Thaddeus Rex
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Thaddeus Rex

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States
Band Rock Children's Music


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"We Wanna Rock"

It’s pretty rare these days to find a kids’ performer as imaginative and original as Thaddeus Rex, and rarer still, a musician who weaves educational content into his tunes in a hip way. For his second album, the singer-guitarist (T-Rex for short) widens and expands upon his 2004 debut, Martian Television Invasion Lesson Plans (the singer left the PBS show The Friday Zone in 2003 to focus on performing). His songs are as inventive melodically as they are lyrically—topics range from anxiety over moving to a new city (“I Don’t Want to Go”) to a surrealist riff on the library (“Kazooey Decimal”) to, well, “You Can Tell a Boy by the Smell” and “I Stepped in Dog Doo.” The use of mild gross-out humor in a handful of songs shows what a canny writer he is; it also acts as a clever ploy to keep kids interested during the more serious tracks. Plus, his songs expand well past the CD player—the T-Rex website has an impressive amount of material based around his tunes, as well as tips for kids interested in songwriting.
Thaddeus sings in a slightly quavering voice which, at times, is reminiscent of David Bowie—flashes of Monty Python, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein also flit in throughout the album. And a lovely, if incongruous, cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” serves to make the CD all the more unusual. But make no mistake: While Thaddeus Rex’s quirky originality and loopy energy may take some getting used to, it’s guaranteed to keep kids from wishing he were extinct.—Jem Aswad

- Time Out NY Kids

"They're Shakin' in Chicago, we're dancing over here"

Thaddeus Rex's latest CD, Shakin' in Chicago, is for parents and kids who have moved beyond sugar-sweet versions of You Are My Sunshine. (Read: all of us). T. Rex has a unique voice and rocks the acoustic guitar in a way that reminded me of the Violent Femmes, if the Femmes had sung cheerful pop-n-rock music for kids with songs like I Still Love Cookies and Dinosaur Living Inside My Head.

The songs are smart, funny, catchy and all those things I pretty much want in my children's music. I found myself trying to sing along with the powerful voice of Koko Taylor on the title song, Shakin' in Chicago. And, I still get all verklempt listening to the big brothers' ode, I'll Always Follow You, which won a John Lennon Song Writing Contest Grand Prize. What really struck my motherly heart, though, was listening to the uplifting The Stream, which was written by a 10-year-old who won T Rex's Write Like a Rock Star songwriting contest.

Kids music? Yes. But don't be surprised if you find yourself listening even after the kids are on their way to school. -Christina - Cool Mom Picks

"Shakin' in Chicago"

Thaddeus Rex covers plenty of ground, with the rockin' title track that features legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins and equally legendary blues singer Koko Taylor, the chilled-out organ of "Where Can I Find Green Eggs & Ham?" and the countrified "Dog Without Fur." And what better way to end the album than with a cover of Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" that includes a jarring vocal version of the sax lines? With his unique voice and eclectic songwriting and selection, Thaddeus Rex delivers an album of music that entire families can enjoy. - New York Post

"Seal of Approval Winner spring '08"

Once again Thaddeus Rex hooked our testers with his catchy melodies and lyrics that your listeners really related to. Of course Thaddeus, a previous Seal of Approval winner, knows his way around this audience, obvious to anyone who listens to his songs about dinosaurs and cookies. The music is fun, but also complex enough that adults will find themselves singing along as well. More than one parents admitted that they found themselves driving and singing along, even when their kids weren't in the car! High praise. - The National Parenting Center


John Lennon Songwriting Contest
(2008)—GRAND PRIZE WINNER! (Best Kids Song - 2008)

James Patterson’s Pageturner Awards—

Parents’ Choice Approved Award for Shakin’ in
Chicago (2008)

The National Parenting Center’s Seal of
Approval (2008)

West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest,
Best Kids Song (2008)

Film Advisory Board’s Award of Excellence (2008)

Finalist - The UK Songwriting Contest (2008)

Children’s Music Web Awards’ Best Recording for
Younger Children (2007)—WINNER

The National Parenting Center’s Seal of
Approval (2007)

Film Advisory Board’s Award of Excellence (2007)

Nominated - Children's Artist of the Year: Los Angeles Music Awards

Publishers Weekly’s Listen Up Award (2006)

Great American Song Contest—Honors
Award (2006)

Children’s Music Web Awards, Best Song (2004)

National Parenting Publication’s NAPPA Honors
award (2004) - John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize Winner & more...

"Read Like a Rock Star!!"

Thaddeus Rex's motto is "Read Like a Rock Star," and the Chicago-based family musician loves literature as much as music.
Rex -- his real name is Thaddeus Holmes -- grew up reading like crazy in Indiana and was a philosophy major in college at Indiana University. Still, he wanted to become a rock star.

11 a.m. Saturday
Tickets, $10
Children's Songwriting Workshops, 1 and 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Tickets, $20
Gorton Community Center, 400 E. Illinois, Lake Forest
(847) 234-6060;
"Doesn't everyone?" he asked in a recent phone interview from the road.
In college, Rex discovered the martial arts, and "the first thing I did that was really hard" was to work at tae kwon do and a form of jujitsu until he had the black belts of an expert in both those martial arts forms.
"I learned the value of setting a goal and working toward it," he said.
After that, becoming a rock star seemed attainable. But it was songwriting that really changed everything for Rex, who thinks "the songwriter is a modern-day poet." He got into family music because "I couldn't write a song without putting something silly in it," and because "my songs were connecting with the kids" in an early career of playing every gig he could land.
Rex found he couldn't pass up any chance to encourage children to love books, and he soon drifted into playing mostly in schools and libraries. Now, he's re-emerging out into a more public career, but Rex still can't stop singing about books, which not only make him happy but also inspire many of his songs, like "Where Can I Find Green Eggs and Ham?"
On Saturday, Rex will host a CD release party for his new album, "Shakin' in Chicago" at the Gorton Center in Lake Forest, singing and playing the new songs, part of a national tour and one of the handful of public concerts he has played in the Chicago area in the last year. Then, in the afternoon, he will oversee two songwriting workshops, showing kids how to put their feelings to music.
Not only that, but he's getting his fans all over the country, who are most enthusiastic from the ages of 4 to 9, involved in writing lyrics through his interactive Web site, And one of those kids will hear his or her song on Rex's next CD as part of a contest he holds on his site. Next week, in conjunction with "TV Turnoff Week," Rex will announce the 2008 winner.
Last year's winner was Nickie Cashdollar, a Dubuque, Iowa, fourth-grader. Cashdollar will appear at Saturday's concert in Lake Forest to help Rex sing the song they co-wrote based on her entry in the songwriting contest, "The Stream."
Carolyn Brode, performing arts manager at the Gorton Center, is excited about making "a full day" of Rex's performance-workshop double whammy.
"Kids can take their parents to the concert, go lunch and come back for one of the workshops," she said.
Parents can stay and observe the workshops if they like.
"And the tie-in with TV Turnoff Week is just perfect," Brode said. "This is what parents are looking for."

- Chicago Sun Times

"“When it comes to Kids Rock, T-Rex devours the competition”"

Thaddeus Rex gives kids’ music a brainy twist.

By Matt Wood

JUMPIN’ JIVE Thaddeus Rex keeps the energy high at his kids’ concerts.
T-Rex—a.k.a. Thaddeus Holmes—is likely the only kids’ musician with a philosophy degree. The Indiana University grad-school alum uses his brainy background to write silly-sweet acoustic rock tunes and to encourage kids to be creative through songwriting workshops and contests. T-Rex was raised right across the border in Covington, Indiana, and now lives with his wife, three-year-old son and infant daughter in Ukrainian Village. His motto, “Read Like a Rock Star,” born out of his own love for books, finds its way into almost every one of his songs.
His latest album, Shakin’ in Chicago, debuted this month and features collaborations with Koko Taylor, 94-year-old bluesman Pinetop Perkins and George Gershwin’s son, Alan. We caught up with him after one of his recent shows in south suburban New Lenox.
Time Out Chicago: Was it always your intention to write kids’ music?
Thaddeus Rex: I was trying to write country songs, rock songs, whatever I could—and kids’ songs kept coming out. I couldn’t really finish a song without something goofy or silly in it, and I kind of realized that was what I was meant to do.
TOC: How did you develop the idea for “Read Like a Rock Star?”
Thaddeus Rex: After a show in Las Vegas, a couple of teachers approached me about coming to their school to promote reading. That’s when I thought, “Wow, I could really do something with my music.” So I started a songwriting contest where kids submit their own poems. Now, when I perform at a school or go to a public venue, parents contact me afterward to tell me their kids are wanting to write.
TOC: What’s your goal with opening up your creative process like that?
Thaddeus Rex: I think the best way to make the world a better place is to create more critical thinkers, people who are willing to question the system. Those are the people who become inventors and revolutionaries in their fields. Silicon Valley and all these places wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for people with that attitude.
TOC: Does reading influence what you write?
Thaddeus Rex: There’s no other way to get my imagination moving. I get lots of specific ideas from all kinds of books as I’m reading. For the song “Where Can I Find Green Eggs and Ham?” I was reading the [Dr. Seuss] book to my son, and I just thought that would make a really funny song. When I was younger, I read mostly fantasy and science fiction, but as I’ve matured, I’ve learned to enjoy most everything. Still, my all-time favorite book series ever is “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis.
TOC: How did you manage to collaborate with such noteworthy musicians on this new album?
Thaddeus Rex: Alan Gershwin actually sent me some songs. They weren’t kids’ songs; they were kind of songs for tweens and teenagers. So we took a love song, and I turned it into a love song for a big brother. Another romantic love song, I turned it into one about how much kids love the carnival.
TOC: I got ahold of Pinetop Perkins’s manager and kind of explained the project. He’s created a foundation [to support retired musicians], so I actually gave a portion of the royalties for the song he appears on to his foundation.
Thaddeus Rex: With Koko Taylor, I just pitched the project. Being in the recording studio with her was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Her voice is so powerful. And her whole body goes into that singing. It was amazing being that close to her, hearing her sing a song that I wrote.
Thaddeus Rex hosts a CD release show and two songwriting workshops Saturday 19 at Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest.

- Time Out Chicago


To All Presenters,

I recently had the pleasure of presenting two performances of Thaddeus Rex : "Read Like a Rock Star". These shows were part of the Fantastic Free Friday serie at Miami University Middletown held in our 749 seat auditorium. Both of our near-capacity audiences were primarily elementary age students, grade K-5, but we had some younger and older students there as well. I sometimes heitate to book a single performer for our venue, but in this case there was no need to be concerned. From the very opening of the how when Thaddeus strolled around our audietorium making eye contact, singing and getting to know his audience, to the very end of the show where the entire group was yelling "Encore!" there was a rapport in the room which is seldom achieved. I got the impressino that the show was always about the audience members and that there was a purpose for the event. The purpose is reading. The theme of reading books in order to spur one's imagination was present in every song. The added incentive to enter a song writing contest on his web site is one that I hope the teachers will embrace. The possibilities for follow up to these shows are abundant and important.

Take a look at and see if the purpose of all the excitement is what your students need. I can tell you that the enthusiasm and professionalism of the performer are guaranteed.

Susan Joyce
Coordinator, Fantastic Free Fridays
Miami University
4200 E. University Blvd
Middletown, OH 45042-3497

- Susan Joyce of Middletown University, Middletown, OH

"REFERENCE LETTER (from an Elem School)"

Thanks to a grant from the Target Foundation, Boone Trail elementary in WEntzville, MO, was able to enjoy and benefit from two performances and a writing session given by Thaddeus Rex. The talents of this man are many. Students, teachers and parents were excited, enthralled, mesmerized by this rock concert which extolled the joys of reading and writing.

It took no time for Thaddeus Rex to capture his audience. the youngest viewers loved the dinosaur song. The fifth graders were attracted to the guitars and amp. In the blink of an eye even the most jaded students, forgot that it wasn't cool to like a performance that extolled learning. Smiles and laughter filled the gymnasium. Soon, the entire audience was on its feet dancing. As the students go louder, the teachers' smiles began to fade and then, the most amazing thing occurred. Thaddeus brought the entire audience back to calmness. Even more amazingly, this occurred over and over. the audience would reach fever pitch and then a serious discussion about reading, achieving, and effort brought serious thought to all.

Thaddeus Rex spent about two hours directing a writing workshop for sixty fourth graders. The students with subtle prodding by Thaddeus composed a group poem which he set to music. It was interesting to watch the interplay between the students and this man. It was impressive but the students were trying hard to impress him. Several weeks later, though, I observed the impact Thaddeus had had on these sixty students. Since the library does not check out books the last week of chool, I had all six of the fourth grade classes write poems about a teacher in the school as a farewell gift. Every student in the two classrooms who had attended the writing workshop finihed the poem which was set to the tune of "Davy Crockett" during the thirty minute library period. In the other classes only about one third of the students were able to accomplish this task. (Students who were at the workshop were not hand-picked. They had a scheduled library class the day Thaddeus was there.)

I highly recommend Thaddeus Rex for all schools. his performance and impact are outstanding.

Jeri E. McCollister, Librarian
Boone Trail Elem
555 E. Highway N, Wentzville, MO 63385
636-327-3830 - Geri Macallister, media spec., Boone Trail Elementary, Wentzville, MO


Martian Television Invasion (2004)

We Wanna Rock - Non-Fiction & Nonsense from the Heartland - (2006)

Shakin' in Chicago - (2008) **Featuring KOKO TAYLOR & PINETOP PERKINS & winner of 14 AWARDS!**



Contrary to popular belief, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. Award-winning children’s songwriter and acoustic rock singer Thaddeus Rex found just the opposite to be true.

Early in his career, performing in a Las Vegas Borders bookstore, a schoolteacher was impressed with the way Rex used books to inspire his songwriting and encouraged him to share his passion for reading in his shows. Her idea stuck and Rex’s mantra Read Like A Rock Star!! was born and is now shared in over 200 concerts a year.

Born in Danville, IL, Rex grew up in Indiana, spending his formative years reading, playing first chair trombone in his high school’s award-winning jazz and symphonic bands, and studying martial arts, earning black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Jujitsu to become a sensei or teacher. Rex says it best, “I’ve always been an avid reader with a passion for writing, but lacked focus. Martial arts provided that focus. Books provided the inspiration, and I learned to channel my passion into a career.”

While at Indiana University, Thaddeus got the opportunity to create, write and star in a regular segment for the Emmy Award winning PBS kids’ show, The Friday Zone. Needless to say, he jumped at the opportunity.

In fall 2003, Thaddeus left PBS to write, record and perform full-time, going on to win the prestigious NAPPA HONORS award from United Parenting Publications and the Children’s Music Web Awards’ BEST SONG 2004 with his first CD, Martian Television Invasion.

His 2006 release, WE WANNA ROCK, “…is reminiscent of David Bowie (with) flashes of Monty Python, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein (Time Out NY Kids) and is racking up awards like, The Film Advisory Board’s AWARD OF EXCELLENCE, Publishers Weekly’s LISTEN UP AWARD, Children’s Music Web Award’s BEST RECORDING 2007, The National Parenting Center’s SEAL OF APPROVAL, Great American Song Contest’s HONORS AWARD and more.

Blending the energy of rock with the sensibility of folk, Rex’s “special brand of Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Songs” (, interactive stage show, and contagious energy have earned him a loyal following.

Creative writing lessons are available FREE for teachers and parents, and his “creative writing meets American Idol” writing contest at is giving youngsters an opportunity to become professional songwriters.

Now based in Chicago, Thaddeus Rex has been hailed as a “sincere celebration of reading” (Los Angeles Times) and a “detour off the beaten path” (Parenting). He states, “My best ideas still come from books. I love writing and performing, and I couldn’t do any of this if I didn’t read constantly.” The synergistic force of relocating to Chicago and this love of reading, writing, and performing have exploded in Thaddeus Rex’s new release, Shakin’ in Chicago, which has racked up more than 14 awards, including a GRAND PRIZE in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest!

He's recently taken his live show to a new level with the addition of his new best friend, a 7 foot dinosaur named 'Rock'!!

Together, they make every child want to Roar Like a Rock Star!!