Yo Gabba Gabba! Is Proof That Kids Like Awesome Music
The colorful cast of Yo Gabba Gabba Live
Can you imagine how you would have turned out if The Flaming Lips -- the same Christmas on Mars/crazy/insane Flaming Lips you're thinking of -- had appeared on Sesame Street?
It's a question we'll soon be able to answer. The Lips have appeared on Yo Gabba Gabba!, arguably the hippest children's show of all time (no hate to Sesame Street or Electric Company). YGG! is centered on music, a natural fact considering co-creator Christian Jacobs' time as frontman of wacky O.C. ska-punk band The Aquabats and is a lifelong music fan. It's his time on the stage that also lends natural credibility to his live version of YGG!, featuring the show's cast of creatures, DJ Lance Rock, and Biz "You Got What I Need" Markie, which hits Comerica Theatre on Sunday, March 10.
Jacobs says driving around listening to music with his kids is what inspired him to team up with co-creator Scott Schultz, a veteran of the O.C. indie and shoegaze scene, to create Yo Gabba Gabba!.
"Scott and I have known each other since high school, and we'd go to concerts and play music together. Scott was actually a wedding DJ for a long time, and I would go help him and pick songs," he says. "We're all super into music. Something we wanted to do was put that out there . . . We'd listen to music in our car with our own kids. They were singing right along with us, with The Ramones, Mos Def, or whatever. The thing we dealt with was, our adult music isn't very appropriate lyrically for kids, so we [decided we were] going to try and incorporate these musical styles into the landscape of the show, and hopefully we could bring some of these bands -- the bands we love and we worship -- over to the show and have them do a song that would work for kids. It's worked out really great, better than we even expected."
Quick -- name a cool band. Got one? Chances are they've appeared on the Nickelodeon show: Solange Knowles, Devo, Rahzel, The Shins, The Roots, Jimmy Eat World, Mariachi El Bronx, Weezer, Cut Copy, and countless more. San Diego post-punk band Rocket from the Crypt even reunited on the show, amidst a cast of bright monsters and giant robots.
"It's crazy how many of our favorite bands have been on the show," Jacobs says.
The show's unique platform -- traditional values "wrapped in a hip-hop, new-school music, alternative rock show" -- came about as a reaction the "homogenized laboratory rat" TV Jacobs encountered as a parent trying to find entertainment for his kids.
"Kids' shows just felt so . . . " Jacobs trails off. "Like, 'Why am I all a sudden watching Idiocracy?' [Laughs] I felt, as a parent, these shows didn't care about my kid, and they didn't care about their parents. They definitely didn't care about me. In fact, they were banking on me putting on the TV and walking away."
Kids responded in a big way, in part because of the authenticity of the cast's musical taste. You know DJ Lance Rock, the rail-thin dude with the big hat? He's legit:
"He loves music. When I first met him he was working at Amoeba in L.A.," Jacobs says. "Right off the bat we were like, 'This is the guy.' His energy -- he's super-friendly, he loves music, and he's super-knowledgeable. He loves music; he comes home from tour and he's just got crates and crates of records he's found."
Exactly the kind of guy you want your kids watching.
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