Dads Who Rock! Father’s Day Q&A featuring Alex Mitnick of Alex & the Kaleidescope

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PA-based kids’ musician, Alex Mitnick of Alex & the Kaleidescope, will soon welcome a second baby into his family. When Alex became a father for the first time with his son Miles (now 2-years-old), he was so overjoyed that he wrote an entire album, Love Songs for My Baby, which he released as a solo album in 2014, which is just so sweet and soothing. One thing I have always been fond of with Alex, whether solo or with his band, is his soothing voice, uplifting energy and the multi-cultural aspect of his sound.

Alex shares, “When living day to day with a baby one must master the art of letting go, and I think this is especially true for men. I am a busy person. I have big dreams that I am working hard to achieve. Nothing has ever stopped me or come in the way of getting my work done until now! And, I’ll admit, that can be a very difficult thing to do. I found myself struggling at first with being present with the baby when I had so much I wanted to do. That quickly faded however when I realized that whatever I was seeking in my work I would actually receive ten times over by being absolutely present and available to my son. Whether it was in the middle of the night or way early in the morning, he became my meditation, and the relief and joy that I experienced after coming to this realization was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

Alex has since moved on to become the producer of his own TV program for children which takes kids around the world with clips filled with rich educational content, and music videos. A new Alex & the Kaleidoscope album, Get On Board, will be released on October 9, 2015. Keep up with Alex through his official site, Facebook, and Twitter to find out how you can get your hands on a copy of Get On Board. In the meantime, check out Alex’s music through his official site.

Get to know this Dad who rocks with some additional Father’s Day Q&A where Alex shares about how being a parent continues to inspire him, while also providing a successful path that continues to fuel his creative path. Also check out a sweet Father’s Day video for “Feelin’ Fine,” which was written in honor of Alex’s son, Miles.

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KCG: What does being a Dad mean to you?
AM: I have always felt deeply connected to children and to all that they represent in terms of our human potential. Their immense capacity to learn and absorb information, their honesty and ability to love both people and the world around them and the way that they truly live in the present moment at all times has been the inspiration for my work as an entertainer and teacher for my entire adult life. Becoming a Dad affirmed all of this and truly completed the circle of my life as a children’s artist. I believe more than ever that the best way to create a better world for us all is to lift our children up and to show them by example how truly amazing life can be. Let’s face it, life is really hard, but, every minute spent with my son is another chance to be positive, patient, loving, and fun and I am grateful for each and every one of those moments.

KCG: How has your work as a musician/artist been impacted by your role as a father? Also, if you are a touring musician, how does that affect the time you spend with your family?
AM: I’m now not only a producer of kid’s media but also a consumer and can see more than ever the value of truly high-quality experiences for my son.  As a consumer I am always looking for entertainment that balances stimulation and fun with intelligence and sensitivity to the developmental needs of children. I cannot help but to think about these things as I write new songs, perform live concerts and produce more episodes of my TV show.

So, now, as a parent, I am basically creating the music and video that I want my own children to consume. In terms of balancing the musician life with family life it is a challenge for sure but I am grateful for the support of my wife and extended family without whom I couldn’t keep working as hard as I do.

KCG: What are your plans for Father’s Day?
AM: I don’t have specific plans yet (at least none that I know of) but I’ll be very happy to turn off my phone, close my computer and spend the entire day with my wife and son doing something fun together as a family.

KCG: What is one of the most memorable moments you’ve had as a Dad?
AM: Wow. This is a hard question to answer with a single moment! My son is about two and a half now and witnessing the language explosion that is happening to him is truly amazing. It’s not so much the vocabulary itself but all of the little nuances and funny inflections of his voice that are clearly his own unique expressions. Watching him become his own little person is truly mind blowing.

KCG: How often to do you play music with your son? Does he perform with you?
AM: Every day! Whether it’s tapping on the steering wheel or having my son at one of my concerts or simply singing a few songs before bed music is a big part of our family’s everyday life. My son doesn’t perform with me but he loves to get on the mic during sound checks and sing songs! It’s hilarious. My opening act!

Dads Who Rock! Father’s Day Q&A featuring Keeth Monta Apgar of The Harmonica Pocket

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Keeth Monta Apgar, master songwriter and multi-instrumentalist for the Northwest-based group, The Harmonica Pocket, delivers rich vocals in harmony with his wife, Nala Walla.

TheHarmonicaPocketSundropsRecently, The Harmonica Pocket released their fourth third full-length children’s album called Sundrops. The recording of the album, as well as previous albums, took place in a solar powered studio on a tiny island in Puget Sound, Washington, where they live.

Prior to the release of their third album, Apple Apple, Keeth and Nala welcomed their first child, Montana, into the world. As a result, many of the songs reflect the experiences and bond they have as a family while also celebrating the natural world that surrounds them on their little island.

Below Keeth shares his thoughts on Father’s Day, and how he is inspired through creative play and his 4-year-old’s wonderfully magical imagination.

Stay tuned for a new video from The Harmonica Pocket, and keep up with the band through their official site, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can listen to and purchase Sundrops through iTunes, and Amazon.


KCG: What are you planning to do for Father’s Day?
KA: Kick back.  Hang with my family.  Eat some food.  Play a little, dream a little, live a little.

KCG: What is the best thing about being a dad?
KA: For me the best thing about being a father is getting down on my belly and playing.  I love entering the magical, non-linear world of kids and there is nothing more magical than a 4 year-old’s imagination.  This creative play is very inspiring to me as an artist and as a grownup.

KCG: What is the hardest thing about being a dad (especially if you are a touring artist)?
KA: As I type, my son Montana approaches me and says “What are you doing, Papa?”  I show him the computer screen with multiple windows open and point to the day’s to-do list.  He looks it all over briefly and says “Work is play,” as he heads out the screen door. Yup.

The hardest thing about being a father is carving out time to be with my family, to be present and enjoy the moment and not be thinking about the varied tasks screaming for my attention. It’s maddening and I know I do not hold a monopoly on this aspect of parenthood.  Kids are only young for a short time and then they’re off to live their own lives. I’m definitely aware that the childhood clock is ticking, and want to be as present as I can manage.

KCG: How often do you play music/sing with your son?
KA: In our tiny, one-room house we have instruments everywhere.  They hang on the walls and are overflowing various baskets and crates, ready to bust out at any moment.  I’ve found when musical instruments are handy, they get played the most.  We sing and bang and toot almost everyday—some of these improvisations end up turning into songs on our albums.

KCG: Do your kids join you during performances?
KA: Our son was on stage in utero. After he was born we would tour with a nanny who would hang with him during shows.

One day, just after his 2nd birthday, the nanny bailed on us two hours before the show.  When we arrived at the venue I set up an extra mic for him and set his ukulele on a chair.  Twenty minutes before showtime he woke up from his nap and I told him he was going to play a show with us.  He walked right up to his chair and sat down, ready to play.  We laughed and told him we still had some time to use the potty and get ready for the show.  He rocked it, and has been on stage with us ever since.

Dads Who Rock! Father’s Day Q&A featuring Jon Babu from Here Comes Trouble

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Happy Father’s Day!
I hope you’ve been enjoying my Q&A features over the past week with Dads Who Rock. It’s been fun to hear everyone’s experience and point of view and how they integrate music into their families lives, as well as how they find a balance between musical and parental lifestyles.
Today’s feature is the first of several I will be publishing to close out the holiday. Jon Babu, along with his wife, Kelly Donohue, are in the DC-based kindie band, Here Comes Trouble. Kelly’s soulful voice leads the group while Jon’s drumming keeps up a wicked beat to give the band their punchy sound. 
Jon is an outstanding jazz drummer, in addition to being a tax attorney and a kids’ musician. He was trained at New England Conservatory of Music  (both he and his wife, Kelly, received double undergraduate degrees in English from Tufts University and in Jazz Performance from NEC). They worked and studied with such jazz greats as Ran Blake, Dominique Eade and Bob Moses. Babu has extensive experience with the sticks and has performed and recorded with a number of bands, toured Germany with a jazz trio and headlined with the hip hop group Red Time, gaining a diverse palette of experience that filters into the jazzy/funky/punk inspired sounds of Here Comes Trouble.

Together Jon and Kelly have two kids: 10-year-old Jack and 6-year-old Nora. In addition to being a kids’ musician, Jon also leads a double life as a tax attorney at an accounting firm in Bethesda, MD.  It was when their son Jack was about 5-years-old that Jon and Kelly realized that their kids knew nothing of their parents’ musical background. After a disappointing search for quality children’s entertainment for Jack’s fifth birthday party, they decided to do something about it and formed Here Comes Trouble in 2010. Together with some musician friends, they wrote and rehearsed a full set of original songs just in time for their Jack’s party, and Here Comes Trouble was off and running from that point onward.

Here Comes Trouble’s debut album, Goo On My Shoe, was recently released and is available for download and purchase through their official site. Keep up with the band through their Facebook page.
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Below Jon offers some Father’s Day insight, as well as episode one of a drumming essentials tutorial recorded in honor of keeping Jack, as well as other young drummers inspired to keep up with their craft. Jon’s expert advice starts with one of the most iconic skills, stick twirling, followed by a demonstration of him crushing it on his own kit with the kids jumpin’ on a trampoline behind him. Another iconic picture…of work/life balance!
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KCG: What does being a Dad mean to you?
JB: I’ve always wanted to be a dad – long before I considered being a musician.  It is the most important thing I do in this world.
KCG: What is the best thing about being a dad?

JB: I think I have the best kids in the world, and I know them in a way that no one else can (it is not always easy – ask me another time and my answer may be different!). They’re really fun, cool people and I get to see them at their best and their worst, and I love having the relationship with them that I do.

KCG: How has your work as a musician/artist been impacted by your role as a father? Also, if you are a touring musician, how does that affect the time you spend with your family?
JB: When I got out of college I was ready to move to New York, sleep in someone’s closet, and play as much music as possible until I could do it as a career. Now, the idea of committing that much time to performing doesn’t seem realistic, in my opinion. I do miss performing, especially at a higher level than I can reach these days. I know people maintain touring schedules and parenting duties, but for me I don’t know how I could do that with young kids (…unless they were out there with me – maybe I need to work on that plan!). On the other hand, whenever I get a chance to play music with people these days, whether it’s with my wife and our band (Here Comes Trouble), or some of the other folks I play with, I have the BEST time. I appreciate every chance I have to get out and play with people, now that I don’t do it as often as I used to.

KCG: What are your plans for Father’s Day?
JB: This is a big weekend for me – my birthday is on Saturday, so it is a double whammy. I’ll be turning…well, I’ll be over 32.  🙂  I will probably grill something for dinner – cooking is one of those household duties that I really like to do. Preparing food for your family and having them actually like it is a real treat!  We will probably watch a Science Fiction movie as well, if there are any left that we can watch as a family. I have really indoctrinated our kids into the Sci-Fi/Fantasy world, so that they are really into those movies. My wife is not a big Sci-Fi fan, so she is not terribly happy with this development…

KCG: What is one of the most memorable moments you’ve had as a Dad?
JB: We went snow tubing this winter.  Before we got there, both kids were whining and complaining about going – probably because it was my wife’s idea and they never want to admit she has any good ideas.  By the time we left the mountain, we had to drag the kids back to the car because they had so much fun.  They were both asleep before we’d even gotten on the highway to come home.  I love those kinds of days – when no one is in a good mood and then everyone turns it around and has a great time.  That was a really fun day.

KCG: How often to do you play music with your kids? Do they perform with you?
JB: Both kids go in and out of phases with music.  Our son has been playing saxophone and we’ve been trying to think of ways to get him in on some of our songs with Here Comes Trouble.  But now he’s talking about giving it up and trying something else.  Both kids have good voices, so they sang on our last CD.  The video I sent is in part my attempt to get them interested in the drums, since we have drums and cymbals lying all over our house and it would be great if they would use them!  I remember taking guitar lessons when I was 7, and within a month I lost interest because it wasn’t fun.  So this video is meant to try to get our kids and other kids to pick up some drumsticks and do something fun with them, rather than focusing immediately on rudiments and sight reading.  That stuff is important, but we need to learn about showmanship and have some fun too!

Dads Who Rock! Father’s Day Q&A featuring Josh Shriber of Josh and the Jamtones

unnamed (1)Josh and the Jamtones are a Boston-based group known for their killer live performances, and hilarious improvisational banter. Their energetic Roots rock/Reggae style is high octane for little feet, which seem to go at full speed while joining in a dance party led by the group’s charismatic frontman, Josh Shriber.

Prior to the formation of the Jamtones, Shriber started up a program/performance center called “Jammin’ With You!” where about 350 kids per week are introduced to music in a variety of ways. For the smallest jammers, also known as Jamkids, there are in-home lessons on any of 10+ instruments, i.e. piano, guitar, voice, drums, beatboxing, etc. If they feel like jamming in a more public environment with other kids, they can go to the center to join a rockin’ band. In addition, there is Stageplay and StageJam where kids put on a show and learn theater basics, games, singing, and even mic technique.

Since producing their first kindie album in 2012, the Jamtones have soared on to release a DVD movie based on their last album Bear Hunt and have their music and videos play in Chuck E. Cheese restaurants around the country.

These guys are unstoppable and worthy of a prominent placement in your music collection. Look out for their forthcoming album, Rock Steady, due out this summer.

For today’s Father’s Day Q&A, Shriber, father of three, shares some deep, heartfelt thoughts about being a Dad. His answers are so relatable and touching that I got a little weepy when I was reading them. So cozy up and get to know this Dad who ROCKS!

KCG: What does being a Dad mean to you?
JS: Everything! Including never sleeping, changing diapers, getting puked on, carrying 3 kids at a time even when it’s 400 degrees out and at least 2 of the 3 are perfectly capable of walking, sharing your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks while begging and pleading for them to eat the exact same thing that is right in front of them!

It means loving someone more than you’ve ever loved anything and not knowing it would even be this possible to love someone so much. It means worrying about and praying for things you never knew were important! It means no matter what you “thought” your purpose in life was, you now know for sure without a doubt, and all the little things that were so important instantly hold far less value.

KCG: What is the best thing about being a dad?
JS: All the good stuff and all the bad stuff mush into a blurry blob of “life!” There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my kids. There is no better feeling than getting big hugs and kisses, snuggles, affection, excitement, etc. When they are small and fall asleep on you, it’s the cutest thing in the world, and when they grow up and turn into real people who have real conversations and big time imaginations there’s no match for the pride and satisfaction you feel. When you say “I love you” and they say “I love you too, daddy” it can melt your frikkkin heart!

KCG: How has your work as a musician/artist been impacted by your role as a father? Also, if you are a touring musician, how does that affect the time you spend with your family?
JS: I just passed up 5 shows on the west coast so I could spend Halloween and Christmas with you little punks!

Having kids shines a whole new light on writing and performing. You instantly understand what kids will and won’t “get” at certain ages. You learn that if you are gonna be anything to any kid you better have a goofy side and not take yourself too seriously.

KCG: What are your plans for Father’s Day?
JS: Working! And my kids will be there of course!

I worry about my kids growing up and what they will think of my work when they are teenagers and too cool for school. Right now they are 1, 3 and 5, and they come to every show, hang out at the studio, and are part of my work everyday. I hope they grow up loving music and feeling like they are a part of my work life, inspiring, assisting, cowriting and acting as role models for others. Also, I plan on getting a million awesome gifts including back rubs, foot massages, an extra 7 hrs of sleep, cooperation, no yelling for at least 1 hour of the day, clean rooms, brushed teeth, clean plates, in-assisted dressings and diaper changes.

KCG: What is one of the most memorable moments you’ve had as a Dad?
JS: That’s impossible to answer, BUT, my favorite periods as a dad have been when we are expecting new siblings. When we went from 1 to 2, my oldest (Piper) and I bonded leading up to the delivery, but even more so once her little sister was born. Piper and I had so much time, just the 2 of us, and she was 2.5 yrs old which is the best age ever!! Their language is EXPLODING and they are turning into real deal people. Oh, and there’s also the wicked cuteness factor at that age. Anyway, that bonding period was so powerful for Piper and I and from there our connection has only gotten stronger. The same thing happened when our 3rd (Jonah) came along and our middle girl (Adeline) had to detach from mom a bit and trust that I was as fun and funny as every other kid who doesn’t have to live with me thinks!!  Introducing your kids to their new baby siblings is just the sweetest most precious time and I never want to forget it!  

Right now, I’m seeing, sniff sniff, things that are so present that we assume will always be there like little mispronunciations, the way she dances or the way he crawls or the way she says the word “breakfast” (Briskit). They fade so quickly!  My wife and co-Jamtone, Patience, keeps saying the days are soooo long but the weeks, months and years are flying. Everyone who’s been through this parenting thing says “Enjoy it! It goes so fastI” and at first you say “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” but all of a sudden they are 1 and then 3 and then 5 and you can start to feel it moving WAYYYY too fast even if the 3-minute nightly teeth brushing routine feels like 17 hours of torture! Patience and I LOVE being parents. It has defined us as people more than anything we’ve ever done in our lives, but if we have a 4th, I’ll have to sell all my guitars and live on a beach somewhere so we should probably not let that happen!
KCG: How often to do you play music with your kids? Do they perform with you?
JS: Patience puts show tunes on regularly. We listen to Jamtones (BY REQUEST!!) in the car nonstop, and well I guess I own a music school or something so they have basically grown up completely surrounded by musicians and music!  Addy and Jonah (3 and 1) come to our Jambaby classes at our JWY! Program and Performance Center a couple of times a week and Piper is now in JamKids and StagePlay learning the actual language of music and the ins and outs of being on stage/in a performance.
My kids come to all our local shows for the most part and they jump on stage when we invite the crowd to come up and go crazy with us. But if I had them up for a performance piece, they’d probably hang all over me and grab my legs and my pants would probably fall down and I’d never work again.  Funny thing is when I pick up my guitar at home, they say, “NO DAD! We wanna sing with the iPod (Karaoke style).” Thanks kids.


Video: “Bile Them Cabbage” – Red Yarn

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Portland-based artist, Red Yarn (aka Andy Furgeson) made his Kindie debut in 2013 with The Deep Woods. Prior to releasing The Deep Woods, Furgeson spent half a decade researching folklore and American folk music. Ultimately, he drew inspiration from the role animals played within these folk songs and from there he built a whole world featuring animal puppets (endearingly referred to as “critters”) that join him on stage and in videos. The result has been a fabulous production harkening back to Jim Henson’s Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. Needless to say, traveling through the Deep Woods with Red Yarn is quite an experience.

What I have always been drawn to is the magnificent energy of Red Yarn’s music. The rollicking sound always quickens my pulse, as soon as the rhythm gets going, and the community of singers chime in. And then there’s the dancing…Furgeson can whoop it up quite a bit, inspiring anyone to get up and get to stomping, clapping and singing. The latest video for “Bile them Cabbage,” the first track from his forthcoming album Deep Woods Revival (due out June 23, 2015), does just that. It’s a good ole jamboree, and we’re all invited!

The Deep Woods Revival, introduces a whole new anthology of American folk classics adapted from the great American folk music canon, including works collected by John and Alan Lomax, Carl Sandburg and Ruth Crawford Seeger. “Bile them Cabbage” (“bile” is an old-time variant of “boil”), was adapted from the traditional “Bile Them Cabbage Down,” which Red Yarn first discovered in Alan Lomax’s in Folk Songs of North America (1960). Red explains, “Variations of these lyrics about raccoon, possum and rabbit appear in many old American folksongs. They were some of the first animal lyrics I discovered, which piqued my curiosity and set me down this path into the Deep Woods. In fact, Red Yarn‘s first puppet music video was for a song called “Tails,” which incorporated many of the same lyrics and a bit of “Bile Them Cabbage Down.“‘

The video was shot at Furgeson’s house and features his wife Jesse, as well as six expert puppeteers who handle all of Red Yarn’s critter friends. The vibe of the video gives you some good insight into the magic of Red Yarn’s live performances which is typically akin to “a community-building, almost spiritual experience with devoted fans – both adults and children – singing and dancing along.” In “Bile Them Cabbage Down” friends, neighbors, and even a few Kickstarter backers join in the fun.

“In my mind, the video echoes the trajectory of Red Yarn. What started as a pet project with my wife and a few puppets has grown into this larger, community-based movement to preserve old American folksongs. So many people have helped me get to this point, from fellow musicians and puppeteers and visual artists to the sweet families who keep coming to my regular shows. The Deep Woods Revival is real and growing stronger every day!”

“Bile Them Cabbage” was produced by Red Yarn Productions, directed by LA filmmaker and puppeteer Jeff Speetjens (who directed the “Deep Woods” pilot), with Laki Karavias (of Portland-based troupe The Peculiar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow) as director of photography.

Video: “Lighter Than Air” – Recess Monkey + Dads Who Rock! Father’s Day Q&A with Jack Forman

RECESS MONKEY HOT AIR.300Recess Monkey just celebrated the release of their 12th album, Hot Air. Man, talk about prolific! Throughout the band’s kindie music career, there has always been a Beatles-esque quality to their sound, and their admiration for the Fab Four can be seen on older album covers and in album titles (see Animal House and Tabby Road).

Their most recent video for the song “Lighter Than Air” contains elements found in classic Beatles songs á la Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Club Hearts Band (think “A Day in the Life”). The arrangement is filled with lush orchestration and infectious Pop-Rock hooks (there is even some megaphone).. There really is no exception to who will get the most out of this recording, and really the entire album. In terms of their audiences’ ages, I guess you could say the sky’s the limit.

Hot Air is a CD/DVD combo containing 15 audio tracks plus a 40-minute beautifully animated story that follows the path of a young boy named Andrew and his adventures with flight, and a penguin. Listen to and purchase the album through Recess Monkey’s store, or from my affiliate Amazon. Make sure to keep up with Recess Monkey through their Facebook page, Twitter or by subscribing to their newsletter (or make it a Trifecta and hit all three!).

Today’s double feature continues with Jack Forman, chief funny man, bass player and beloved host of The Monkey House, an afternoon radio show featured on Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live (ch. 78), as he joins us for the next Father’s Day Q&A. As expected, Jack’s answers are as bright and entertaining as he is. Below Jack explains why laughter is the fuel that runs his familial engine, gives mad props to his wife Ellen and talks about how they find a parental balance, and shares his plans for Father’s Day (which naturally includes rockin’ out).

KCG: What is the best thing about being a Dad?
JF: Both of our kids have completely contagious laughs that are just impossible not to get wrapped up in – there’s nothing quite like the feeling of one of your kids finding something hysterical. That energy is way up there on the dad-scale: laughter can fuel an entire day for sure. But honestly, it’s getting to be a dad alongside my wife who is an exceptional mom. We do a good job of tag-team parenting, and I’m able to be with our kids a lot while Ellen’s teaching during the school year, but I constantly learn from her when our lives become parallel enough to actually be parents in the same room at the same time. She’s crazy intuitive. Though I love 1-on-1 times with each of our two kids, my favorite times are when both kids are happily playing and my wife and I get to kind of not be parents for a couple of unified minutes. Our kids are young and you take those opportunities when you can!

KCG: What is the hardest thing about being a Dad (especially if you’re a touring artist)?
JF: Our son Oscar is just now getting to the age where he notices me being away from home when we go on tour as a band. Skype is a total lifesaver. It’s kind of lucky that we paid a lot of band dues before my kids were born- we get to be a lot more choosey about the shows that we play now, and can strike a better balance of time on the road with time for our families. Out of maybe 110 shows on the books for this year, about 90 of them will allow us to sleep in our own beds. That’s a huge deal and a big stress relief.

KCG: How often do you play music/sing with your kids?
JF: I’m constantly singing or listening to music with our kids- most recently Oscar’s been a die-hard Pop Ups fan and Bea kind of growls along with songs and butt-dances when we have music playing at our house. They both come to a lot of shows of ours- Oscar watches Korum drumming intently, and Bea just grooves on the floor, doing a “baby twist” dance move. We’d call her “Chubby Checker” but we don’t want to give her a body image problem.

KCG: Do your kids join you on stage during performances?
JF: Both kids are big music fans but neither has become a part of our live shows in Recess Monkey- Beatrix is so “Gerberiffic” that she really would help our band’s cuteness factor too… It’s a real missed opportunity. Oscar’s an aspiring drummer and we think Bea’s going to dance. No idea if they’ll ever be in bands of their own, but music will surely play a role in their lives as they grow up.

KCG: What are your plans for Father’s Day?
JF: Ha ha… What else? SHOWS! Summer is our crazy season in Recess Monkey and we’ve booked ourselves 75 shows between now and August. We have two on Father’s Day, but the first is right around the corner from my house so the kids and my wife Ellen will probably come to that one. The only request I’ve made is to sleep in until at least 8am, which I can guarantee you will not actually happen. Our mornings are really fun right now- Pjs until at least 11am, but for Father’s day we’re going to push for noon! This family runs on coffee.

Summer Songs 2015 – Free Downloadable Playlist!

Summer is all about good friends and good tunes! Regardless of where you are and what you’re doing, the following downloadable playlist will give your family plenty to sing about this summer.

Thanks to Sugar Mountain PR for putting together “Summer Songs for Road Trips, Parties and Play Time” (also featured in FamilyFun Magazine). Download all 10 tracks through the  Soundcloud widget below. This free offer is good through July 31, 2015 so make sure to grab it before it expires.

NOTE: Downloads work best in the web version of Soundcloud, as opposed to the mobile app. To download: click the down button icon to the right of each song. Though this offer is good through July 31, 2015, streaming is free anytime during or after it.

If you like what you hear, please support these independent artists by clicking on the links below and checking out their store for purchase information.

Jazzy Ash – “Backyard Camping” (Home)
The Pop Ups – “Bug Out” (Appetite for Construction)
Okee Dokee Brothers – The Bullfrog Opera (Can You Canoe?)
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer – “Froggy Went A Courtin'” (Songbook, Vol. 4)
Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could – “Ice Cream Girl” (Just Say Hi!)
Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke – “Wander Round the World” (Pleased to Meet You)
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band – “Lemonade Stand” (A Potluck)
Recess Monkey – “Lighter Than Air” (Hot Air)
Earthworm Ensemble – (Backyard Garden)
The Harmonica Pocket – “Sing in the Sun” (Sundrops)
Ralph’s World – “Sunny Day Rainy Day Anytime Band” (Ralph’s World Rocks and Reads)

Dads Who Rock! Father’s Day Q&A with Adam Marshall of The Bazillions


The Bazillions are a Minneapolis-based kindie band that brilliantly weaves educational concepts into their songs in a fun and accessible way. Mathematical concepts and figures of speech are explained through stories featuring relatable characters (see “Similes and Metaphors” below).

The band’s entry into kids’ music started in 2010 when Adam and Kristin Marshall were teaching at Kenny Elementary School. From their very first days in the classroom, the couple found themselves writing songs for and with their students, which rapidly became regularly requested hits.

61LPcZbXGVL._SY606_There is another dimension to The Bazillions that has always grabbed my attention, and that is their awesome music videos.Pairing up with the design/animation team of Eric Kreidler and Gretchen Blase Kreidler (collectively referred to as eg design), this crafty crew has put a ton of thought into creating powerful visuals that provide even more depth and insight into the concepts they cover. And with over 2,200,00 views on YouTube, I’m clearly not alone in my devotion.

In honor of Father’s Day and school being out, today’s feature includes a Q&A with Adam Marshall, as well as a video for “No Homework.” Ok, and I had to include one of my favorites “Similes and Metaphors,” because it is outstanding and I love the story they tell to help clarify the difference between the two. I needed this when I was in school!

Keep up with The Bazillions at their official site, and look out for their forthcoming album, On the Bright Side, which will be released on July 17, 2015. It’s a gooooood one, folks!

Purchase the DVD: The Bazillions Rockin’ Video Collection through their online store or watch through Amazon Instant Video.

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KCG: What does being a Dad mean to you?
AM: I’ve embarked, along with my wife Kristin on the most wonderful, challenging, surprising and hilarious journey I could ever take. Good or bad, there’s something new everyday.

KCG: What is the best thing about being a Dad?
AM: The laughs. My kids are funny. Sure, sometimes it’s unintentional, but either way they’re funny!

KCG: How has your work as a musician been impacted by your role as a Father?
AM: Although I’ve only written a couple of songs that were directly about my kids (“Lookout Man” from Rock-n-Roll Recess was about my daughter Naomi), they are always in my head. I can imagine them as the characters in many of the songs I write. A song like “Front Seat” which is about the day a child gets to ride in the front, passenger seat of a car is not about my kids directly, but as I’m writing the song I can see and imagine them making the transition to the front seat of the car. The lyric may formulate itself because I can imagine how they’d react in that situation. The same would go for a song like “You’re Embarrassing Me.” The story in the song is fictional but I’m sure I thought about my kids when I wrote it. So in a way they’re in a lot of the songs.

KCG: How are you planning to celebrate Father’s Day?
AM: Give my wife and kids a huge hug and then go to record stores and get some vinyl!

KCG: What is (one of) the most memorable moment you’ve had as a Dad.
AM: Other than the day they were born; when my daughter was 2 she grabbed the mic at an open jam party we were at and sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. When she was finished everyone clapped. She waited for the clapping to stop then asked if they wanted to hear “ABC.” I guess she was prepared to do a whole set!

KCG: How often do you play music with your kids? Do your kids perform with you?
AM: Since we rehearse in my house, my son Felix will often sit in with the band. He gets his ukulele out and plays along as we rehearse. He just rocks out with us. He has all the moves and looks like one of the guys. It’s awesome. Also, anytime we’ve recorded something new I’ll play it for them. Usually in the car. It’s great to see what they react to, and it’s really great when they start requesting certain songs over and over again. It’s like your own personal focus group.

Listen: “Sing A Summer Song” – Charity and the JAMband


Summer is here and with it comes summer concert time! A regular favorite and just awesome music series is one put on by the Mountain View Library in Pioneer Park under a big oak tree. The series is packed with the best local talent within the SF/Bay Area, and the grounds are gorgeous. Thanks to the tall oak, the cool, shady ground is turned into the biggest and best dance floor. Charity Kahn of Charity and the JAMband site recently opened the series and has been a part of it for a few years now. Inspired by the old oak and the summer music series, she wrote “Sing a Summer Song” (which is also the name of Mountain View Library’s summer music series).

Visit Charity and the JAMband’s official site for updates, shows, meditation classes and even listen to a typical concert set list!

Video: It Takes All Kinds – Alastair Moock + Dads Who Rock! Father’s Day Q&A


Alastair Moock has had a long and successful career in both the adult and children’s music worlds, the latter of which includes a Grammy nomination for Singing Our Way Through: Songs For The World’s Bravest Kids. Needless to say, Moock is another dad who ROCKS!

Today’s post features a Father’s Day Q&A, as well as Moock’s latest video for “It Takes All Kinds,” the first single from his forthcoming release due out June 19, 2015. All Kinds of You and Me was inspired by Marlos Thomas’ groundbreaking album Free To Be…You and Me, and similarly presents a collection of songs encouraging us to be proud of who we are and accepting of others. We are all unique, and Moock celebrates the sweetness of this in the first released single + video, “It Takes All Kinds.”

To produce the video, Moock paired up with Key Wilde of Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke whose illustrations and animation complement the song in an excellent way. Wilde’s ability to create wonderfully weird characters pairs well with Moock’s encouraging words: “We come in every shape and size, we live all different kinds of lives / We’re seldom wise to criticize cuz every life’s a kind of prize.” And that applies whether you’re a dancing plant, a dog who oinks, a boy in a dress, or a girl who climbs a tree! Yeah!

You can purchase “It Takes All Kinds” from Moock’s iTunes page.

Read on for some Father’s Day Q&A followed by more Moock music videos!

Below Moock shares his thoughts on being a Dad, his plans for Father’s Day and how his family participates in making music with him.

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KCG: What are you planning to do for Father‘s Day?

AM: Absolutely nothing!

KCG: What is the best thing about being a dad?
AM: Being called Dad by two beautiful kids.

KCG: What is the hardest thing about being a dad (especially if you are a touring artist)?
AM: I actually tour less since I switched my focus to family music than I did in my earlier “grownup” career – and, because shows are early, my kids can come to (and participate in) shows, so that all works out well… I think parenting is challenging for everyone, and I’m certainly no exception. Being a parent is a great job, but it’s a definitely job.
KCG: How often do you play music/sing with your kids? Do your kids join you during performances?
AM: My (twin) girls have sung with me on stage since they were toddlers, and we’ve done a lot of co-writing over the years too. It’s one of my the things I love most about what I do. One of my girls is especially interested in singing and performing… Given that they’re now eight and no doubt about to enter a period of life when dad is going to be a huge embarrassment, I plan to savor this time while it’s still here! And I hope, when they come out on the other side of adolescence, they’ll want to sing and play with me again.
Below are videos featuring Moock and his daughters. “Inside a Book,” which was written with his daughter Elsa and “When I Get Bald,” which he performs with his daughter Clio.