Thursday, March 21, 2013

Moon and stars protect you, Kevin Hendrickson and Loren Hoskins

One of the perks of having small kids is the excuse to listen to some excellent children's music. It would be cool but untruthful to say the first album I was really into was Somewhere in Time or The Beatles' "Blue" Album


To be honest it was more like Mickey Mouse Splashdance, which I must have played over 100 times. Somehow I managed to sneak Girls, Girls, Girls into the rotation as well, though it turned out to be too intense for my younger self:
East LA at midnight.
Papa won't be home tonight.
Found dead with his best friend's wife (HUH!)
My dad was working a 2nd shift back during those Hard Times. The idea of him being anywhere but inside our house at midnight was scary, let alone him turning up dead in some boudoir of iniquity.

As you grow up your musical tastes evolve, from the brash and thrusting (adolescence) to the romantic and  mood-inducing (adulthood) to the melodic and nostalgic (later middle-age).  Yet there is something so joyful and pure about children's music that it never ceases to enchant you no matter what your stage of life (provided you don't overdose on the stuff).  I think The Beatles channel some of this same magic and, come to think of it, several of their most popular tunes (Yellow Submarine, Octopus's Garden) ARE basically children's songs.

Disney has a new show called Jake and the Neverland Pirates, with music by  Kevin Hendrickson (Bones) and Loren Hoskins (Sharky).  The two were performing in their own "pirate rock" band (based on how corny, guileless, and technically intricate any fad is, it can be triangulated down to the exact Portland neighborhood where it was invented) when Disney discovered the two and made them the house-band for their new show.

Kevin and Loren are great, and their first CD is excellent.  It's been a little disappointing, therefore, to see the compromises that have come with success.  Let's not get overly dramatic here.  This ain't Atlantic Records demanding a 3 minute cut of Stairway to Heaven.  Still, it's clear that the Pirate Band's live performances are less energetic and spontaneous than of yore:
How did you like doing the live concert on the Mag Mile?
Loren: It was cool. I miss having a live band though.
Kevin: I do, too.
Loren: I really miss it. At least we’re performing for kids and families again and that’s great, but we’re still performing to track, and it doesn’t feel all the way sincere… I don’t know if I should say that.
No, I understand what you’re saying. Coming from a musical background like both of you do, it must feel very different to play without a live band.
Loren: Kevin and I were always really good about working with the band and playing together, and playing out the moments like, ‘It doesn’t feel right to play this song right now, let’s skip to this one…’ or ‘Let’s just have the band vamp for a little bit, and get the kids yelling yo-ho and stuff.’
Sorry, can't feed off the audience's energy anymore.  Not compatible with the Disney commitment to a consistent buyer experience!

And, of course, the two have been glammed up to be more compatible (gateway product?) with the metrosexual swashbuckler look of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.  Before Loren (Sharky, the fat one) had a lovably scruffy look.  Now he's just another eunuch with ceremonial beard from Game of Thrones:



Moon and stars protect you, Kevin and Loren!  Ride this gravy train for all it's worth, just don't lose sight of where you came from and who your friends are.  Loren, who's a pretty good voice and comedic talent, may be sorely tempted to give Kevin the shiv for a bit part on Cars 3.  Resist, resit!

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