When many of us last saw Loren Hoskins and Kevin Hendrickson, they were tearing it up as the leaders of the Portland-based pirate rock band Captain Bogg and Salty. So when I heard that they'd been tapped to write the music for (and appear in) Disney Junior's animated show Jake and the Never Land Pirates, I figured it'd be an excellent fit. And if you've heard the music (a soundtrack was recently released), you'll know that it doesn't sound that much different from their work in Captain Bogg & Salty. There's a new "pirate rock" episode airing tomorrow, Thursday, November 10th as part of a big Jake and the Never Land Pirates marathon highlighting the music from the series, including sing-along versions of the live-action videos from the show. (Airs 6 - 11 AM, but, as they say, check your local listings.) So I thought this was an excellent time to catch up with the pair. They talked last week from the studio (where they're working on music for Season 2 of the show) about their musical influences growing up, the good and not-so-good parts of songwriting for TV, and why you should check your spam inbox every once in a while. Zooglobble: What are your musical memories growing up? Kevin Hendrickson: Listening to Credence Clearwater Revival and the Bee Gees on my mom's stereo. Taking piano lessons. Loren Hoskins: We listened to Marty Robbins' Gunfighter Ballads, Disneyland albums, Elvis -- I grew up in a fairly conversative household, but my parents said, "Elvis is OK." Given your work as Captain Bogg & Salty (and otherwise), it's obvious why Disney picked you for this job, but were there any interesting stories about how it came about? Hoskins: Actually, there is one interesting thing... I was working on a musical adaptation of Treasure Island, and Kevin was about to become a father again, and I happened to randomly check my spam e-mail filter. In there I found an e-mail from a VP of music at Disney saying they were interested in working with us. I re-read it 4 times and send it to Kevin, asking, "Do you think this is legit?" I talked with Steve Roslonek, AKA Mr. Steve on PBS, once, and he said that he'd learned a lot about songwriting, especially with TV's very short time limits on songs... what have you learned about songwriting in writing for Jake?
Well, Portland, Oregon's Captain Bogg & Salty have a new album coming out soon (Emphatical Piratical), and while there's no word regarding a new video for the album, the band's posted an animated video for "Cat O' Nine Tales" from their debut album Bedtime Stories For Pirates. Besides a groan-inducing rhyme including "Virgil and Homer," it's a jaunty pop tune that seems to have been preserved in amber for, like 35 years. It's no "Pieces of 8ight", but what is? Captain Bogg & Salty - "Cat O' Nine Tales"
Today (Friday) is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so it's only appropriate that the word from Captain Bogg & Salty is that, shiver me timbers, they will have a new album coming out in the new year. Emphatical Piratical is the album's name, and it'll be released in early 2009 (though attendees at this weekend's Portland Pirate Festival might be able to pick up an early copy). Here's the track listing... 1. Emphatical Piratical 2. Don’t Drink Sea Water 3. Port Side 4. Treading the Seas for Pirate Gold 5. Bunnyjacks 6. Frogg Island 7. Purple Tiki 8. The Plank Walker 9. Sea Monster II 10. Never Smile at a Crocodile 11. Waltz of the Waves 12. Who’s at Captain’s Table? And, after the jump, quite possibly the best kids music video ever. If you haven't seen it, click through. And if you have, then click anyway, 'cuz you know how great it is.
Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. I have nothing to say about the holiday, really. It is, however, an excuse to show the KidVid Tournament 2007 Champion, Captain Bogg & Salty's "Pieces of 8ight." Regardless of whether you've never seen it or seen it a hundred times, it's worth your four minutes. Arrrrrrr, mateys.
I will be upfront and say that although pirate mania seems to be taking over the world, I, thus far, have been immune. No eyepatches, no using pirate lingo, and only on the rarest of occasions do I drop an "Aaarrrrrrgggghhh." (Though that does give me tremendous satisfaction.) I do, however, make an exception for the charms -- yes, charms -- of Captain Bogg & Salty, which for nearly 10 years has been performing kids and families in their home port of Portland, Oregon and in other parts of the world. They are a pirate band, though I think it's probably more truthful to call them a pop/rock/theatrical band with a very piratical attitude. This is definitely noticeable on their third album Prelude to Mutiny, which was released in 2006. The album starts out with a more traditional vibe, led off by a rousing version of "Drunken Sailor." The next track, "Bosun Whistle," has a traditional sound, but also sounds a little bit like trip-hop -- call it "ship-hop." And its unsettled lyrics about an uneasy sky lead nicely into the third track, "Mutiny of the Hispaniola," which, as you might expect from the title, is an elaborate story song about a pirate mutiny. Captain Feathersword, this ain't. The rest of the album, while not totally happy and cheerful, backs off from the darker side explored in those first three tracks. "The Loneliest Sailor" is a love song, believe it or not. "Doldrums," while exploring the not-so-happy occurrence of being trapped in idle waters, is married to a straight-ahead rock melody. "Dead Men Tell No Tales" is the best song AC/DC never wrote. And the good captain's deranged take on "Part of Your World," from Disney's The Little Mermaid is in its own special category of "must-be-heard-to-be-believed." Darker in tone than its predecessor, the album lyrically is appropriate for a slightly older audience, perhaps kids ages 6 through 10+. Which isn't to say that younger kids wouldn't appreciate some of the tracks here, just that if you've got a three-year-old, I'd probably start out with Pegleg Tango perhaps rather than this. You can hear samples here. If you hate pirates, then I wouldn't recommend this. (Though I'd ask you, why'd you make it this far in the first place?) If you or someone in your family loves pirates, or even if, like me, they're just fans of well-crafted rock/pop songs and stories in song, then Prelude to Mutiny is worth your time. Recommended.
Well, I've finally gotten around to picking winners in a couple of recent contests and just want to share the results. Both the East and West Coasts represent. First, in the contest to win the New York-based Deedle Deedle Dees' excellent new album, Freedom in a Box (review) for a local school or library, I randomly selected longtime reader and West Coast resident Katy, who offered four historical personages her family would love a Deedle Deedle Dees song about: Amelia Earhart, Abigail Adams, Benny Benson, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Lloyd Miller (Ulysses Dee) will actually record a song for Katy and her family using those people. No word yet on whether Lloyd will choose one or create his own historical mash-up of multiple characters. Anyway, thanks very much to Lloyd on that item. Second, in our contest related to the KidVid Tournament 2007 final, the randomly-selected voter was East Coast resident Christine, a big fan of the Portland (Oregon)-based Captain Bogg & Salty and voted for "Pieces of 8ight." Because she already has all three of the band's albums (including Pegleg Tango), she asked for a copy of San Francisco-based Frances England's Fascinating Creatures CD. Thanks both to Captain Bogg and his crew and to Frances for offering their CDs as prizes. (I'm sure I will have another opportunity to give the Bogg CD away.)