I hate kids’ music. I do, and I don’t at all feel bad about saying it. I didn’t even like it when I WAS a kid. “Puff The Magic Dragon” made me weep against my will for the neglected and possibly dead dragon, Burl Ives seemed like he would smell of old pipe smoke and deer sausage, and it all seemed to be, well, moronic. It was like, hey, I'm a kid, not some dimwit that needs you to talk in goo goo ga ga words or make everything sweeeeeeet.

It got LOTS worse when I had my own kids, and this crap started becoming an industry. Oh holy hell.


The Wiggles.

And for chrissakes, Barney.

No, wait, sorry. BARNEY. GOD.

It hurt, it did, but when the kids were really tiny they sort of dug it all, so I grit my teeth through the sonic saccharine because I love them THAT MUCH. And because I love them way way way even more that THAT, I always played them all kinds of music, from classical to jazz to punk. I never talked down to them, and I never wanted to assume that they couldn't appreciate music that wasn't all tied up in a tidy plastic Happy Meal premium or flogged by some creepy Disney child with a crack habit. There were songs we ALL could enjoy listening to together.

Well, guess what. I ain't the only parent out there thinking like this, and a delightful little response to the CHILD MUSIC PROBLEM I have found right in my proverbial backyard. One of my bestest pals in the world (and of the longest duration) has recorded this WAY WAY COOL album of traditional kids' songs with a decidedly and defiantly punky flavor, under the moniker Toothpick Elbow: Garage Band Nursery Rhymes. Vol. 1.

Todd and I have known each other since we were 12 years old, both in the drum section of the Oconomowoc Junior High School band in Wisconsin. Something that kept us connected all these years was our mutual devotion to all things music. Todd's been in the Bellrays, Doorslammer, plays regularly with Simon Stokes in Los Angeles, and does Toothpick Elbow gigs when he can. Something common to all his musical work is a great sense of humor and clever, diverse musicianship, with a ear for retro-cool sounds delivered by his collection of retro-cool vintage equipment. Come to think of it, Todd and I almost qualify AS retro-cool, just by virtue of our birthdates, only a few days apart in April. This I celebrate by singing along on the VERY ROCKING "Do Your Ears Hang Low," which you can find on my player if you choose.

Garage Band Nursery Rhymes is kind of like if you had your Uncle Iggy Pop and Cousin Jack White over to babysit, maybe with them stage diving off the bunkbeds, slurping down Gummi Worms, and reading Goodnight Moon by the little red glow of an amp light. The police might be called for a noise complaint, but everyone would end up having nice cups of cocoa and discussing Link Wray, and the kiddies would go to sleep and dream of the perfect Townshend windmill move, smiles on their baby faces.

I think you should buy this CD
, also available here and I would think so even if I didn't know Todd and his awesomeness personally. I like what he's doing here a whole lot, and I think you and your kids will too.

F U, Puff!