  Lot’s of travel.) like I’ll be doing for a while the first thing he’ll need to do is know what kind of rig your on and what kind of hoses, pipes and other stuff that particular engine company carries. Then when the bell rings…  What’s the best route to  to the fire?  After arriving on scene does he has a fire hydrant or is he sending tank water?  If sending tank water he only has 500 gallons so how long will that last on a hose spewing out 150 gallons per minute?  Where can he acquire a water source while he is on tank water?  Is the fire hydrant frozen (a very common occurrence this winter) is another engine gonna need to feed him water and so on…  Some of these things he’ll have the officers help with but once the officer heads into the fire he is on his own.  Gives one a new appreciation for what they do. Hopefully I learn me a thing or two before the class is through.  Because without water at a fire things can turn bad quickly.

Not the weekend I planned, Acts to see and here come the Fierce Frogs!

come sundayToday was Sunday.  The day I get to spend with my family as long as I’m not at the firehouse.   I had hoped to head over to the City Winery and catch Come Sunday perform at brunch with my family. They have some fantastic vocalists and the jazz gospel they bring is like listening to pure joy.   That was my plan.  Life’s plan was to saddle my son with throwing up and general misery. Life’s plan always wins.  It’s when you can line up Life’s plan with your own that things seem to go according to plan and even then…   If things go according to plan the rest of the week I would be at the Hideout Monday or Tuesday to see Robbie Fulks and Nora O’Connor respectively.  Friday Expo 76 is playing at 27 Live in Evanston as well.  There is a Plethora of local talent to fill the soul with some awesome music here in the Chicago area.  As I write this Steve Earle is in town at the City Winery which I shall not be attending. Maybe next time. Go support a musician today!

Here is the blog premiere of the video I wrote and produced for my children’s school.  Many thanks to the folks that made it possible.  Thank you Cheryl Lacost for letting us use the school to record the song. Thanks to the great teachers education my kids.   The credits are as follows.

  • Dave Degand – Vocals
  • John Huber – Banjo
  • Don Zaloudek – Bass
  • Frank Izzo – Drums
  • John Joyce – Acoustic Guitar
  • Kevin Carey – 12 String Guitar
  • Alton Smith – Keys
  • Brickton Students – Fierce Frog Choir
  • Chris Wyer – Camera Work
  • Joe Somers – Video editor
  • John Abbey –  recording
  • Kevin Carney – recording, mixing and mastering.

The Song and the Process. Picky Eater by Brady Rymer

brady rymerIt should come as no surprise I’d find my way round’ to interviewing Brady Rymer.  I have championed his Love Me For Who I Am CD on this blog a few times and even named an award after him for the Best Kids CD not nominated for a Grammy (First annual “Rymer” this year awarded to Frances England.)  But I digress…  Upon listening this seems a pretty direct song.  Picky Eater is really a universal song about those who choose not to eat many of life’s great foods and how when on a plate they “should not mingle”.  It’s got a bit of a funky reggae rhythm and it’s quite infectious in its joy of not eating certain delectable dishes. Unless it comes to dessert which has no sort of restrictions.  Just like my own children. They might not like dinner but they always have room for ice cream.  The great thing about this song is that it’s origin lay a bit deeper than expected. Seems Brady has been playing regular gigs at Celebrate celebrate schoolthe Children School in New Jersey which is a school for kids with autism, aspergers and other related disorders. He thought he should write songs for that audience, that they could own.  But also the idea those songs also be universal. So with the help of the school (they sent a list of song titles) he came up with songs to be on the CD, Picky Eater being one of them. By intertwining his experience with his own kids (one a picky eater) , his childhood and the song title he had been sent Picky Eater was born.  This isn’t his usual way of writing songs, not that he has a set songwriting style. Sometimes it starts with a hook and sometimes strumming a guitar sorting out big ideas while humming.  He had never before started with a title and worked from there. When these titles arrived he grabbed his guitar and excitedly got to working. It was a nice change of pace and with Picky Eater he developed an over abundance of material.  Once he gets to writing he usually gets on a roll.  In this case he ends up having to shorten the song.  Now that he has these songs he heads over to Budd Lake, New Jersey where his friend, musician and teacher at Celebrate the Children School, Dan Myers, has his dirt floor studiosstudio (Dirt Floor Studios).  Dan also helped compile the list of song titles along with school founder Monica Osgood (they both got writing credits).  The two of them (Brady and Dan) get to recording the majority of the songs with just the two of them playing all the instruments (you should be impressed).  Only adding other musicians when necessary.  Brady recorded his vocal track live while he played an electric guitar.  He felt recording his vocals while playing helps give the songs a “live” feeling. They used a drum sampler called EZ Drummer to give them a grove and added the live percussion with Dan Sadownick later.  Brady worked on a couple songs at a time for this recording, traveling from his home in Long Island, NY to Budd Lake,New Jersey.  I’d say the travel was well worth it as the song turned out quite infectious. The brilliance of the song is it’s universal appeal but knowing the origin is anything but universal.   Anyone who ever had a child say no at a dinner table will empathize with this song.  I should mention that Brady has a brand new CD coming out this year called Just Say Hi! and can also be found playing bass with the Laurie Berkner band not to mention he has gotten back together with the love me for...band From Good Homes who play a few shows a year.  Do yourself a favor and check out the Love Me for Who I Am website, listen to the songs (Picky Eater is second) and go buy the CD.  It’s an amazing piece of work celebrating those who don’t always fit “the norm” but deserve to be heard and celebrated!

 

https://bradyrymerandthelittlebandthatcould.bandcamp.com/track/picky-eater

The trouble you ask for, The Big Leap and Thank You Kindieverse

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Tonight is the benefit for Brickton Montessori School called The Big Leap.  A bit of wordplay there because the schools mascot is a frog. A Fierce Frog to be exact.  Fighting Frogs don’t quite fit the school and I for one like the uniqueness of the Fierce Frog.  Well I decided the frog needed a theme song and in one of those motivated/inspirational/get’r done moments I wrote a song for the aforementioned Fierce Frogs.  Having the song wasn’t enough because once written it NEEDED to be recorded (if only in my head).  My kids really liked theOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA song and my wife did as well so… after calling a couple studios on short notice with no luck I called a friend (Kevin Carney) who does remote recordings and with the help Cheryl Lacost (Head of the School) arranged for the song to be recorded at our school. The I got fellow parent Dave Degand to sing on it and Brickton Teacher John Huber to play on it (banjo was his idea) as well plus Frank and Don of the Poochamungas. A rough track was sent to everyone involved so they could practice at home and  John and I got a rehearsal in on Friday and  Saturday last week we laid it down.  This as in last Saturday!  The recording went well.  John Huber’s banjo playing ended up driving the song as well as Dave’s expressive vocals.  It was still missing something (again my artistic vision).  Just needed to add some piano because in my head the piano is needed and managed to get Alton Smith (Poochamungas) to play and add harmonies and John Abbey to record on a Wednesday afternoon and then delivered those tracks to Kevin that night which he mixed and had to me by the next morning. You would think that’s enough but if your gonna have a theme song you should have a video to go with it.  Wednesday I also spent the morning shooting clips in the school for the song which we had just recorded.  Many thanks to Chris Wyer for coming out OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwith his awesome HD camera and helping capture a Brickton School Day.  So Kevin finished the song Wednesday night. Phew… But that’s not all.  Fellow Brickton parent Joe Somers is edited all the video to go along with the song for the fundraiser tonight!  TONIGHT!  Saturday, February 15th at 6:30pm. TONIGHT!!!  Which he has just dropped off and it looks AWESOME!!! All I can say is thank you to eveyone who helped it was a lot of work but a lot of fun.  If yor interested in seeing the video it’s World Premiere will be at the benefit tonight and tickets are still available on the Brickton website.

Here is a shameless plug and link to all the artists that sent me CD’s for the benefit. Many thanks!!!  Go support one of these kindie artists today!!!

First First day of school

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe has gone and done it.  He has gotten to the age where he can go to school and he could not be more excited.  He was running around last night and this morning all he was all fired up.  He did great at the orientation on Monday and now is ready to rock and roll the school day away.  So much so that when I stood at the door in the “I’m ready for a hug position” he gave me a wave… A WAVE?  This is my guy who I hung out with everyday I wasn’t working and I got “The Wave” with a smile.  It was a bit ego bruising to be sure.  Summer is officially over and the house is very quiet as I type this.  Hopefully I get a big hug when I go pick him up.  That’d make this dad very happy.

End of the summer too soon

Tomorrow my daughter goes back to school. The inevitable return.  The school year was moved up because of eliminating the different school tracks and putting all CPS on the same schedule.  We were left with a short summer because of the strike combined with this earlier starting date.  I know some parents are glad for the kids to be back.  I understand with sitters and work and camps and life it’s easier for some families when the kids are in school.  Well around here the Mrs. and I feel we just got our summer stride and it’s gone!  Not only does my girl return for 3rd grade, my boy starts preschool half days!  My year round partner is growing up too fast following in his sisters footsteps.  I won’t say that having a few hours in the morning isn’t a nice thing, it’s just that it could have waited another month. When I was ready for it.  Now is just too soon. Would of preferred a couple more bike rides, walks to the park and swimming in the neighbors pool.  But that’s the nature of the universe.  It always hands you today those thing you hope will land on a later day.  Well time to move forward. We still have some  warm weekends ahead.  Hope everyone had a great summer and here’s to a happy, safe and healthy school year.