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

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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

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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

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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.

Father’s Day countdown with Dads Who Rock! featuring Danny Weinkauf

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Dads rock! Just ask my daughter who flings open the front door every evening after she hears the beeping of her daddy’s car lock. Even our Chi-weenie (chihuaha-dachsund mix) blazes right after her. There’s a special magic that happens when Dad is around and as Father’s Day approaches, I’m going to be featuring some awesome kindie dads who rock.

Kicking off the Father’s Day countdown is Danny Weinkauf, a Grammy award winning musician, producer and composer whose rockstar resume includes being the bassist for They Might Be Giants (“TMBG”).

Last April, Weinkauf entered the children’s music genre with a solo debut called No School Today, a collection of well crafted, super catchy power-pop songs, many of which feature his son, Kai. It’s truly a family affair with this album!

So in honor of family, Father’s Day and rockstar Dads, today’s feature includes some Q&A with Weinkauf on being a Dad, a touring musician and most importantly his family plans for the upcoming holiday.

Check out videos from No School Today by subscribing to Weinkauf’s YouTube channel, get to know the meaning behind the songs on the album at his official site, and buy the music through his online store


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The best thing about being the father of 2 is that I have 2 more best friends – I love doing just about anything with my kids.

KCG: How will you be celebrating Father’s Day?
DW:
My son Kai has a best friend who is Indian and their family and mine are getting together so his friend’s dad can show me how to cook a couple of different curries.

Then we’re all gonna go to the beach before the sun goes down. I can’t wait – i love Curry!.

What is the best thing about being a Dad?
DW: The best thing about being the father of 2 is that I have 2 more best friends – I love doing just about anything with my kids.

What is the hardest thing about being a Dad (especially if you are a touring artist)?
DW: Touring, Touring, Touring. When I’m not playing shows for kids and their families I play with They Might Be Giants.  We can go away for fairly long stretches of time. It’s tough for my wife and tough for me as I miss my family very much.

How often do you play music/sing with your kids?
DW: Both of my kids sing or speak on my albums so I often ask them to do a backing track or lead vocals on some tunes. My son is learning how to play guitar , ukulele, and piano, so I try and get him to play with me whenever I can but it’s tricky  – he’s a teenager.

Do you kids join you during performances?
DW: My son Kai has taken the stage to sing “Champion of the Spelling Bee” (which he also sang on my No School Today album) on a couple of occasions if it didn’t conflict with school and sports etc.

In celebration of Father’s Day, and in anticipation of summer check out the below videos, “Champion of the Spelling Bee” featuring Weinkauf’s son, Kai, and “Ice Cream.”