Tag Archives: Todd McHatton

2013 Remem-blurred!

The backyard view.

The backyard view.

New Zealand started out the year as my friend Nick invited us (the wife and I) to his wedding in January (amazing). Seems it’s been full-speed-ahead-try-to-catch-up-break-neck-pace-all-year-long. The year I went to the Grammys.  Many thanks to Jeff Bogle for making it an epic adventure there as well. What a great time thanks to the McHattons (TESLA!)

It's Electric!!!

It’s Electric!!!

, Okee Dokee Brothers, Mindy Thomas, David Tobocman, Debbie Block, Bill Harley and everyone else I got to hang with including new kindie blogger Rebecca Yorn Allison (Kids Can Grove)  Then there was a the last kindiefest ever! Didn’t know it at the time but many thanks to Bill, Stephanie, Mona and Tor for making it happen.  What a great time and I really did learn a thing or two from the panels but so much more from the people!

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

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

Story Laurie, Dean Jones (thanks for the beer), MCJ (always brings it funky), The McHatton clan (Such a great family), Mindy Thomas, Kenny Curtis. Rod Martin , Chris Wiser, Paul Butler, Dave Loftin, Paul Stark, Steve Songs, Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes, Ralph, Jeff Bogle (again), Stefan Shepard, Rebecca Yorn Allison, Brady Rymer, Bridgette Rymer, Melissa Levis, Jacob Stein, Charlie Hope, Little Miss Ann, Mr Singer and the Sharp Cookies (good luck on the new school), Jack Forman, Drew Holloway, Korum Bischoff (Great addition to the School Break Primates) David Wax Museum (one of my favorite CD’s I heard this year!), Molly Ledford (I promise to be quiet next time), Morgan Taylor, Jason Rabinowitz, Joanie Leeds, Mr Kurt Gallagher (Peace and Quiet is a great song!), Lucky Diaz, Alisha Gaddis, Johnny Bregar (Polly’s Rain Dance is Awesome), Sean Hogan (Welcome to Fatherhood brother!), Kathy O’Connel (the Grand Dame of kindie), Danny Adamson, Tom Baisden (union brothers unite!), Tim Kubart (Congrats Chica Dude!), Beth Blenz-Clucas, Tito Uquillas and whoever I’m forgetting.  Just send me a note and I’ll add you to the list. Then we had a few gigs, finished our second CD, got some national exposure (thanks Elizabeth), played some more, kids kept growing, my daughter soloed in ice skating, my son jammed with me daily, listened to a lot of great music and wrote about a bunch of it. Went to CHITAG (thanks Rock Father). Frances england blink of an eyeWe also had family bouts of pnemonia, respitory ailments, colds and flus  and car crashes (no one injured).  My daughter just turned nine and my son will in a few months turn 4.  I joined a group of Dad Bloggers on Facebook (some seriously funny stuff).  Reconnected with some Pine Forest Camp folks from my youth.  Lost some weight and managed to keep it off.  On the right track closing out the year.  It was a interesting year to be sure and the growth has been good.  Thanks to all who have read the pages here and to those who inspire me to write and get better at it.  Hope everyone learned from 2013 and I wish them and theirs a Happy 2014.

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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.

Pre-Kindiefest – Day 1- 2013

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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

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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.

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 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!

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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!

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.