Kidquake!: The Not-Its! celebrate kid power!


I recently attended a presentation at my daughter’s school called “The Celebration of Learning.” The entire presentation was focused on young change makers, i.e. kids who are making positive change for the greater good. Each grade level (K – 5) researched, interviewed and spoke about a change maker and the outcome(s) of their efforts. It was incredible to hear these little voices talk passionately about how they were inspired by these young people. In some cases, there were kids showcasing what they are personally doing to give back, i.e. creating a petition to save a sacred Nature Area in California, hosting a bake sale to benefit the ASPCA, standing outside a homeless shelter (with mom) doling out food on cold nights, raising money to help build a school in Africa, and even raising money to name a sea turtle (“Wilson”) from Costa Rica and track another sea turtle (“Chubby”) from Bermuda who has traveled 600 miles since birth.

The Not-Its!, one of Seattle’s most popular kindie rock bands, refers to these acts of kindness as “KidQuakes.” Or, as bassist Jennie Helman describes it, “A KidQuake! describes an act of good, by a kid. It’s that seismic energy kids have that translates to dance, smiles and good times.Lead singer, Sarah Shannon continues,Kids are powerful, they have some serious mojo to make good things happen.”

When I first heard about what The Not-Its! were doing, I was blown away. As the parent of a child who is regularly disgusted by litter on the streets (and has walked around our neighborhood with a mini broom and a bag picking up garbage), I can personally attest to experiencing that serious kid mojo. The innocence and sense of justice kids have is incredible and something I have always been intrigued by. As one of the students**, age 10, put it: “I believe [kids are the ones who will make changes in this world] because children can have more open hearts. They believe in things that grown ups don’t. If you told a grown up that humans could fly, they wouldn’t believe you because of ‘course’ humans can not fly.  But if you told a young child he would think ‘could humans fly? Maybe if you…’ They would think of ideas. That is why the younger generation is going to save this world.” Kid power!

I love that The Not-Its!, one of our favorite kindie rock bands, is working hard to “showcase and inspire kids who are doing good.”

In my interview below, Sarah and Jennie talk more about the inspiration for one of 2013’s best albums, KidQuake!, what The Not-Its! are doing to highlight all of these amazing changemakers, and how you can become a part of The Not-Its! Nation!

Kids Can Groove: Can you explain the inspiration for and concept of a Kidquake?!

Sarah Shannon
: I heard this heart-wrenching story about a little girl who passed away in a car accident here in the Pacific Northwest. When she was alive, she heard that a lot of people in Africa didn’t have access to clean drinking water, so she started a fundraising drive (in lieu of birthday presents) to help build a well in Africa. After she died, her story went viral, funds started pouring in and she raised millions of dollars for clean water.

After I cried for about an hour and a half, I started to think about how amazing it was that this little girl’s spirit – her instinct to do good – was so potent that she continued to make something huge happen even after she passed.

During the time I heard this story, my band, The Not-Its!, were in the process of writing songs for our fourth record. We had a rough little gem that we were calling, “Earthquake.” Boom! The creative muses began swarming and we thought “KidQuake! Kid power for good!” We wrote the song, “KidQuake!,” but then started thinking this needs to be something more. A movement, perhaps? A way to showcase and inspire kids who are doing good.

Jennie Helman: In that moment, KidQuake! took on a whole new meaning. Kids have the power to do good and what better way to help them realize their potential than through music.

KCG: Since you started promoting this movement, have you seen or been a part of any KidQuakes?

JH: Many organizations have already established ways for kids to get involved. This summer, The Not-Its! partnered with Seattle Children’s hospital, who had already published materials on ways kids could raise money for the hospital, i.e. lemonade sales, bake sales, clothing/book drives. The Not-Its! had the opportunity to help promote a lemonade sale at a nearby elementary school, run solely by kids, where proceeds went towards the hospital. The below clip was shared on our Facebook site, which is another example of ways we have been able to promote weekly stories of Kid Power for Good on a national and local level.

KCG: Have there been any KidQuakes within your own families?

SS: I share all of the stories we showcase on Facebook with my kids. This past summer, my daughter’s CampFire troop came up with a KidQuake! of their own. Of course summer is prime lemonade stand time, and we were able to raise money for charity, as a result.

JH: Just last week my 8 year old daughter, Jaden, and I, participated in a fundraising event and 5K obstacle course in which we raised over $250 for LLS (the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). The event was called the Winter Pineapple Express and we had to each carry a pineapple the entire route. For all our neighbors and friends who donated, we cooked soups or plates of cookies as a Thank You, depending on the amount they donated. Last year she and I did The Big Climb where we raised money towards LLS. Together, we climbed 69 flights of stairs at the tallest building in Seattle. I know that Jaden has been proud of her contributions and is starting to realize the difference she’s making with each KidQuake!. Last Christmas, all my girls spent one Saturday making art and selling it throughout the neighborhood. Their KidQuake! contributions totaled $2.88 and they were more than proud to deliver it to the local Food Bank.

KCG: Where can families participate in and read more about this movement?

SS: We are working on ways to build a social network for families to inspire/encourage each other to do good. In the meantime, we will be showcasing and inspiring families through our KidQuake and Not-Its! Facebook pages, The Not-Its!’ website and live shows.

JH: My hopes are — To generate a movement that The Not-Its! Nation – kids, parents and caretakers – feel connected to and can experience together; to appreciate kids for their acts of good and recognize how the power of kind acts can inspire kids and others towards a more positive approach in life. And, we want to showcase stories that will motivate kids and parents to do more good in their communities.

Dig what you’ve just read? Check out the song that inspired this movement, along with the the rest of the album through the Bandcamp widget below. Do you have a KidQuake! of your own? Share it in the comments below and spread the word!

**The 10-year-old student who I quoted nominated and awarded Pavan Raj Gowda who founded the organization Green Kids Now, Inc when he was 8 years old. Green Kids Now, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity organization purposed to reach youth of all ages around the world to raise awareness on environmental issues, and encourages children to learn, innovate, take action, and share ideas and experiences.

View This: The Not-Its! – “Rock, Paper, Scissors”

Seattle’s gnarliest kid rockers, The Not-Its!, will be bringing a series of high-octane shows to the Bay Area on September 7 and 8 and that weekend just can’t get here soon enough! However, I will settle for a new video for “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” from their 2013 release, KidQuake!. Like previous videos, The Not-Its! deliver an energetic performance that bursts out at you. I particularly love how some of the kids on each team are holding electric guitars while cheering for their respective players. It’s little touches of character like that that reinforce the band’s ability to have fun while making music that rocks!

With lead singer Sarah Shannon at the helm, the crew gives this classic game of strategy a rock n’ roll revamp with a new dance called the Rock, Paper, Scissors dance. Wanna learn the moves? Check out the instructional video below, featuring Shannon, as she teaches you and your little rockers all the right moves.

Now, put your best rock n’ roll face on and dance it out!

You can view additional videos by The Not-It’s! here and here, as well as an album review of KidQuake! here.

Tricycle Music Fest schedule

View This: “Let’s Skateboard” – The Not-Its

kidQuakeCoverSeattle kindie rockers, The Not-Its, are back with another video from KidQuake!, the band’s 4th studio release to date.

“Let’s Skateboard” features the ridiculously stylish band members rockin’ out at a skatepark in the middle of a bowl while young skateboarders zoom and glide all around them.  Some of the kids even sport tutus while doing their tricks.  How cool is that?  I can’t help but get giddy when watching this video as I recall pasting my bedroom walls with Thrasher Magazine covers while growing up.  Ahem.

Further projecting the song’s energy, director/producer Stacy Jenkins (Lost Boot Media) does an excellent job of shooting at all the right angles, fantastically capturing the gravity defying motion of these fascinating kid rippers.  So, even if you aren’t up to date on the latest skateboarding lingo, “Let’s Skateboard” provides enough movement and energy that you will feel as though you are in on the scene.

Just plain fun!

Interested in hearing more from the Not-Its?  Grab a FREE DOWNLOAD of the song at:

Click “Let’s Skateboard” … Click “Buy Now” … Enter $0

Check this Out: The Not-Its – KidQuake!


The Not-Its are back with another musically sound and sonically charged album filled with raw, kinetic energy. As the name implies, KidQuake! contains properties that will invoke lots of sudden movement. In other words, get ready to body rock!

In addition to being a part of the wildly talented Kindiependent collective, The Not-Its are made up of veteran indie musicians (lead singer, Sarah Shannon was the former singer of 90’s Sub Pop band Velocity Girl), Danny Adamson (rhythm guitar), Tom Baisden (lead guitar), Jennie Helman (bass player) and Michael Welke (former drummer of Harvey Danger) who channel their rock/pop/punk sensibilities into making rockin’ kid tunes. They also happen to be experienced parents, with a total of 10 children amongst themselves, ranging from ages 2 through 9, which makes for highly relatable topics the whole family will enjoy!

Kicking off the album is the title track, “Kidquake!” a thunderous tune which gives meaning to the driving force behind the frenetic energy that emanates from little bodies. As the lyrics proclaim “we may be small but we are strong” and “there’s an energy/we gotta set it free/come on every boy and girl,” “KidQuake!” could very well be the new “kid power” anthem. Or perhaps a call for a kiddie flash mob?

Parents will get a kick out of “Temper Tantrum,” which pretty much speaks for itself and “Busy,” a ska jam that reaches out to parents, acknowledging that life can be hectic while offering the suggestion that sometimes we need to slow down. Resounding horns add a nice touch throughout the song and act as alarm clocks in the video.

The Not-Its encourage staying active with “Let’s Skateboard,” a song that lists out all kinds of skateboarding tricks, and “Walk or Ride,” a song that encourages taking in the beauty of Mother Nature by using our feet to get from place to place.

What Miss Em and I like to rock out to the most is “Tarantula Funeral,” in which The Not-Its so appropriately bid a righteous farewell to a beloved classroom pet. The song has an extremely catchy chorus with blending harmonies and smart lyrics. In fact, because of Bob the Tarantula’s biological misfortune, and the curious mind of my spider loving 4 year old, we were able to bond while learning some science.

“Operation Cooperation” is a motivational song with a good message about teamwork and getting along with new friends in school while “Participation Trophy” celebrates hard work and trying your best even if it means scoring for the other team or winning 27th place in chess club.

Listeners will also enjoy songs about games with songs like “Full Tilt,” which refers to pinball mastery and “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” a perfect theme song for the classic childhood game as the lyrics exclaim “One for the money/ Two for the show/ Three pumps to get ready/ You go now throw!”

Wrapping up the album is the endearing tune, “The Not-Its Love You,” a reassuring message of love and a reminder that The Not-Its’ produce music from the heart, while uplifting the spirits of their audience.

The Not-Its take their music and their image seriously and deliver on both. Between the colorful artworkJump1
by Grammy-nominated Invisible Creature (Target, Nike, Nickelodeon) and the ladies’ vibrant pink tutus, you can immediately guess that you are about to have some serious fun! KidQuake! is another success for The Not-Its and one that every family deserves to hear. It really just rocks! Highly recommended for ages 3 and up! Tutus suggested, but not required.

KidQuake! is available through The Not-Its store , as well as Amazon and iTunes.

You can also listen to clips from the album through the Bandcamp widget below.

Tarantula_High-ResBelow is a video for “Tarantula Funeral,” which was made by guitarist, Tom Baisden’s, elementary school class. In addition to being an awesome musician, Baisden is also an elementary school teacher for children with special needs.

[Video courtesy of The Not-Its via YouTube]

View This: “Busy” – The Not-Its

kidQuakeCoverSeattle band, The Not-Its, just released a video for “Busy,” a track from their upcoming album, Kidquake!, available February 5th, 2013.

“Busy” is a rockin’ Ska jam that moves just as fast as life with kids might feel sometimes. There’s some fantastic energy here and the video includes some awesome effects, particularly when the lyrics “we need to just slow down” come up. It’s a mantra I should probably say to myself more often!

It’s a great song, by a great band, with a great message.