The Que Pastas
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The Que Pastas

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Pop




"What's Cooking in Kindie-Ville"

The Que Pastas – Debut E.P.: If you have a penchant for the weird (as I do), you will love the debut (free) EP from this Denver duo. Quirky and catchy, this is not your average kindie band, and I look forward to seeing what batch of original recipes the ‘Pastas’ cook up next. - Nugget Island

"The Que Pastas' new video for "Mr. Butterfly" is kid-tested, mom approved"

Weird Turn Prose may be the name of Gene Davis's main band, but it's also a pretty fitting description for the music he's been making lately with a group called the Que Pastas -- well, not weird so much as unexpected. When Davis interned here a few years ago before moving on to the Denver Daily News, none of us had any idea that he would one day channel his musical talents into making such entertaining kid-friendly music (an oxymoron if there ever was one).

But with the help of Era S of the Tanukis, Ryan Elwood and Chris Kolakowski, that's exactly what he's done with the Que Pastas. Taking a page out of Neil McIntyre from Littleague's book, Davis and company have crafted a delightful set of tunes to play for the beloved crumbsnatchers/curtain-climber contingent that won't send you off in search of a set of freshly sharpened pencils to shove into your earholes, like, say, the Wiggles.

"The Que Pastas is something I started over the summer after becoming burned out on the bar rock scene," says Davis. "We've played everything from preschools to this year's A Taste of Colorado. It's been a lot of fun playing music that makes little kids dance compared to playing songs for drunk bar-goers who could care less."

Ah, yes, the timeless art of making the kids dance. Funny: Davis doesn't have any kids. But you'd never know it from listening to songs like the one below. Check out the group's new video for "Mr Butterfly," which was animated using tissue paper, and then head over and download the band's four-song EP. -

"Steal This Track: The Que Pastas"

It wouldn’t be Steal This Track if we didn’t throw you a curve ball once in a while, so after the rhymes of Haven the Great, we’re proud to bring you a Steal This Track first — Denver-made children’s music. You might recognize Gene Davis’s name from his gigs with alt-country outfit Weird Turn Prose or from his day job as a staff writer for the Denver Daily News, but neither of those things prepare you for the 26-year-old singer-songwriter’s new kid-friendly project, the Que Pastas.

Indie rockers taking on children’s music is nothing new — just check They Might Be Giants’ kids’ albums, the Terrible Twos (children’s music by Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids) or the “See You on the Moon” compilation, which featured Sufjan Stevens, Broken Social Scene, Rosie Thomas and other hip scenesters appealing to the grade-school set. However, the Que Pastas is the first such Denver-based act this writer is aware of. On the outfit’s self-titled, four-song EP, Davis enlists help from Ryan Ellwood of Face Man, Era from the Tanukis and a handful of others to flesh out his cleverly written, melodically driven songs. The result isn’t just good kids’ music, but good pop music for people of all ages. The Que Pastas will soon be making the EP available via their website, but you can hear it first by stealing “In the Sea” right now. - Denver Post Reverb

"Gene Davis of The Que Pastas on making music for kids"

Kids’ music has a long and spotty history. (Witness Barney, Raffi, and The Wiggles.) But recently, with the rise of Yo! Gabba Gabba, a new kind of kids’ music—so-called “kindie” rock—has emerged. It’s music for kids that’s hip enough (and, more to the point, good enough) to interest parents as well. When Gene Davis, of local alt-country outfit Weird Turn Prose, got inspired to write a batch of songs about rhinoceroses, cowboys, pirates, and numbers, he decided to embrace the silliness and play music for kids.
Joining up with Era S. (The Tanukis), Ryan Elwood (FaceMan, Chris McGarry), and Chris Kolakowski (Chris Kolakowski Jazz Ensemble), he formed The Que Pastas, a group of superhero musicians from a planet made of pasta. Using an $8,600 jackpot he won in Central City, Davis recorded and released the act’s debut EP (available for free at and headed out to county fairs and museums to play for audiences whose idea of a wild night is staying up until 9 p.m. and having an extra juice box. The A.V. Club talked to Davis to find out how it all happened.
The A.V. Club: Where did the idea for a kids’ band come from?
Gene Davis: Basically I moved down to Denver from Boulder two or three years ago, to see as much local live music as possible [so I could] do entertainment writing. I was seeing two to three shows a week, plus playing out in my alt-country band. And without realizing it, I kind of burnt myself out on the nightclub scene. After one of those soul-crushing Tuesday night shows at the Larimer where there are like 10 people in the audience, I came home and started playing my guitar, and came up with this sort of pirate-y sounding riff. I kept playing around with it, and came up with this song about pirates and cowboys fighting each other and coming to blows. It was the funnest song I’d written in as long as I can remember. I had been writing alt-country songs, which can be a limiting genre if you’re not careful. Within the next two weeks, I wrote a whole bunch of these kids’ songs, from a [song about a] whale singing to a love song about the number nine. The possibilities seemed endless once I realized you can play this whole different genre of music.
AVC: Why make them kids’ songs in particular, and not just quirky, goofy indie rock songs?
GD: I can’t really say what the inspiration for those first few songs was, since they came out without much pretense. But there is this entire “kindie” market out there. I got the idea that maybe I can take a stab at this, and do it maybe not as a career, but as a significant side project. I definitely have the kind of quirky, goofy personality for it.
AVC: Do you have kids?
GD: I do not. The drummer, Ryan [Elwood] has a kid. The bassist Chris [Kolakowski] has a kid, and his wife is pregnant.
AVC: How did you go about putting the band together?
GD: I was a huge fan of Era [S.] and The Tanukis since I first saw them, and I was looking for a reason to play with her. So when she wanted to play on some of the songs, it was a reason to make it The Que Pastas instead of Gene Davis Presents Quirky Kids’ Music. It was an excuse to play with one of the musicians I respect most in the city. Ryan is one of the best percussionists in the city, a true professional. Chris I met through a Craigslist ad.
AVC: How is writing and playing for kids different from your typical indie rock song?
GD: The songwriting process itself is not a whole lot different—alt-country songwriting itself is kind of quirky. [For kids’ songs] it’s just losing every pretense of cool and embracing the goofiness. But really, the process is the same: coming up with a melody and some cool words to sing over it.
Performing for kids is a completely different world. I learned early on. The first one I did was … I won’t say a complete disaster, but close. They gave me this wireless mic so I could run around, and I got myself winded after four minutes. I learned early on you have to have a lot of audience interaction, but once I got that, it was really fun. It was the most fun I’d ever had performing. The kids pay attention. They’re not getting drunk and trying to pick up a girl like you see at the indie rock shows.
AVC: What kind of response do you get from kids?
GD: The first show was a disaster, but the second show, I picked up a little more what I should do. By the fourth show, I had a handle on it. The last few have been good; I don’t feel out of my element anymore.
[With kids] if you bomb, you bomb. And since it’s so uncool to do kids’ music, you don’t feel like a cool badass up there—I feel like my nerdy self, and if you’re bombing in that environment, you’re like, “Oh wow, this is awkward.”
AVC: You’re still doing your alt-country thing with Weird Turn Prose? How does doing kids’ music affect that?
GD: I guess, if anything, the kids’ music has taught me to drop any pretense of being cool. I generally kind of did that before, but now I really go for it. If I want to dance like a robot up there during a song, I do it. I think if you have a good time onstage, whether you’re playing kids’ music or adult music, it translates to the audience. - The Onion A.V. Club Denver

"Free Music from the Que Pastas"

With everybody and their dentist starting up a family music side project these days, how can a new artist distinguish themselves? Well, I can think of two primary ways:
1) Write good music.
2) Give away music for free.

Enter The Que Pastas, a new kids music outfit from Denver, who are taking approach #2 and mostly hitting #1 while they're at it. While Colorado has a few kids musicians -- hi, Sue!, hi, Steve! -- Denver's been sort of bare. The only band I know of were the Hobo Nickels, and they're now defunct. So songwriter Gene Davis has stepped into the gap and along with some fellow musicians recorded a 4-track EP. A little bit alt-country, a little indie-pop, I personally most like "Common Denominator," which I think is probably is a poor base for actual math knowledge, but fun nonetheless. The whole thing is definitely promising.

Download the album for free here. They're accepting donations, so if your family grooves to the songs, drop 'em a buck or two. - Zooglobble


Sunglasses (2013)
Introducing...The Que Pastas (2010)



The Que Pastas plays original, quirky music geared towards children and their families alike.

The Que Pastas were formed in 2010 by Gene Davis, a 29-year-old musician who played in alt-country and indie-rock bands since he turned 18. Davis started The Que Pastas in Colorado as a way to spread a love of music to the youngest of generations, while giving "adults" a chance to embrace their inner child and sing/dance along.

Shortly after forming, The Que Pastas became a go-to live act for any family-friendly event and venue in Colorado. Major outdoor festivals, city-organized events, libraries and schools are among the places that have called on The Que Pastas to entertain mixed-age crowds.

In August 2011, Davis moved The Que Pastas from Colorado to his home state of Texas. The Texas-sized duo of The Que Pastas features Davis and multi-instrumentalist Simon Flory (vocals/acoustic bass/banjo/mandolin /harmonica). Texas immediately greeted The Que Pastas with packed crowds at shows and plenty of good Tex-Mex afterwards.

In Summer 2012, The Que Pastas recruited friends Leslie Sisson (Wooden Birds) and Jody Suarez to record songs for The Que Pastas' debut full-length album, "Sunglasses." The album, which was engineered by Jim Vollentine (Spoon) and producer Salim Nourallah (Old 97s), is set for release in Spring 2013.