Thursday, November 30, 2006

What's the Big Deal about Dan Zanes?

I mean, the guy's face is everywhere--you can't read a word worth writing about decent kids music without seeing his name. What's the big whoop?

I'll tell you (according to me): it's because he's the man. Honestly, I can say that I wouldn't have ponied up and made my CD if I hadn't ever encountered his music. Okay, so we're still on "why he's a big deal to me"--and since this is my blog, we may stay here, but I have this feeling on the inside that I'm not the only semi-talented, semi-funded, indie-kid-music-making chick out there with the same story.

Before I made my CD, I didn't listen to a lot of kids music--I mean, we had three dollars less than "no money" for quite a while, and CD-buying was not on the list (it fell somewhere after groceries, as I remember). The only "kids" music we listened to was the stuff people bought for us--and mostly we listened to it once, and then we promptly gave it away to the Goodwill for somebody else to um, er, enjoy.

I started writing the songs we sang in my sons' parent participation group because I didn't know any other kids songs besides "Dinah Won't You Blow" and "The Wheels on the Bus"--and I was bored. I'd already written a fat stack of songs by the time I'd heard of Zanes.

I still remember hearing the song "Thrift Shop" for the first time: Sandra Bernhard pairs with him for this song--and I listened the first time because I LOVE to thrift shop and so do my boys (as if they had a choice), and I remember playing the song back a second or third time to "check" what I thought I'd heard: It seemed like MAYBE Sandra didn't hit every note just right. In fact, maybe she had sort of a medium voice.

I checked. It was true.

And that fantastic thing about it was that I LOVED THE SONG. I won't even say that I loved the song ANYWAY. I mean I LOVED THE SONG. Part of her gutsy-belt-it-out-just-as-it-is was what makes the song so deliciously terrific. And it was this green light for me to go for it with my own music.

The big deal about Zanes? He's told the world that making music oughta be about good times. I'd say that's worth a big whoop.


Stefan said...

Hey, I read this, too. So that's, like, 4 people.

Insert "started writing about kids music" for "made my CD," and I could've written this post.

Except for the part about thrift shops. I dislike thrift shops intensely. (You nailed Sandra Bernhard, though.)

--ginger. said...


I just know that we can cure you of your dislike for thrift shops. I have a handout, if you'd like it (Thrift Shops 101).