Tag Archives: The Not-its

Finally getting to my top ten

LoriHenriquesCDcoverThe last few weeks here have been not of my own determining.  My daughter had pneumonia two weeks ago and now after much prodding my wife finally went to the hospital and found that she now has pneumonia.  So A Man, A Band and a Plan HQ is sort of shutdown.  Any plans I had to write about the Grammy votes for bands I felt had made music worthy of voting on went out the door.  I will say that I did vote for Justin Roberts and The Boogers.  Both big supporters of the Poochamungas and both put out really great CD’s.  The other 3 votes went to really great bands who are among the ones I am listing below for my top ten this year and please ignore the order as anyone of these could easily be at the top of my list on on given day.

  1. Jambo – HootenannycdJambo-Hootenanny
  2. Justin Roberts – Recessjr recess
  3. The Not-Its – KidquakeTNI-KIDQUAKE-COVER_blog
  4. Alistair Moock – Singing Our Way Through: Songs for The Worlds Bravest Kids Bravest Kidsworlds bravest kids
  5. Francis England – Blink of an EyeFrances england blink of an eye
  6. The Boogers – Extractum Victoris
  7. Recess Monkey – Tambourine SubmarineCover_-_Extractum_small_hires_RBG-343x311
  8. Lucky Diaz – Fantasticofantastico
  9. Lori Henriques – A Curios Place to Live
  10. Josh and the Jamtones – Jujosh and the jamtones jump upmp Uprecess-monkey dsd
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Kindie at Lollapalooza and a song I wish I had written.

Hard rocking pop and a lot of fun!

Hard rocking pop and a lot of fun!

I have mentioned in the past that bands in our genre need to  promote each other.  No one band can play all the gigs and no one wants to listen to the same songs on the mp3 player all the time.  That there is plenty of room for everyone and we only help each other spread the word.  Well here’s my part.  If you read this and are attending Lollapalooza be sure to check out  The Not-Its! today on the kidzapalooza stage around 3pm.  They rock as hard as any power pop band I have ever scene and they are one of my daughters favorite bands.  Smart lyrics, tight riffs and great vocals… Go check em out!

1234Peace and Quiet is the song I can’t get out of my head.  It is off of a CD titled 1,2,3,4 by a great guy and musician Kurt Gallagher.  I mentioned Kurt in an earlier blog post about Kindiefest as a regional guy who makes a living playing music.  Well this song is a fine example of his talent.  A easy, laid back, funky shuffle of a song that nails it about a sibling complaing about the other sibling and their noise making ablility.  It’s funny, smart and ironic.  I love when a song captures a part of life like this one does.   I played it when I hosted the Hilltown Family Variety Show but you can also click the album title link and buy it on Amazon or go to iTunes or wherever.  But buy it.  Buy the whole album!  It’s a great song and I wish I had wrote it.

The long (uphill bothways) road ahead

Do you only play kiddie music.  That’s what a friend of mine asked recently when inquiring about my band. “Kiddie Music”. She wasn’t trying to demean what I do.  But that is the perception we as KINDIE musicians fight against every day.  You mention kids music and everyone pictures Barney and The Wiggles.   But that’s not what we do. My band sounds nothing like either one. I think a lot of this has to do with the age of media and especially video.  Nobody turns on the radio.  Everything is now on a flat screen with surround sound.  Even in cars more and more people play videos for their kids.  Everyone is lumped into the same bowl.  But it’s a disservice to the music available.  Right now the KINDIE genre is a rich and diverse musical landscape.  To compare Brady Rymer to the Wiggles is like comparing Beyonce to U2.  It’s just not the same type of music.  Sure Beyonce and U2 both play music but you would never mistake one for the other.  Same thing in KINDIE Music.  We in the Poochamungas have adopted this slogan.  GOOD MUSIC KNOWS NO AGE.  But because we play for kids and families we get stereotyped with Barney, Wiggles and Sesame Street.  But we sound nothing like any of them.  The Poochamungas sound nothing like The Not It’s, Justin Roberts, The Boogers or Grenadilla either.  The only thing each of these bands have in common is they make really great music.  So parents, critics and anyone reading this. Do all of us KINDIE folk a favor and listen…  and then judge.  That’s all we ask. If you do that I’m sure some of this “kiddie” music is sure to surprise you.   If you want more info on this please check out my friend Stefan Sheperds Kindie Manifesto on ZooGlobble.  He goes further in depth on the subject and a read I highly recommend.

Coopertition: the nature of the business

Four new songs off of our Upcoming CD!

Four new songs off of our Upcoming CD!

Coopetition or Co-opetition (sometimes spelled “coopertition” or “co-opertition”) is a neologism coined to describe cooperative competition. Coopetition is a portmanteau of cooperation and competition.”  So it says in wilkepedia. I first heard it used by a woman here in Chciago.  It is a pretty good term to describe what it is to try and get gigs and radio play all the while wondering why someone elses CD is getting played and NOT MINE and  yet at the same time appreciating the excellence of other artists.  The simple fact is there are only so many gigs to go around and someone is bound to get left behind.  This also means that you cannot play every gig everywhere so others are going to need to fill in those other slots as well.  It is in the nature of artists to self promote hard because until you hire a publicist or gather a following of substance no one is going to do it for you. This can lead to a bit of tunnel vision.  Because you can promote only so much and call for only so many gigs as there are only so many hour in the day (This is in addition to most of us have working full time jobs with families.) Plus in the last blog I mentioned the face with a name. The booking manager may not know you but a word from a fellow musician they do know can help.   It’s nice to get a little help.  So I have made it a rule to help fellow musicians I like and respect so long as they do the same in return.  Have a gig in an area I have friends I’m sure to send a message or email to them.  Sure to pass your event along on facebook.  If your coming to Chicago and I can help get a gig or bring more fans to the show excellent.  But when my new song or CD  comes out and I ask you to promote it and I get no response or a “sure thing” with no action.  I take note.  When I ask about gigs in your area and get the silent treatment.    I’m not gonna hunt you down or send multible emails or badmouth you on facebook.    I will stop liking your band.  I will not recommend you for gigs.  I firmly believe in what comes around goes around.  Thankfully most people in the kids music business are pretty decent folk.  So while I’m trying like hell right now to promote my new CD and get new gigs I  try to help those that I can at the same time and yet understand that they’re gonna get some gig that I’m not. I’m not gonna say that doens’t cause frustration sometimes.  But I’m trying to be a big picture guy and avoid getting tunel vision.  So while I’m pushing hard for the Poochamungas I just went and saw a Gustafer Yellowgold

Just went  to his Schubas show.

Just went to his Schubas show.

show (cool, quirky songs and great animation).  Even posted it on Facebook to let my friends know.  Also a big fan of the new Not-It’s CD called Kidquake.

Great new CD by the Not Its!

Great new CD by the Not Its!

So go visit their websites and have a listen and don’t forget to listen to the new songs we have posted over on Reverbnation (a little self promotion) and try to see the big picture.  I know I’m trying.

The performance is the thing, bands that have it and upcoming shows.

Well it’s less than two weeks till our rare “evening gig” at the Independence Tap for FretKnot Friday.  It got me to thinking about bands that I have seen perform in the kindie world who I find truly exceptional.  There are a lot of great acts out there but then there are those who reach to the next level.  The Poochamungas are finding their stride.  We perform the music well which is about 3/4 of the battle.  As a band we hear each other, give each other space on the songs and really have come together as a group over the last three years.  However our performance part could be better.  I think it’s good but I know it can get better and it’s getting there no doubt.  Band/audience interaction is another 20% of the puzzle in my opinion.   Our sax player leading the kids train during Train Rolls On, the sax/ harmonica duels,  banter from the many band members, the animal impersonations and bad jokes.   We get on well with the audience no doubt.  But all that stuff takes practice.  It’s not enough to just play music in the family music realm.  You also have to entertain kids and parents alike if you’re looking play more than once at a location.  So here is my list of 6 bands you should see live, agreed upon by my expert panel. That’d be me and the daughter.

The Boogers – Punk rock kindie trio the best at what they do. Your kids will think so too!

The Not-It’s – Power Pop, great look and the songs  totally rock an audience.  We  Love the tutu’s and ties and so does the audience!

Brady Rymer –  Brady and a Washboard Player rocked 200 people at the James Hotel during Lollapalooza.  Everyone was up and dancing.  His last CD shoulda at least been nominated for a Grammy.

Justin Roberts – What all bands should strive for.  Great pop songs, talented band and a whole lot of fun.  Banter, puppets and dancing for the whole family.

Trout Fishing in America – Great music, no gimmicks.  How 2 guys make so much sound is amazing and their connection with the audience is amazing as well. Listen to the live “Out the Window” recording on Kids Place Live and tell me you don’t feel part of the audience.

This is just our favorite six.  Actually talking to my daughter today she also brought up the Okee Dokee Brothers.  If you like banjo driven bluegrass and great lyrics. We do!  They put on a really good show as a duo or with their full band.  Also you can never go wrong with The Verve Pipe.  The only reason they’re not on the list is I’m still bitter over watching them sing 6 part harmony.  That’s just wrong.  Go see them as they are really good as well.  So that’s our top 8.  I’d better stop now or I’ll never finish.

So the Poochamungas are playing an evening show this coming Friday, April 13th at Fretknot Friday.  It’s held every 2nd Friday at the Independence Tap here in Chicago.  A combination of open mic and bands and started by an  Old Town School of Folk Music members it’s really a lot of fun.  I have attended a few times and because Don our Bass Player is a regular (he was a founding father) and he wanted to bring the band and the band said yes.  So we’ll be playing sometime after 1opm.  Come on by and I’ll buy you a beer and hear some songs we never do.  It’ll be a good time!

Kiddie vs. Kindie – NOT THE SAME.

Today I read two articles (thanks Zooglobble) about kids music or  referred to as “kiddie” music and let me tell you at first I got really angry!  One was by an artist who made a “kids”  CD but is not a kid artist and the other was a music reviewer on Deadspin.  

Laura Veirs is a respected artist who makes good music and I got to say I really like what I have heard.  She delves into an old folk music children’s CD (Tumble Bee) and does it well.  But in her own words she says she made a “kids album” and is not a kids artist.  She is playing kids show at Old Town School of Folk Music in support of the new CD, a detour as she calls it… But I digress.  She said the “bar is kind of low ” in children’s music and…  I would have to AGREE.   IF  you had only listened to what the mainstream offers (Wiggles, Dora, Barney, and Kidz Bop, etc). The offerings are really pretty lame. Which is what the article in Deadspin by Dadspin writer Drew Magary states quite graphically (he minces no words so be warned).  This is why the whole “kindie” movement was born!  But how many people subscribe and listen to Kids Place Live on Sirius/XM (home of the kindie movement) or follow shows like Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl,  Imagination Parade,  Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child and others which usually play once weekly.  Kindie radio is only a tiny segment of the entire broadcast world.  Most kids music people hear these days is on the TV and most of it is pretty lame.  Now they (Laura and Drew) might of meant all kids music but I find that hard to believe (I may be wrong).  Because the bar set by bands like Recess Monkey, Justin Roberts, Grenadilla, Brady Rymer, They Might be Giants, The Not-Its, The Boogers and Trout Fishing in America, etc, is pretty darn high. Because the quality of their music is really, really good.   I know cause I am trying to reach the bar right now as I make another CD.    So while I fervently disagree with a blanket statement over kids music being “lame” or “the bar is kinda low” that’s the perception we as “kindie” artists  try to change every day.  Whenever we play a show,  a DJ spins one of our tunes on the radio or someone listens on iTunes. That excellence in music is excellence in music whether your playing for kids, punks or folkies.  Or as my friend Jim Cosgrove put it… ” I love the Beatles and when my daughter plays I Saw Her Standing There over and over, it gets annoying. But, so what. If it touches her soul and keeps her dancing and singing, who cares what I think. It’s not about me. The Barney theme song may drive you or me to shove pencils into our ears, but if it brings joy to a child, that makes it worthwhile music.”  Which I agree with except for Barney.   Really Cosgrove?  You had to go with Barney? 

Quiet for December and Grammy Schmammy.

Right now the Poochamungas are on a bit of a hiatus.  The holidays arrived and we have no gigs till next year.  We have however been busy in the studio making the new magic happen and the work has been going steadily.  Getting the right players in the same room at the same time is always the trouble.  Jobs, kids, work and assorted other stuff are the hurdles that face a lot of bands BEFORE they even play a note.  Note to self… If ever re-incarnated be sure to start a band in you late teens early 20’s.  Fewer distractions and responsibility!  But I digress…

So the Grammy award nominees came out for the children’s music category and the kindie world is a bit upset.  Seems that a lot of bands I never heard of (and I  heard a lot) were nominated.  There are a bunch of websites that dealt with the injustice.  Zooglobble and Out with the Kids, are two that really nail it.  So other than my disappointment in the nominees you should go read those and watch Jeff Bogles video Blog.  Oh and go buy Brady Rymers Love Me for who I Am(He really deserved a nod this year.  That and The Not-Its were the two most popular in this family.)  Do yourself a favor and read the Fids and Kamily top ten.   It’ll give you a really good list of great CD’s put out this year and I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the CD’s you should play to keep your sanity and the kids interested.  Of course don’t forget to get our CD first!