Big Bang Boom is a pop/rock music group from Greensboro that plays parent-friendly children’s music. After 20 years touring clubs and playing parties, Chuck Folds (younger brother of Ben Folds), Steve Willard, and Eddie Walker decided to expand their horizons and play for parents who have had enough of Barney, The Wiggles, and Kidz Bop. Big Bang Boom is kid’s music with a pop sensibility, aimed at being something that parents can enjoy and feel good about letting their kids listen to and see live.
Established in early 2007, Big Bang Boom has released 2 cds of original music, been invited to play the prestigious Kidzapalooza stage at Lollapalooza, The kids stage at Hangout Fest, The Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF), Musikfest (Bethlehem, PA), Tosco Music Party, been a regular attraction at several Children’s Museums, ran the Big Bang Boom Rock Star Summer Music Camp, and played countless elementary and pre-schools, as well as other events around North Carolina. They have also been in high demand for birthday parties, and regularly fill a nightclub in Greensboro for daytime shows geared toward helping parents keep kids busy during summer break.
Big Bang Boom plays some children’s favorites as well as their own original songs for kids. So check ‘em out, bring your young rockers to a show- or have them perform at any event where kids are ready to be kids!
The live show is high-energy, and demands the crowd (the kids AND parents) get involved. From getting the kids on stage to join the “Spongebob Chorus” to the parents vs. the kids hokey pokey challenge, Big Bang Boom has established the mantra “the is no sitting down at a Big Bang Boom show!” Their songs have won accolades in the John Lennon, USA, International, and Great American Songwriting Contests.
They are set to release their 3rd cd titled "Because I Said So" on September 18, 2012.
Chuck Folds- bass/vocals
Steve Williard- guitar/vocals
Eddie Walker- drums/vocals
CD- "Songs Your Mom Will Like"
tracks available at http://www.reverbnation.com/#/bigbangboom
CD- "Why Can't I Have Ice Cream"
tracks available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bigbangboom
Are We There Yet?
I Can Sing
Monster Under the Bed
Mom, Can I Watch TV?
Kid On the First Day of School
Music your kids can rock to
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There is no sitting down at a Big Bang Boom concert. Bassist Chuck Folds makes this clear to a la...There is no sitting down at a Big Bang Boom concert.
Bassist Chuck Folds makes this clear to a large crowd of kids and adults at the outdoor auditorium of the Greensboro Children's Museum.
By the third song, though most of the kids are standing on their feet, the majority of the parents are still too busy eating pizza on the grass.
"This is not going to do. I'm not happy about that," Folds says. "Nobody sits down at a Big Bang Boom show!"
But when Folds along with guitar player Steve Williard and drummer Eddie Walker pit the kids against the grown-ups in a high-energy game of the Hokey Pokey, nearly everyone is on their feet and dancing, because, well, that's what it's all about.
"Get up off your tushes," Folds says. "I don't care if you got a pizza in your hand; you can dance with a pizza in your hand!"
During the past year, Big Bang Boom has become a rapidly growing fixture of the Triad music scene.
The Greensboro group represents a new trend in children's music that doesn't sing down to kids nor alienate their parents with overly synthesized music or silly lyrics about friendly animals with odd names. Instead, one will often find Big Bang Boom singing pop-punk anthems about eating too much ice cream, fighting with bratty siblings or empathizing about the monster under the bed.
This summer, Big Bang Boom's concerts have been packing a wide range of venues such as birthday parties, pubs and even public libraries with audiences who prove you can never be too young — or old — to rock.
Ken Egerton , who has attended a trio of Big Bang Boom concerts with his daughter Leah, who is 3\u20091/2, has a good reason for the group's appeal: "It's fun!" Egerton says. "It's something we can both kind of get into."
"If a parent is 32 now, what were they listening to in their 20s?" asks Folds. "1998, 1997, 1996 — they were into Green Day; they were into Nirvana; they were into Pearl Jam; they were into grunge, right?
"There's a lot of hard stuff during that time, so of course the idea of the Wiggles makes them want to vomit."
Stefan Shepard is the webmaster for http://www.zooglobble.com, a site dedicated to children's and family music. A UNC-Chapel Hill graduate who works for the Arizona l egislature in the daytime, he gets between 250 and 300 children's music albums each year, many of which he reviews on his Web site.
According to Shepard, the harder sounding bands, such as Big Bang Boom, were never heard in children's music 10 years ago.
"There used to be a stigma associated to kids' music in that it was uncool to do kids' music, and if you did make kids' music, that was somehow the single end to any sort of real music you might be making," Shepard says. "And now you've got musicians who are having kids, and who are not willing to give up what they do for a living say at night, but they also want to be able to make music with and for their kids.
"You've got a lot of musicians now who play harder-edged music and they don't see any distinction between kids' music and the music they might make for adults."
Williard, who continues to play music for adult audiences with Folds in the group Rubberband, says the youthful zeal needed to play rock music for that audience translates well into performing for kids.
"We're at frat parties, we're at weddings, so we're constantly around a youthful era that wants to be reciprocated with energy" Williard says. "So bringing that down on a kids' level is really easy."
Not everything about Big Bang Boom has been elementary. When the group first started last year, they had difficulty finding a venue where they could play for younger audiences. To put it simply, there weren't any regular places where children could go to hear live music geared exclusively for them.
So with literally no options to choose from, Folds and Williard decided it would be best to contact the establishments where they played many of their shows for adults: local bars. However, citing age-old taboos about parents bringing their kids into a drinking establishment, many bar owners turned them down until the band approached the Blind Tiger in Greensboro.
"I asked Doc (the owner) at the Blind Tiger, and he said 'Hell yeah, man," Folds says.
Last summer, Big Bang Boom played every Wednesday at the Blind Tiger, and according to Folds, the group's daytime shows drew bigger audiences than many of the regular nighttime shows on weekends.
From there, Big Bang Boom has attracted younger audiences and their parents to other venues including parks, schools and even a tour of all 10 Forsyth County Libraries.
Last June, Jenny Boneno , branch manager of the Rural Hall Library , watched as more than 80 people, young and old, filled up the auditorium to see Big Bang Boom play. Needless to say, she thinks the concert was a huge success.
"It was loud," Boneno says. "But I think kids should see this as a fun and exciting place. I mean, there's a time for quiet, but there's a time for noise, too."
The Big Bang Boom show at the Greensboro Children's Museum was such a hit that the museum directors signed the group up to play a show at 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday throughout July and August this year.
"Big Bang Boom has been playing here for about six or eight months, and they have a great following," says Gabrielle Howell, education director of the museum. "They have their own special set of toddler groupies that tend to follow them around. They know when they're coming. They come to every concert and they're right in the front row jamming it up."
Ellie Jones, age 6, is one of the group's younger fans. Just like two other kids at the museum show, she brought a guitar so she could rock out with the band. The only difference is that her instrument is a self-made number fashioned out of a recycled shoe box, a paper towel roll, pink feathers and rubber bands.
"I made it at camp," Jones says.
Folds and Williard say this happens all the time.
"We just played a birthday party a couple of weeks ago without our drummer, but this kid has a little electronic drum thing," Folds says. "And when we found out we were going to be playing without our drummer, his mom says he kinda just lit up and was like, 'I can play drums for them!'"Williard adds, "He didn't smile, he didn't look up from his drums, but he just kept playing the entire time."
Noting this desire from some of their younger fans to do more than just watch them play, this summer Folds and Williard teamed up with the Greensboro Children's Museum to create the Big Bang Boom Rock Star Camp! , two week long seminars for kids where the band will teach children how to stage a rock concert. After spending a week writing songs, making concert fliers and perfecting their air guitar skills, the campers' training will culminate in a gig as the opening act at a Big Bang Boom show.
And although teaching kids is always a challenge, Williard says neither he nor Folds will be as ill prepared as Jack Black in "School of Rock."
"Both of us have educational backgrounds," Williard says. "I got my degree in history education and Chuck's a part-time professor at UNCG."
"We'll teach them about lip-synching, how to play air guitar, then we'll get them up on stage and let them act goofy," Folds says.
Children have certainly gone a long way towards making Big Bang Boom a success in the local music scene, but Folds, Williard and Walker all agree they owe a bigger part of their celebrity status to another demographic — the kids' moms.
"We made a T-shirt that says 'Hot Moms Love Big Bang Boom,'" Folds says. "Because our philosophy is this: If the mothers like it, they'll bring the kids."
"This goes with any other type of music, too," Williard says. "If girls dig it, guys will attend."Joe Scott is a freelance contributor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Blind Tiger's newest regulars - my kids
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There's something going on at the Blind Tiger on Wednesday afternoon. The seats of the barstools ...There's something going on at the Blind Tiger on Wednesday afternoon.
The seats of the barstools are polished. Someone's mopped the floor to a buffed, dull shine. And... is that a "No Smoking" sign on the door? What the hell?
Doc's behind the bar, like usual, but he's not pacing, not glancing out the big picture window to gauge foot traffic and see how the other clubs on Walker Avenue are doing.
And there are kids in here. Like five of them, including my 7-year-old who's sitting at the bar munching on cheddar Goldfish, propping his elbow up like he's done this every Wednesday afternoon of his life.
I weep for the future.
The rest of them scamper around the floor in tie-dye T-shirts and Crocs, drinking boxed juice and cramming salty snacks into their candy holes. An Oriental rug the size of a small room lays in the pit before the stage, where the
band sets up with consummate ease.
"Hey, don't touch that," says Chuck Folds to his young son who's lurking near the bass amp.
When it's go time they open with "Upside Down" - no, not the Diana Ross disco groove from back in 1980; this one's a Jack Johnson song, and if you've ever watched Noggin, there's a good chance you've internalized the melody and sometimes find yourself singing it in the car.
During the rendition, Chuck gets off the stage and kneels on the rug. He's immediately surrounded by a quintet of the little yard apes, who stomp their chubby legs and push their tiny bodies into the air.
It goes on: a song about names; the one with the monkeys jumping on the bed; the themes to "Spongebob Squarepants" and "The Backyardigans"; a very funky "Hokey Pokey." Then they throw out one for the parents massed at the periphery of the action, "Brown-Eyed Girl," and that's when they lose the core crowd, which by now numbers about 35.
Good time for a set break.
"I haven't played in a band that could put this many people in the Blind Tiger since Bus Stop," says Folds, a longtime fixture on the North Carolina music scene.
"[When I played] in Bus Stop, I had always wanted to bring songs to the group, but everything I came up with sounded like a kids' song," Folds says. "And Evan [Olson] said to me, 'So write children's music.'"
He put the idea in the back of his mind for a while, but the synapses fired when he met Ralph Covert six years ago.
Covert's past lives include time as the frontman for Chicago band the Bad Examples and a stretch as a playwright. But he found true success writing and performing children's songs with his band Ralph's World. Now he tours nationally for crowds of roughly the same demographic as this one.
"He handed me this CD of children's music," Folds recalls, "and I was like, 'Holy shit. That's how you do it.' It was like pop music with kids' kind of lyrics."
Eventually the idea came to fruition and Folds, along with drummer Eddie Walker and guitarist Steve Williard, have been packing the Tiger with the booger-eating set every Wednesday since July as Big Bang Boom!, the kickingest kids' band in town.
It makes sense. A lot of the Tiger's patrons have settled down and procreated - hell, some of these kids may have been conceived in this very bar. And an opportunity to take an hour in the middle of a hot summer week and chill with the other parents while our kids dance and run themselves into exhaustion... well, you don't have to think too long on that one.
The second set sees a few originals - the band is currently working on a CD of their own tunes - but it's the cover of "Hot Potato" by the Wiggles that brings the room to their knees.
My own 2-year-old daughter Babygirl shows a flush of recognition when the number begins, and she makes a mad dash for the dancing rug, her little body at a 45-degree angle to the floor, so she can do the Hot Potato dance. When she gets in front of the stage she stands transfixed, a beatific look on her pudgy face.
Her siblings - the 7-year-old and his 4-year-old brother, who has decided that he, too, is a little too cool to shake it on the dance floor - have staked positions at the bar, elbows propped, swinging their little legs on the stools.
And then I get this glimpse of the future - my kids, grown to extended adolescence, hitting a bar to catch a band while their mother and I sleep. My sons will do just as they're doing now: sit like jaded hipsters on the bar rail while scoping out the room. My sweet little Babygirl will be cruising the dance floor, possibly trying to arrange a romantic liaison with the guitar player.
But that's a long way off. I return to the here and now, look at my boys as they innocently and systematically shovel chips into their mouths, see their sister stomping her little flip-flopped feet on the rug with joy on her face. I tuck my notebook under my arm and while the band plays on I do the Mashed Banana portion of the dance.
I know it well.
For questions or comments, e-mail Brian Clarey at email@example.com
Big Bang Boom plays their upbeat originals as well as songs by kid's favorites such as Dan Zanes and Ralph Covert. They also play standard party songs like "Five Little Monkeys", "Hokey Pokey", and "Ants Go Marching". Of course they have to drop in a few for the moms, including Jack Johnson and Van Morrison.