Watch This: Twinkle Time – Kidz Rock feat. Mista Cookie Jar (English and Spanish versions)

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Los Angeles-based Twinkle Time and fellow SoCal artist Mista Cookie Jar join forces for a new song and video.

Together MCJ and Twinkle bring celebrity style and commercial production value to the screen with a little help from all-star producers Matthew Gerrard (Kelly Clarkson, Big Time Rush, High School Musical and Hannah Montana), Peter Amato (Miley Cyrus, LeAnn Rimes, Ricky Martin) and James Dallas, who has had had his songs placed on the George Lopez Show, Bring it On, The Bratz, and co-writes/produces with Twinkle for the “Bilingual Pop Music Show for KiDS, Twinkle Time!”

If we were teleported inside a disco snow globe, it wouldn’t be as much of a rush as what’s happening in this video. Kidz Rock is like a whirling, swirling, EDM, pop, hip-hop, confetti explosion!  Or, as lyrics say “This here’s a kidpaloooza  where the  music don’t stop.” Next stop: Disney channel!

You can also following along in Spanish! {ed: updated after original post was published}

“Kidz Rock” is the first single from Twinkle Time’s 3rd album due late summer/early fall, 2015.

You can listen to and purchase the single here.

Halloween Digest 2014: Part 1 – Videos and Activities!

I love Halloween and all the preparation, spooky tales, trick or treating adventures and the rest of the absurdity that goes along with it. Today’s post is the start of a few posts related to this holiday. We’ll start with some videos, round things up with a monster dance party, and end with a book suggestion and fun Halloween activity. The party is just getting started! Fill your treat bucket with a Halloween playlist full of fresh tunes that will lift your spirits!

The HipwadersPumpkinhead” –  The legend of Pumpkinhead muhahaha… Actually, this is a fun, cautionary tale about the consequences of eating too much candy. The Hipwaders relay this tale with a smooth, reggae beat making it hip for Halloween. A great song and terrific video featuring a rotating set of vintage Halloween postcards. I want some of those in my pillowcase!

Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips – “Halloween Every Night” – This haunt floats in with some surf-rock grooves as Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips present a “spirited” video featuring a cast of spooky characters having fun together on Halloween night. There’s a bit of retro fancy in this video as well when the colorful crew takes to the “Spooky Movies” where they are presented with clips of classic freaks from the past (Frankenstein, Dracula, The Munsters even show up). Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans might feel a bit of nostalgia here as the monsters’ silhouettes are superimposed at the bottom of the scene in a similar fashion. The entire concept, drawing and animation was done by Mista Cookie Jar and family. Very cool.

Play Date – “Dance Like A Monster” – This is a classic and I encourage you and your family to “get your monster boogie on” with the rest of the Ghouligans in this video. There’s even a call to “let our your monster cry!” A perfect addition to a Halloween playlist and impromptu monster mash dance parties.

Additional Halloween Fun

UnknownWhen you’re through with dancing, check out “Glad Monster, Sad Monster” an awesome book that helps kids channel and communicate their emotions. This book goes through what makes each monster happy, glad, sad, mad, scared, etc, and then prompts kids to put on the monster masks and express their feelings in the same way. One of our favorites!



Looking for a fun activity? Do some Halloween Word Mining! Read this PBS Parents feature by Jeff Bogle from Out With The Kids for instructions and a printable activity sheet to get you started.

Rox in Sox 2014 Playlist: Children’s Book and Music Festival

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S is for summer and songs and SOX as in Rox in Sox, an Oregon-based children’s music and literature festival. In its second year, Rox in Sox will once again present an all-star lineup of kindie musicians for FREE. This is an incredible opportunity for those in the area. And if you are thinking about a weekend getaway, this is an excellent reason for you to check the Pacific Northwest off your bucket list of places to visit.

Great Day – The Not-Its!
Inner Rock Child – Mista Cookie Jar
Wired – Recess Monkey
Gotta Be Me – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Man Gave Names To All The Animals – Aaron Nigel Smith
Mr. Rabbit – Red Yarn

World Premiere: “Rainbow” – Karen K & Mista Cookie Jar


Children are naturally curious and one of our most important responsibilities as parents is to satisfy their hunger for knowledge about themselves and their world. As the mother of a very curious 5-year-old daughter, I am always conscious about communicating with her as honestly as possible. She is at a critical age where her opinions are becoming stronger and justified based on what she regularly sees and hears. And that scares me. It also drives me to find ways to reinforce values that will shape the way she sees and treats others as she grows up in our complex, ever-evolving society. While she is still years away from understanding the true meaning of social justice, her internal drive to make things right, whether it’s protesting about litter or standing up to a bully on the playground for poking her friend’s stuffed bear, is inspiring.

Music has regularly been a vital catalyst for spawning many of our discussions. Today, I am proud to premiere a song that Jeff Bogle (Out With The Kids) asserts “will up the ante on the political, world-changing capabilities of kindie music, essentially retesting the waters to see if kid’s music can indeed change the world in the 21st century.” (credit: Jeff Bogle, “Why Can’t Kids Music Change The World?“, Cooper and Kid)

Karen K (of Karen & the Jitterbugs) and CJ Pizarro (a.k.a Mista Cookie Jar) have produced a song called “Rainbow,” which explores themes such as racial and cultural inclusivity, showing one’s true colors despite societal gender expectations, and the placement of current social change and civil rights issues into a historical context.

Just as I was completing my introduction for today’s post, I found a picture my daughter drew that has just a rainbow and the words “you r mi love” on it. She draws rainbows all the time and although she wasn’t drawing it because of this topic, it so genuinely represents the purity, love and innocence of a child‘s mind. There is so much potential for learning, understanding and acceptance before children are truly “affected” by other people’s fears. So why not teach them that the rainbows they draw are inside of them, teach them about their potential and plant seeds that will, as Karen says in the interview below, teach them to stand up for themselves and ultimately find justice in what’s right not necessarily what’s popular.

Download proceeds for “Rainbow” will benefit the fight for equality and LGBTQ rights.

Learn more about “Rainbow” at the newly launched site and through their Facebook page



Kids Can Groove: How did you two first meet and what prompted your collaboration?

Karen K: We’ve actually only met in person twice! We first met at KindieFest in New York last Spring and again 2 weeks later in Boston when Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips came up to be a part of the One Family Music Festival, a family music festival I’d put together with help from the Boston kindie community in response to the Boston Marathon bombings. We were all thrilled Cookie was part of such a great day of healing for families. Come to think of it, I guess this song is our second collaborative-attempt at using music to make a difference!

C.J. Pizarro (a.k.a Mista Cookie Jar): it was an honor to be able to help out for such an important cause. It struck me from the get-go that Karen was very committed to making a positive difference in the world through music. After the festival, we began collaborating on a song cross-country. We had a few fun ideas immediately, but it wasn’t until a few months later when she sent me the “Rainbow” demo that the creative gears really started to turn for us.

Lyrically, it seemed like a very natural subject matter to flow over — and urgent as well. In terms of justice, I’m always down to support the cause, and it’s special when you have something so full of heart that you think might actually make a big difference!

Any creative opportunity to affect social change is a rare one. Karen’s hook was just so emotional, simple, and meaningful — from the smart-phone recording alone, I knew there was good power there. The MC in me really loves a good hook — which really becomes your mantra/inspiration for every lyric you write.

KCG: What inspired you to write this song?

Karen: “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou. I love that quote.

While I’m a straight woman, I have many, many gay friends and colleagues. Back in February when Arizona tried to pass their anti-gay legislation, which thankfully the Governor vetoed, I was really upset and like a lot of other people, I thought, this type of thinking, this type of behavior, this type of governing should just not be happening. Although marriage equality and LGBTQ rights has long been an issue I care about, it occurred to me in that moment that this is the civil rights issue of our time, and of our children’s time – my own child’s time. And I knew, for me, I needed to do something.

At the same time, a gay friend of mine from my musical theater days in NYC posted on Facebook that he was devastated and that he felt he could not return to his hometown of Tucson. It broke my heart – and actually helped fuel the song. I sat down at the piano and wrote the “hook” or the chorus – “I will be a rainbow, I will let my star glow…I can chase the fear back into the night…” I wanted to look bigotry in the face with a message of hope – something that said that we can stand for love in this hatred, no matter what. I think at the time it was also a commitment to myself – a personal commitment to take a firmer stand on marriage equality and LGBTQ rights, because enough was enough.

I’m lucky because I was raised by loving, socially-conscience parents who taught all three of their kids to treat all people with kindness, and to stand up for what is right. My parents are from Greensboro, North Carolina, where they lived through the Woolworth’s sit-ins and events that drove and were tantamount to the Civil Rights Movement. Josephine Boyd, the first black student in the country to enroll at an all-white school, was a classmate of my parents at Greensboro High in 1958. I mean, they were in the thick of it. And their ideals were firmly planted not always on the popular side, but rather the right side of history. This was not lost on me as I drew the connections between the fight for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights in 2014, and the 1960s. It’s a great lesson in parenting actually; they passed their values onto me – to all three of us kids – by example. I think we live the way they live.

I sent CJ a scratchy little recording from my phone and out-of-tune piano and asked if he wanted to write this song that addressed these issues – a song of hope and justice and acceptance and love…for kids. And because he’s CJ and basically IS a walking rainbow, he of course said absolutely, and through emails we started talking specifically about what the song should be. We “got” each other right away. Though we have completely different musical styles, that was part of the beauty of working together.

CJ: I can empathize with anyone who is bullied for being different or not fitting in to what society deems as normal. I’ve always found this disturbing. I think in a way when it comes to gender issues, it just comes down to aesthetics and what people are used to and how willing people are to think outside their own box. People are driven to rage and hate because other people are so different than they are. Because it doesn’t fit into their world or perspective, it challenges them. I think its a dangerous mindset that leads to wars and oppression. Connecting to children at a young age with open-mindedness and free thought with such issues is key for progress. The revolution continues with the children. To grow as a people, we must educate our youngsters and hopefully our stubborn habits rooted in close-mindedness and exclusion will subside.

I believe music changes lives and helps pronounce movements. I’m deeply influenced by activists like Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, Edward Said, Howard Zinn — and musicians who merge their activism and artistry like Bad Religion, Rage Against The Machine, Tom Morello, Omar Offendum, Outernational and the Beatles too — especially John Lennon — just to name a few. I feel children’s music to be just as powerful and KEY to social change. Creating a song like ours was very interesting to me and quite a natural fit. I was happy to read Jeff Bogle’s article and how he gave it up to Woody Guthrie & Pete Seger. Folk music and activism seem to go hand in hand. They work together so organically. After all, it’s music for folks. For many people of my generation (new parents included), both urban, suburban and even rural folks, hip-hop is a new folk music, if not THE new folk music. At its best, it seems to be a great way to break down ideas expositionally and emotionally at once. In its socially analytic nature, [hip hop] seems to be rooted in the same soil as folk. Creating a pop song with such socially conscious themes was something we thought could reach many while simultaneously raising a myriad of important and current issues.

I was also inspired by the spirit of punk rock, which gives me the strength and vigor to take a stand and not really give a hoot. Given the genre that we’re in, children’s music, I find it very interesting how such a song full of the spirit of inclusivity will more than likely infuriate many parents out there (if they hear it) who are diametrically opposed to our world view. It seems to be human nature and the current sociological climate we live in. But at least it’s a song of universal love and not a stick/stone/mean tweet. Let’s begin a meaningful dialogue with folks diametrically opposed to us! That’s progress! That’s punk rock!

KCG: What do you want families to take away from this song?

Karen: We hope of course that kids of all ages hear it and really get the message that they are special and unique and phenomenal no matter where they come from, what color their skin is, what their sexual orientation is, what the make-up of their family is. As CJ says in the song, “You be you, through and through.” We hope this song will be a catalyst for direct and honest discussion in families, at school at the playgrounds – among kids and adults – and that it changes the dialogue. I hope [families] sing along and that somehow this message seeps into their beautiful brains and hearts and they remember it. We also hope they hear all these other great songs with similar messages written by our amazing colleagues and that they play them on repeat. (The Not-Its just released a song called “Love is Love” that is great). And we hope that their parents and teachers show [kids] again and again that they are loved because of who they are, because they are so perfectly beautiful just as they are. CJ talks really poetically about this in the song.

CJ: Wether you are in a lefty community or one not so LGBTQ friendly, my hope is that with this “redemption song” floating in the ether, there will be a source of hope for oppressed souls to cling to, a set of rational ideals to meditate on, and an unadulterated feeling of unconditional love to share and spread like wildfire.

Karen: See? What he said.

KCG: Where do each of you personally stand on these issues?

CJ: I am a man who rocks polka-dotted pink socks. So yeah, I am a pro-pink male fo’sho’. I am 100% for the legalization of same-sex marriage. I think it comes down to basic human rights and I’m excited as a species to evolve past this issue.

Karen: Ha! I love CJ’s pink socks. As I say to my daughter: Stand with love. Not just acceptance and tolerance, but love. Celebrate the differences we find in each other. Love them.

But more directly put – I’m pro-same-sex marriage and I believe every human in our country regardless of sexual orientation or identification should enjoy the privileges our Constitution allows and be able to participate fully in our civil society. I also believe we must do a better job in supporting LGBTQ youth – whom we are failing across the board.

It’s interesting because since we started the song, Mitch and Cam got married, and at least 5 more states have legalized same-sex marriage. It’s so exciting to see this kind of progress, but as the lyrics go, we have a very long way to go. Kids are still being bullied every day for being gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. LGBTQ make up 20-40% of the population of all homeless youth, yet only 3% to 5% of the general youth population in this country. The suicide rates among LGBTQ kids are higher than any other group. According to recent gay bullying statistics, gay and lesbian teens are two to three times as more likely to commit teen suicide than other youths. It’s maddening, and it’s our responsibility as parents, teachers, humans and members of a civil society to stop it.

KCG: What age group are you targeting for this song?

CJ: Every kid is different and we have to make huge generalizations to create a demographic. We’re hoping the song connects on a pop level, catchy with lyrics and audio. I think Karen’s has a universal hook, relatable to so many people while quite potent. My lyrics, due to the nature and speed of rap delivery, are much more specific and should prompt more investigation. My idea with connecting with children when you have so many lyrics in one song is to plant thought seeds. I think all these concepts we bring up are important for all children to think about and for adults to help them come to terms with it all. Children have to deal with many of these issues in their lives so connecting these ideas of light and love to a history of popular struggle, that’s something only the wise (ahem, adults?) can instill. Hopefully the song can act as a kindie catalyst for genius-activist-kids who will keep our planet self-sufficient indefinitely for generations and generations through green technology and intellectualized pacifism.

KCG: Do you have suggestions for how parents can talk to their kids about the messages in this song?

CJ: In general, breaking down lyrics line by line makes for an enriching listening experience later on. A song can be emotional and cerebral all at once. Some of the best songs grow in the cabeza and the corazón with each listen. Even picking one part of a song can lead you down to a sweet tangent of learning lessons. Hopefully, the song can act as a jumping off point for discussions about gender, different lifestyles, cultures, and a general investigation of people– what makes us all different and awesome.

K: Like every parent, I struggle every day with knowing the right thing to say on many subjects ranging from the mundane (“Why You Can’t Eat Ice Cream for the 403rd Time Today”) to bigger issues like this. And I would certainly not presume to tell parents how to parent, as I’m sure I would screw it up for them as frequently as I have with my own kid.

But I wonder…What if we all started talking directly and openly and honestly about this issue with our children? In age-appropriate ways, what if we talked with them about what it means to be gay? Lesbian? Transgender? Actually using the words, naming it. Educating ourselves, and taking the mystery out of the vocabulary so that when our kids hear those words used as weapons later, they will know better. And they will do better. What if we flat out told our kids that not allowing two people who love each other to get married is in violation of the civil rights we have the privilege of enjoying in this country – and therefore unacceptable? What if we showed them by example by going to the polls and voting in favor of such civil rights as often as possible, or wrote a letter to our Congressmen and women in support of marriage equality? What if we wrote that letter with our kids? What if we told our children that no matter what God we believe in – and we do believe in different Gods in this country and in this world – that no real God would support hatred and bigotry? What if? I do wonder.

On a more tactical note, I came across a great reference the other day after a good discussion with a friend about this issue. It’s an article called What Does Gay Mean: How to Talk to Your Kids about Sexual Orientation and Prejudice by Lynn Ponton, MD. It was published by the National Mental Health Association, and it offers some great guidance and even language for talking with our children – from preschoolers , to school-aged kids, to teenagers – about this. Dr. Ponton offers some great advice – some I plan to follow myself, while I continue asking the tough questions.

View This: “Call Me Mista Cookie Jar” – Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips

Lately, C.J. Pizarro, i.e. Mista Cookie Jar, has been making his way ’round the kindisphere, contributing colorful lyrical stylings to various recordings like Todd and Cookie and Jazzy Ash, for example. And now he’s got some stock of his own to share. “Call Me Mista Cookie Jar” is the 10th official music video by Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips and the 5th video release from their album, “Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution.”

The video for “Call Me Mista Cookie Jar” contains lovely imagery thanks to the assistance of Mrs. Cookie Jar and their daughter, Miss Ava Flava. The project took just about a year to complete as the Cookie crew worked hard on the hand-drawn illustrations and placement of photographic and retro-style cut-outs that make this video so appealing. They even made their own paper and a Buster Keaton hat from scratch! When all the elements were in place, Pizarro began working on the visual effects including the silent film aspects and stop-motion animation. Their hard work definitely paid off here. In fact, I had to listen to the song a couple of times because I was so focused on all the awesome imagery!

Interesting tidbit: The song was originally written as answer for all the kids who have asked Pizarro why he calls himself Mista Cookie Jar. Now, those inquiring minds can check out Mista Cookie Jar’s Facebook Page which features the lyrics for “Call Me Mista Cookie Jar” and what “Mista” actually stands for.

Guest post: Mista Cookie Jar interviews The Zing Zangs

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I am excited to bring you a guest post today by CJ Pizarro, aka Mista Cookie Jar. In the following post, MCJ interviews the classy cool Kindie group, The Zing Zangs. These highly ambitious teens have accomplished quite a lot in their young careers. Their positive energy shines in the following interview, which has no doubt contributed to their creative success thus far. One can’t help but wonder what’s to come.

Take it away Cookie!

The Zing Zangs — look out for this duo! These 13-year-old Canadian fellas, Trevor and Elliot, have an unstoppable amount of energy and creativity to share with the Kindie world. I interview Trevor here, who not only is the main songwriter, frontman, and Zing Zang visionary but is also a multi-instrumentalist, producer, video director, kids music internet DJ, and an all around nice kid matured WAY beyond his years. I am proud to consider him a peer even if I am 20 years his senior.

Their debut album, Blast Off!, is a 13 track banger featuring Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Todd McHatton, Dirty Sock Funtime Band, Sugar Free Allstars, Rocknoceros, Tim Kubart of Tim and the Space Cadets, Miss Gail of Miss Gail and the Jumpin’ Jam Band, Baze and His Silly Friends, Groovy David, Jungle Gym Jam, and myself, Mista Cookie Jar.  Pretty epic for a debut I’d have to say!

Blast Off! celebrates a unique brand of freedom in songwriting from the sillier tracks such as “Moustaches” and “Vending Machines” (which is about the random stuff you’d find in a Japanese vending machine) to the touching, “From a Frown,” a sweet ode to a Teddy Bear. Raw and pure in the spirit of great indie D.I.Y. records, the dimensions of youthfulness, silliness, and wonder are all displayed clearly in the their musicality and Trevor’s careful lyrics. One is reminded of the playfulness and pop-rock sensibilities of Recess Monkey, The Aquabats, and even Weird Al Yankovic. The opportunity to pick the brain of Trevor himself made me feel like one super-curious kid talking to another as fans of the same musical scene and fans of each other.

MCJ: So what’s your story, guys? Who are you, where are you from and when did you start making family/kids music?

T: We’re two energetic 13-year-olds in Vancouver, Canada, making music for younger kids and their families! We just released our first album, Blast Off!, in October. I’m the front-leader of [The Zing Zangs], and I got into kids music when I started hosting an online kids radio station called GooberKidsRadio. The general concept for The Zing Zangs is indie pop/rock music that’s specifically made for kids to jump, sing, and dance around to. The key to it is the huge amount of imagination in each song!

MCJ: How did you first hear about and get into Kindie?

T: Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live (ch. 78) is what first got me into it. Elliot got into Kindie because he got dragged into it.

MCJ: So tell me more about the concept of Blast Off!?

T: Blast Off! released on October 2. It’s superhero themed, we go aboard the ZZ spaceship as “Commander Rock” and “Elliot the Ninja.” The key to the songs on this album is the actions. We recently played our first concert, and it was amazing to see how much energy pumps out of the kids! We’re proud to say the audience was covered in sweat! We strived to put all of that energy from a Zing Zangs’ concert into the album.

MCJ: Do you have any evil villains to go with your superhero theme?

T: I’ll tell you what – just for fun – at one of our upcoming concerts we plan on an evil monster to come and try and crash the show. Then we’ll have a rock-off. It will be so epic.

MCJ:  How did you get all these cool Kindie guests on it? Quite an impressive list. What was it like working with such talent?

T: It was an honor to work with such great people in the industry and hear our songs with different voices singing them! I was helped by excellent people in the business – like managers, publicists, live show booking management, you name it. I dreamt up “Looking Up at the Stars” last year as a finale song for an album…and to hear all of my favorite Kindie artists that I grew up listening to, singing all together at once, it was truly amazing.

MCJ: How do you guys know each other, in real life? And how did you start making songs?

T: A lot of the songs like “Moustaches” and “Vending Machines” were songs from old homemade movies we made a few years back. We drew comics all the time at school, so we often wrote theme songs for “Pizza Man,” “Kraft Dinner Man,” and “Taco Man.” We’re currently planning out a music video for an unreleased song about [me and Elliot] meeting each other on the playground as 7-year-old kids. This is actually how the two of us met in real life, so I know it will be cool to be able to make [the video], because we’ll both be behind the camera.

MCJ: It was so much fun making the track “Super Speed” with you guys. I love all the synths in the beat during my rap. And I’m happy to say I can’t get the song out of my head! The video looks great, too, especially since we haven’t met once! 

MCJ: Basically, I sent some green screen footage of myself rapping. We had me racing in a car as I did my thing. That’s me with a glass pot lid as a steering wheel! Tell us about the process from recording the song and video to working long distance with a Los Angeles artist. Also, what programs do you use?

T: It was so cool to hear your track over our synth sounds and handmade drum beat! The process to make the song involved sending you (Mista Cookie Jar) some basic keywords and lyrics for the rap – and then you sent it back to us “funktified.” That’s a word that will always be used in my personal vocab from now on.

T: “Super Speed” turned out just as we wanted it to be – a homemade-looking indie video of us chasing a cartoon monster around Elliot’s complex. Plus, as a bonus, we had you driving around in a cartoon race-car! The video made its premiere on The Cool Rockin’ Daddy Video Show. For the “Super Speed” video, I animated all of the graphics, titles, and characters with FCPX.

MCJ: Who played what instruments?

T: I played guitar, drums, keyboards, synthesizers, bass, and kazoo solos. We had occasional lead guitars by Jason Didner (of the Jungle Gym Band) and Todd McHatton. And Elliot jumped around to it.

MCJ: What is your songwriting process as a band and individually?

T: I usually come up with the idea for a song first. Then, I try to make up catchy lyrics. And then I write a chord progression that not only sounds good, but is kind of hard to play (that way I can show off when I play concerts)! Although, most of the songs on Blast Off! were written by me and Elliot when we first met.

MCJ: Tell us about your radio show, GooberKidsRadio. How did you get into that business?

T: I’ve always loved entertaining people and when I discovered Kids Place Live it made me want to host my own show…so I found a site that let me broadcast, and that was that.

T: GooberKidsRadio was created in June 2012. I’ve always had a love for entertaining people, and I had a love for Kindie, so when I found a site that let me broadcast live, I immediately started. The show picked up quite a few listeners. I just reached 11,000, I think.

T: Me being a perfectionist, I deleted all of the old episodes and restarted this year with a fresh new format, featuring new music, kid-callers, giveaways, interviews, birthday shout-outs, and characters. Now, with the busyness of The Zing Zangs, I don’t really have the time to sit back and listen to all my favorite artists anymore. So I’m not only hosting it for the listener’s enjoyment, I’m dancing and singing along as I get to hear it too. You can listen to the live broadcast every Thursday at 8pm EST/5pm PST free on

MCJ: What are some of your favorite musicians, kids music or otherwise, and how has it influenced you as artists?

T: I have always been into music that doesn’t put people down or anything like that – which is why I automatically liked [Kindie music]. I grew up with The Wiggles, and when I discovered the Imagination Movers, my mind flew out of my head and into the TV. I was taken to a lot of local kids music concerts in Vancouver, like Bobs and LoLo, The Kerplunks, Fred Penner, The Doodlebops. For Kindie influences, I’d say the first few artists that I discovered in the Kindie world were Recess Monkey, Caspar Babypants, Justin Roberts and, of course, The Pop Ups. When I take my mind off of kids stuff, Elliot and I are both really into the rock genre, although I’m more of a new alternative guy like The Black Keys, They Might Be Giants, and Presidents of the United States of America (“PUSA”). Elliot is into the classics like AC/DC and Def Leppard.

T: The Aquabats actually inspired us to make our first album superhero- themed. We were both blown away by their true rock power and zaniness at the same time. That’s the definition of awesome!

MCJ:  What are your peers listening to these days?

T: Oh goodness! I think like Rihanna, Lorde, and all the other computer-generated music is big these days.

MCJ:  I love how you’re into music that doesn’t put others down. And I think the Zing Zangs go in- line with that. You guys bring a sense of empowerment that is inviting for anyone who seeks it, which is a rare and beautiful thing in this day and age. 

MCJ: In your songs there’s something else beyond the music, often a simple or quirky subject matter, like “Vending Machines” about Japanese vending machines or even, “From a Frown,” about your Teddy Bear (which is quite a touching song), that is relatable to so many people — and then the music brings a certain excitement, drama, or magic to that subject. 

T: I totally agree. That’s what being zany is about. Not ‘trying to be’ zany. Just ‘being’ it. You get it?

MCJ:  Can you speak on being in touch with your “inner zany,” if u will? How does it affect your interactions with others, like friends, peers, fans, public or otherwise? I think zaniness just helps me remember how I don’t fit in – which is PERFECT. Why would I want to be just like the guy across from me in the hallway?

MCJ: For me, being involved in a zany creative process with others, or even sharing a culture, like the Kindie, creates a bond. Having similar humor or appreciation for a certain kind of zany brings an automatic comfort with someone, without even having to “get to know” them, you feel me? 

T: Exactly.

MCJ:  You guys bring a primal joy with your music. You can call it the Zing Zang, like a zany fun Yin and Yang. But with more of a Zing of course. How bout Yin Yang Funktified? 

T: I think that’s what our next album should be called. Yin/ Yang Funktified.

What’s coming up next for The Zing Zangs?

T: Stay tuned for Mr. Runklestunk (our puppet band manager)’s very own web-series. And also coming up this year (2014), we plan to release our second CD. We’re going for a much simpler approach this year. It will not be superhero-themed but don’t worry, the silliness is all there. Original songs by “Trevor and Elliot” (not Commander and Ninja), plus a bunch of amazing special guests. It will focus more on the kids’ perspective of life, like not wanting to go to bed, and making a best friend. You can stay on top of the news at our website Also, please check out Blast Off! on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. You ca also purchase the album from our store. Thanks, Cookie!

MCJ: And here are some quickies.

T: Bring it!

MCJ: Favorite comedian?

T: Bill Cosby’s great!

MCJ: Cosby is definitely one of my favorite’s too. Favorite Weird Al album?

T: “Alpocalypse” 2011

MCJ: Heard good things about that one! Just listened to his Marc Maron interview. Al Yankovic is the man. Favorite Recess Monkey album?

T: Gosh. One of the older ones. Like “Field Trip”.

MCJ: What are you listening to right now?

T: The keys on my keyboard typing this answer. In reality, I’m listening to Zooglobble’s November playlist. Did you see that “Super Speed” got first track? Yes!

MCJ: Any books or novels on your minds?

T: Diary of a Wimpy kid. Jeff Kinney gets me. That and everything by Jarrett J Krosozcka.

MCJ: Poetry fan?

T: Shel Silverstein is inspiring.

MCJ: Feel the same way. Favorite board game?

T: Mo-No-Po-LEE!

MCJ: Favorite Cartoons?

T: MAD, Phineas and Ferb, pretty much all.

MCJ: Do u like Adventure Time?

T: Oh wait, AT is the Bomb!

MCJ: What about Avatar the Last Airbender?

T: Sorry, but there’s only one cartoon better than Adventure Time. You can’t pull me away from an episode of Regular Show.

MCJ: Do you like sketch comedy? Monty Python? Or vaudeville stuff?

T: Back around 2007 there was a small Canadian community access channel show – you know those types? The ones that probably took around $50 to create? There was this homemade sketch comedy show called “That’s So Weird” and it cracked me up.

MCJ: All time favorite album:

T: Always into the latest album that comes out by one of my favorite artists.

MCJ: All time favorite song:

T: There’s nothing better than rockin’ out to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in your jammies.

MCJ: Agreed.

Todd and Cookie’s Epic 3 Song Starter Pack + Episode 1 – Catapult of Destiny Cartoon


Get on board, step inside, soarin’ on a magic ride.
Roarin’ towards the other side where only rainbows hide.
On the Great Space Coaster (Oh-oh oh)

The lines above are part of the theme song from one of my favorite childhood TV shows, The Great Space Coaster. Each episode took place on an inhabited asteroid (Coasterville) and followed the story of 3 musicians who were brought there by a space coaster. Along the way, they met new friends in the form of zany puppet characters. I think I might be part of a small population who remembers this show, but it was a classic. It was adventurous and totally off-the-wall funny for its time!

This brings me to the latest pairing of kindie rockstars whose debut project brings me the same kind of joy. Todd McHatton and Mista Cookie Jar (CJ Pizarro), or simply put, Todd and Cookie, recently debuted their first mini album, Todd and Cookie’s Epic 3 Song Starter Pack, along with a world premiere of their cartoon, The Great Adventures of Todd and Cookie. Episode 1, called “World of Rock,” illustrates how the two rockstars are catapulted to destiny when a mysterious creature asks, “Anybody wanna rock?” You’ll have to watch to see how this story unfolds. It’s a truly visionary experience that promises to take you on a magical, mystical adventure unlike anything the kindie world has ever seen!

The pairing of Todd and Cookie  is not something people might have predicted or expected, but together they complement each other very well. In fact, the parallels between the two, is what I am most impressed by. Their sound is overflowing with authenticity, creativity and a unique sense of humor. They regularly stretch the boundaries of their imaginations, creating compelling experiences for their audience. And they also incorporate family as an essential part in each of their respective careers.

McHatton is a puppeteer and an artist whose cartoon drawings can be seen on his album covers and throughout his videos. He is well-known for his wildly popular single “I Think I’m A Bunny,” featuring daughter Hazel and lovable purple puppet, Marvy Monstone.

Pizarro is a master rhymer and lyricist with a whole vocabulary of his own. Typically, as Mista Cookie Jar, he performs with The Chocolate Chips which feature the supporting vocals of his step-daughter, Ava Flava. MCJ, known for his retro fashion and diverse musical style, has produced many popular singles including “Inner Rock Child” and “Lover Not A Fighter.”

Each track on Todd and Cookie’s Epic 3 Song Starter Pack delivers a concoction of sounds that blend the softness of Todd’s dreamy, psychedelic sound with Cookie’s groovy, hip hop sensibilities. My favorite tune, “All These Magical Things,” has a nice melodic flow while “HotchToozZee” is a hodgepodge of fun. The album ends with “Your My Bestest Bro” which is an ode to Todd and Cookie’s relationship and could easily be the theme song for The Great Adventures of Todd and Cookie.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride! The duo will be releasing web comics & cartoons every 3 months chronicling Todd and Cookie as they explore the catapult of destiny! You can receive updates by following their site as well as their YouTube channel.

Listen to and purchase the tunes from Todd and Cookie’s Epic 3 Song Starter Pack through the Bandcamp widget below. Recommended for ages 4 -8.

Singled Out: “Just Another Finger” – Mista Cookie Jar

a4152069260_2On April 25, 2013, I was lucky enough to attend a Kindie Music Mashup held by Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live in their New York City studio.  It was an amazing experience and one that showed off some serious talent.  Essentially, the mashup involved pairings of kindie musicians broken up into teams of two.  Each team swapped a song and played those songs in each other’s musical stylings.

Mista Cookie Jar was paired up with Dean Jones from Dog On Fleas and covered the popular song “Just Another Finger.”  To prepare, MCJ did a bunch of research on this friendly little digit, wrote down some clever lyrics and set it all to a fun kid-hop beat.  You can take a listen and download the song for free via the Bandcamp widget below (just hit BUY NOW and enter “0” when you name your price).  I think you’ll agree that this opposable ode deserves two thumbs up!

Want to sing along?  Check out the lyrics here.

To learn more about the Kindie Music Mashup check out the video below [courtesy of Sirius via YouTube]:

View This: “Lover Not A Fighter” – Mista Cookie Jar and The Chocolate Chips

61VIMF3spvL._SL500_AA280_Happy Valentine’s Day! Thinking about how to show/feel the love today? Why not whoop it up with a new video by Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips? “Lover Not A Fighter,” a hip track from Mista Cookie Jar’s Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution, honors the purity of old school funk and soul while blending in some new school kid hop by Miss Ava Flava.

Set to the backdrop of the infamous Soul Train Line, the fashionable MCJ and Miss Flava get their groove on while delivering a message about being a leader and setting an example for others:

Sometimes u gotta fight for peace,
but when ur strong u just love and lead.
So all u boys and girls go show this world
just how the good life’s meant to be.

The video for “Lover Not A Fighter” is filled with fun. Much like videos previously released by MCJ and The Chocolate Chips, it’s infectious and invokes spontaneous wiggling and shaking. Anything by this crew brings a smile to my face.

Plus, watching the amazing Soul Train dancers in the background is priceless and symbolic of pure happiness and love.

So, go on, make your own dance line, turn up your speakers and make this Valentine’s Day the “hippest trip” your family has ever seen.

Valentine’s Day special: FREE Download of “Lover Not A Fighter” all day on February 14, 2013 via the the Bandcamp widget below.

View This: Mista Cookie Jar – Inner Rock Child

We are really diggin’ the new song and video for “Inner Rock Child” from Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips‘ Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution album.  The song is a direct thank you to all the chocolate chip fans around the world, which is explicitly stated in the beginning of the song and especially evident in the repeated mantra of “we heart you/and we mean it/we heart you/you all stars you/you’re all stars” and then later on with “…we feel so grateful….we thank you thank you thank you…”  It’s so catchy that I find myself singing the chorus “We heart you!” at the most random times; like waking up in the middle of the night after drinking too much water before bed and BAM the next thing I know I’m singing it.  Or, while washing the dishes, there it is again and I’m even singing out loud and dancing a little bit this time. But, it’s all good.  It’s not the kind of song that gets in your head and you have to listen to it just to get it out of your head.  It’s the kind of song that you want to listen to over and over because it’s so much fun to sing and compels you to get up and bounce right along.

The video is a technicolor love fest featuring MCJ’s adorable kids and the rest of The Chocolate Chips rapping, singing and dancing.  There’s even a gorilla playing a pink guitar, known as Mr. Gorilla.

Throughout the song, Mista Cookie Jar refers to the love bubble and in the beginning of Inner Rock Child he even says “y’all be the reason it’s love bubble season.”  In his own words, Mista Cookie Jar explains “The Bubble itself is an imaginary forcefield that protects and guides the inner-child. It is strengthened by the collective love in a village. As a child gives back that love, the bubble grows.”  Illustrating this idea of a love bubble, several segments of the video are shot through a fish-eye lens creating the illusion that the MCJ crew is actually broadcasted from inside a bubble.  Although, the overall vibe of the video feels more like the inside of a disco ball.

“Inner Rock Child” is likely to be enjoyed by kiddos 12 and under although the lyrics are so fast they may not catch most of what Mista Cookie Jar is saying.   So, if you are seeking a more educational song this may not be your bag, however, the music is enjoyable enough that it is sure to get little bodies moving.  Em digs it and every time she hears it her foot starts tapping and a big smile crosses her face as she sings along with The Chocolate Chips.  Moreover, according to the song’s lyrics the song is “Infinitely young in touch with magic wonderful and wild.  Ages 1 to 101, no stopping…the smile.  Always with unending style. Rocking for the inner child.”

The song can be sampled and downloaded for $1.00 by clicking on the “Buy” link below.  It’s also available on iTunes here.

Lyrics to the song can be found here which help decode the speedier parts of the song.  Or, in my case, answers for when I’m asked what they’re singing about.

Video courtesy of You Tube