The Ketchup Report, Vol. 8

Time once again for all the news that didn't fit into a separate post due to time, interest, contractual, or legal obligations -- it's your favorite pun-titled file folder of a blog post, the Ketchup Report! Yaaay! (Cue Kermit the Frog wild arm-flailing here...) WorldOfHappiness.jpgThe World of Happiness single, the "We Are the World" of the kids' biz, "A World of Happiness," is here. Except your kids might actually want to listen to this new song when they become parents themselves. Sales of the single, produced by Tor Hyams and Joanie Leeds, benefit Autism Speaks. The single includes a whole host of folks besides Leeds and Hyams -- Molly Ledford (who gets the honor of leading off the track), Frances England, Ralph Covert... it just goes on and on. A bunch of the participants will be recording a concert later this month for broadcast on Sirius/XM Radio later on. Anyway, it's $1.29 well-spent right here. I could probably start a whole separate post listing all the recent crowdfunding projects in the kids music world. Heck, it's almost getting to the point where I could start a blog listing all the recent crowdfunding projects in the kids music world. I've been partial to Kickstarter, of course. The two most recent projects have been a Professor Banjo and his successful second-album project and Ryan SanAngelo and his not-one-but-two-Kickstarter-projects. But other sites do the same basic thing. Van Oodles didn't quite succeed in making a video for a song of his, but LA indie-rockers Ellen and Matt and Chicago's Laura Doherty are both looking for funds for their next disks. Should you feel so inclined, help out Ellen and Matt here and Laura for her new album Shining Like a Star in the widget there to the side. -- For a limited time, Doctor Noize's "Bananas" iWhatever app is free. Download the ever-so-slightly-educational app here. (Note: may no longer be free.) -- Finally, with Earth Day coming up, a it's time for Earth Day-related tunes. Dan Zanes has a new, original tune, "Hail the Creatures" written by Zanes for a new exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo. You don't need to be near Philly to enjoy the track, just near an iTunes-enabled gadget that can download this, with proceeds benefiting the Zoo. (More details on the tune and the Zoo's new exhibit here.)... Bill Harley is offering a free download of "Keep It Green" from his 1996 album Big Big World -- you can get it here... And finally, DARIA is offering a mini-CD of 6 "earth friendly" songs, free just for the price of an e-mail address (and an earth-friendly suggestion).

Interview: Cory Cullinan (Doctor Noize)

CoryAcousticGuitarlowres.jpgCory Cullinan, the musician/genius/madman behind Doctor Noize is both a very funny and a very loquacious man. The interview below, which was conducted in late December, was even longer what's printed below. I left out jokes and I left out even more of the obvious passion Cullinan brings to his unique family music project. Even if you've never heard of Doctor Noize (or even if you have and can't forgive him for writing that "Banana" song that's still stuck in your head), read on find out more about his musical upbringing, crazy musical plans, and views on U.S. Men's National Soccer Team coach Bob Bradley. Zooglobble: What are your early musical memories growing up? Cory Cullinan: Well, my parents used me as a drum. I think. My head's a little fuzzy on that. Pretty much the only rock band we listened to when I was a little kid was the Beatles, and they're still probably my favorite band. Other than that it was musical theater and classical music. I took piano lessons, sang a lot, and played saxophone. The sax I play onstage as Dr. Noize is still the Yamaha student model I played in elementary school. The first records I bought were Queen's The Game and Saturday Night Fever... I met Howard Jones in my teens and he was super cool to me. I loved his DIY approach to making music and his unabashedly positive, anti-whine philosophical message. I learned to play a bunch of rock songs and started writing and recording my own songs on cheap Yamaha and Casio synths I bought in Hong Kong. My most significant early musical memories were in high school with my friend Mark Van Horn. His parents were not rich, but his dad nonetheless somehow funded a makeshift eight-track recording studio in the janitor's room at the apartment complex he managed. Mark and I spent virtually all our time there when I wasn't playing soccer. We wrote and recorded entire albums together in our teens, learning both the artistic and technical craft of songwriting and recording. One of those recordings -- "Gotta Teach Others To Enjoy Life" -- is actually used unchanged in our new Doctor Noize online game, Who Dropped The Block? That's 17-year-old me writing and singing all the harmonies. We went deep. So Mark introduced me to the recording studio and my future wife, then he died in his twenties of a brain tumor -- just like my brother. Crazy. Mark and my brother inspired much of my life's philosophy, really -- I sort of do a lot of things in honor of them -- and they were two of the funniest and most naturally brilliant guys I've ever met. And I was hooked -- on both the music and the girl. I listened to and played a lot of rock and pop music, then started to find the genre a bit too musically conservative to keep my fire intrigued. I know everybody in mainstream America thinks rock is rebellious and challenging and classical music is conservative, but musically speaking that is precisely backward. That's a whole other conversation. So I went to Stanford and enjoyed degrees in Music and Political Science. I performed in the Stanford Chamber Chorale with both Dave Kim (co-founder of Outblaze) and Kyle Pickett (the amazing conductor of CA's North State Symphony, who I now play concerts with). I forged a lifelong friendship with Jay Kadis, who runs the recording studio at Stanford and taught me a lot more about recording techniques, and Jay and I still get together to record some of the Doctor Noize tracks at Stanford when I'm in town. (Don't tell the university -- this interview isn't gonna be published, right???) What specific event or two made you turn to family music?

Video: "Welcome to Grammaropolis" - Doctor Noize

I know, Kids Place Live listeners are probably tired of this song, seeing as its been played there for months now, but for those who haven't heard this, it's an introductory song for Grammaropolis called "Welcome to Grammaropolis" (natch) and in addition to it being an amusing song it has an amusing video to match. (Unsurprising, considering it's a Doctor Noize joint, and Cory's pretty much the funniest guy in kids music, and that's saying something.) The song basically condenses American grammar into, like, 3 minutes. It's for people who like Schoolhouse Rock but couldn't be bothered with the whole half-hour it takes to play the Grammar Rock disk. (The lyrics can be found here should you need them.) For what it's worth, a full album covering the Grammaropolis concept -- which is actually the creation of Coert Voorhees -- is due out in 2011, but, really, why bother? Don't you and your kids know everything after watching this? Doctor Noize - "Welcome To Grammaropolis" [YouTube]

The Best Newsletter (Noizeletter) in Kids Music

I never got around to reviewing The Ballad of Phineas McBoof, the first album from Doctor Noize, Cory Cullinan's more animated alter ego. But somehow I got onto his monthly newsletter -- or, as Doctor Noize calls it, his "Noizeletter," natch. I'm on a number of artist newsletters, obviously, but this one has a higher chuckle ratio than most. In latest newsletter, Doctor Noize talks about the Absolutely Mindy theme song contest:
So listen next week for my version and the theme songs submitted by other listeners, many of whom are little kids sending in adorable stuff. And no matter what anybuddy says, Mindy does not have off-air heart-to-hearts with her life-size poster of Zac Efron in the studio in between songs. I don't know where you even heard that, but emailing that to everybuddy you know is definitely how rumors get started.
OK, setting aside the whole "anybuddy/everybuddy" thing, I'm amused by that. You might be too...