The Sippy Cups
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The Sippy Cups

Band Pop Children's Music


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"Kid Rock"

March 20, 2005 by Delfin Vigil

"This is a song that our friend Syd Barrett taught to us," says the soft-spoken man wearing a turquoise-blue blazer and a goofy top hat. "He used be in a band called the Pink Floyd. And they wrote some wonderful children's songs."

Before the dozens of parents in the audience have a chance to question why this cuckoo character and his band have decided to entertain their kids with lyrics from the warped mind of the king of psychedelia, an extraordinary thing happens.

Nearly 100 children are jumping up and down and singing along to ... good music. From the impeccably cool likes of T. Rex, Sly & the Family Stone, the Monkees, the Velvet Underground ...

Put the Tylenol away. Barney is not in the house.

In the time it takes the Sippy Cups to unicycle through a bouncy rendition of Pink Floyd's "Bike," it becomes clear to the assembled moms and dads, most of them Baby Boomers, at this rock concert with training wheels: Their children could use this kind of musical education.

Leave them kids alone!

"We don't want to be too squeaky-clean," explains the Sippy Cups' lead singer, Paul Godwin, 43, at a Montara cafe about a week after the show. A casual striped shirt and corduroy trousers have replaced his top hat and "Miami Vice" turquoise sports coat. "If anything, our M.O. is preaching good music to children."

Godwin came up with the idea to form a grown-up rock band for young audiences (and their parents) about three years ago while playing "Bike" on the piano as his then 2-year-old son circled around the living room on a red tricycle.

The band name came first, inspired by the hundreds of kids who have brought plastic sipping containers to the music classes Godwin teaches as director of Music Together of San Francisco.

And after an impromptu living room jam with his friend and Montara neighbor, lead guitarist Mark Verlander, Godwin's vision of the Sippy Cups was filled to the brim.

Amid the wine and revelry of that first evening, Godwin and Verlander wrote their first song, set to the tune of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit. " They performed it at a benefit to build a park in neighboring Moss Beach. The lyrics went something like: This is Moss Beach/ Build a park here/ It's less dangerous/ Get your checkbook.

"After we performed the song at the benefit, I said 'Thanks, we're the Sippy Cups,' " remembers Godwin. "Mark and I had no idea what were getting into."

Doug Nolan, who stilt-walked at the Moss Beach park benefit, joined the group as the band's leader juggler, unicyclist and quite possibly most popular Sippy Cup. AJ Kim was on bass and David Gilmour (not that David Gilmour) banged the drums as the band performed set lists of elite classics, like the Velvet Underground's "Who Loves the Sun," the Kinks' "Village Green Preservation Society" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

What followed was a year of steady gigs in packed theaters throughout the Bay Area -- and shows at some of the coolest, most coveted rock clubs in the region, including 12 Galaxies and the Rickshaw Stop.

Classic -- but never cheesy -- cover songs for kids seem to be the secret to the Sippy Cups' success with this particular subculture. That and their friendly interactive shows: At most Sippy Cups gigs, children get to bang on drums, xylophones and are encouraged to jump on the stage, squeak their noses and get crazy. Sometimes Verlander even lets kids push the buttons of his effects pedals while he's playing.

"We try not to do any Top 40 stuff," explains Verlander, the mellowest Cup. "Even with Beatles tunes, we try to play their more obscure songs. That way parents can say 'Wow. I haven't heard this song in sooo long.' "

Verlander realized he and the band were onto something special during a rendition of the Beatles' "Dear Prudence."

"All of these kids were in front of the stage singing along to one of my favorite Beatles' songs. It was incredible. I was practically in tears," Verlander says. "I'll never forget the day my dad brought home 'Sgt. Pepper's. ' I was about 5 or 6 at the time. That's the kind of experience I want my daughter, Lia, to have too."

"My son loves kids' bands like the Wiggles," says Nolan, 39, of the Australian kids' sensation (see related story on Page 20). "The Wiggles are great at what they do. But I think parents sometimes think 'I'm going to go insane if I hear this song one more time.' Hopefully that's where we fill in the gap."

There's already a long line waiting to fill any gaps and spaces available in the Sippy Cups. Since demand for the group's performances have expanded past the Bay Area and into Grass Valley and Santa Cruz, the original drummer and bass player were replaced by five new members: puppet mistress Jen Kantor, keyboardist Alison Faith Levy, bassist Adam Donkin and drummer Joe Becker.

The Sippy Cups get musicians offering their services after every gig.

"Check this out," says Godwin pointing to a binder full of post-gig requests and comments.

"I'm available as guitarist with cow suit," reads one applicant.

"I can be backup singer!" begs another.

The response to the Sippy Cups has been overwhelmingly positive -- with one exception.

Godwin's son was reprimanded by a preschool teacher after being caught singing the lyrics to the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated." "They said, 'Bodhi, that's not appropriate,' " says the clearly proud papa. "So now we changed the lyrics to 'I wanna be elated.' "

The Sippy Cups hope to reach a national audience as part of their next phase. A puppet show gig based on Pink Floyd's "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" album, performed in its entirety, is in the works. Kind of their rock- opera move. Think the Wiggles meets Blue Man Group with an edgy, interactive and grander scale, they say.

"It's not like we're against Disney entertainment or the folky bluegrass stuff that is traditionally associated with children's music," Verlander says. "That's nice and natural music. But you're never going to hear us playing 'Kumbaya.' "
- San Francisco Chronicle

"Death Cab with Children's Lyrics"

Kid's music doesn't typically get me excited. I can definitely
appreciate Dan Zanes, The Wiggles and other respectable children's
artists. But The Sippy Cups did more than appeal to my ears and
balance the catchy with the intelligent. This is first indie pop
album for kids that we've had submitted and never before has music
been so successful at reaching and appealing to both adults and their
kids without compromising something somewhere. It's like Death Cab for
Cutie with children's lyrics. "Snail Song & Magic Toast" is sweet,
mellow and gentle- even a bit reminiscent of the Beatles here and
there. This is the epitome of kid's music, proving that there's no
need for corny sound effects and kazoos to keep kids interested. If
you're needing an extra stocking stuffer, don't pass this up. It is
sure to be one of the best CD Baby kid's albums for all time.
- CD

"Move Over Barney . . ."

Move Over Barney, Here Come 'The Sippy Cups'
Classic Rock Tunes For Kids

June 15 (ABC7) — If you're a parent of young children, this could be just the ticket for you. Would you let your kids listen to Pink Floyd? Or The Ramones? Maybe you should. ABC7's Heather Ishimaru reports on a unique Bay Area group that is giving parents and children a rockin' good time, at the same time.

Looks like a rock band, talks like a rock band, rocks like a rock band, but what about those fans?
Mark Verlander, lead guitarist: "We've had some kids that are pretty small in here, kind of freaks me out. Maybe we should have some giant earmuffs or something."

Yes, The Sippy Cups, a popular training cup for children, it's also the name of this band -- a kind of training band for babies, and an enormous relief for parents.

Who knew The Velvet Underground, The Ramones and The Rolling Stones did kids' music?

A show at San Francisco's Rickshaw Stop Club is typical -- juice boxes and beer at the bar, stroller parking and a changing table at the back. Formed about a year ago in Montero, The Sippy Cups perform adult music that's kid-friendly, with the added bonus of interaction geared just for the kids.

Band leader Paul Godwin got the inspiration when singing the Pink Floyd song, "Bike" to his then 2-year-old son Bodhi in their garage.

Paul Godwin, lead singer: "You know, I just kind of thought, there's something to this marriage of late sixties, early seventies pop rock songs and kids, little kids."

Doug Nolan, juggler: "Music that we grew up with as forty-somethings, and so we get to relive our early rock concert years because as parents of young kids we never get out."

As one band member puts it, "we're the anti-Barney."

The response has been overwhelming. Bandmembers' day jobs are now taking a backseat to the music. They've attracted the attention of a major producer, there's a live CD in the works and studio singles.

Barney had better watch out.


"Rocking with the Toddler Set"

Rocking with the toddler set
Rick Polito

The Sippy Cups, a Marin-based rock band, caters to the toddler age group.

The band is warming up, riffing through a cover of The Who's "Happy Jack" but Doug "Sippy Doug" Nolan, is relaxed on a stool in the darkened bar. He's not on stage.
"I should probably be warming up with some juggling," he says, quickly adding that the stilts are staying home. The ceiling in the Cafe Du Nord is too low. "I do all my stuff on my knees here," jokes the lanky extrovert.

It's not every band that has a stilt-walking juggler.

But the Sippy Cups aren't just any band.

The Sippy Cups, coming to the Bay Area Discovery Museum on Saturday, have been the word-of-mouth wonder among Bay Area parents since they formed nearly two years ago. Parents can hear covers of songs such as David Bowie's "Space Oddity," maybe even a Velvet Underground classic, and get a drink at the bar while their kids take over the dance floor.

"It's fun to see the kids saddling up at the bar during the breaks," quips guitarist Mark Verlander, pausing on his way to the stage. Nolan takes it further. He says it's really the music, a delight for the kids, a relief for the parents. "The parents are ready to commit hari kari if they have to hear Barney or The Wiggles one more time," he says.

At noon on a Sunday, the bar is still empty. The bartenders are stocking the bar. The drink special, "Juice boxes $1," is posted and the band is running through a sound check. The DayGlo flowers are on stage, Nolan's table of juggling pins, swirling pins and spinning plates positioned next to the drum set. On the sidewalk, the bouncer is getting ready to open the doors, unsure if "Babes in Arms Free" is an admission policy or the warm-up band.

The Sippy Cups don't need a warm-up band. The kids come in excited.

That, says Du Nord owner Guy Carson, makes getting ready for a Sippy show a lot more challenging than a regular gig. He's used to a room full of drunks. But this is different.

"There are going to be 100 5-year-olds down there," he says. "I had to hire extra security."

The "extra security," turns out to be Carson's 6-year-old son, Jackson.

When the doors open at 12:30 p.m., Jason Williams and his wife and daughter are already waiting. Williams' wife heard about the Sippy Cups in Bay Area Parent magazine and went straight to the Web site to hear a clip. "Our daughter started dancing in circles," Williams says.

So there they are, in a dark bar with 15-month-old Geneva. "I'm surprised they were playing here," Serene Williams says, clutching her daughter in her arms.

The Ruckers are less surprised. Coming back to the table with a juice box for his daughter and a pint of Poppy Jasper ale for himself, Bruce Rucker confesses that everybody in the family is a certified Cuphead. "We've seen them three or four times," he says. "This is our fifth show," his wife chimes. They own all the albums - both of them.

The attraction is simple. "The kids and adults get to listen to the same music," the father says.

Two tables away, a band associate is selling merchandise. Sippy Cup T-shirts come in two sizes: "Kid Size" and "Mom and Daddy Size."

That crossover appeal is as much for the band as the fans. Sippy founder Paul Godwin has spent much of his adult life getting kids and parents to share notes at Music Together, San Francisco music classes for parents and their pre-kindergarten offspring. He spent another part of his life in bar bands. But it was his own son who gave him the idea to put the two persuasions together. He was noodling around on the keyboard with a Pink Floyd tune in his


Montara home when he noticed his then-2-year-old son reacting to it.

He saw the band in his head almost immediately. "It just made sense," he says.

Parents long for a nightclub experience, even during the day, and if they can steer their kids away from the music marketed to children, it makes long car trips more bearable. Godwin calls the Sippys' repertoire "just songs we thought were fun to play."

And not just the traditional child-friendly end of the rock spectrum either. "If we were doing the Beatles, we're doing 'Dear Prudence' or 'Glass Onion' instead of 'Obla Di Obla Da.'"

It made sense to his bandmates, too. They all have kids and fitting the bar-band lifestyle into parenting is famously difficult. From behind the microphone, it's a welcome contrast to the bar-band grind.

The audience is unabashedly excited. "They're not posing and trying to hook up," Godwin says. That freedom washes right up on the stage. "You can exhibit childlike exuberance and if you look like a fool it doesn't matter."

Club owner Carson, watching the parents filter in with diaper bags and tugging toddlers, calls it an obvious combination.

"The parents line up at the bar and the kids go crazy on the dance floor," he says.

The kids going crazy means the Sippy Cups are going places. They have two CDs out and they're working on a third, all-originals album. Godwin is better than half serious that a rock opera is in the works. In the meantime, they are expanding the touring range. They might wander as far as Walnut Creek. "We're going to do the outlying markets more," Godwin jokes.

The dance floor is packed when the Cups take the stage. The band steps in with an original, "Magic Toast" and then they're off.

An hour of music, a perfect kid-friendly time slot, follows. The kids pogo to an altered version of the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" ("Hey ho! Let's go!") When "ground control" reaches out to "Major Tom," Major Tom turns out to be Nolan in his "Super Guy" suit. On-stage banter livens up the kids and grabs laughs from the parents.

"Any moms out there?" Godwin shouts into the mike. "Let's give a shout-out to all the lactating Americans."

By the time the band launches into the Sippy Cup's anthem, "Give Peas a Chance," the kids are at blender speed, bouncing an inflatable earth ball around the dance floor.

And then it's over. The band has a 4 p.m. show to follow. The kids have nap schedules. Everybody's smiling.

Cindy Mesaros is smiling a lot. "I get to come do the Caf} Du Nord and have a drink," she says, at least as excited as the preschool-age daughter squirming in her arms. "You look around and you know all these parents used to come here before they had kids."

This is not her first Sippys show. It won't be her last. "People ask 'What's the last show you saw?' and I say 'the Sippy Cups.'

"But I have tickets to The Wiggles."


The Sippy Cups shows Saturday at the Bay Area Discovery Museum are sold out, but you can see their schedule and hear their tunes at - Marin Independent Journal

"Our Kid Critic Picks the Platters that Matter"

The Sippy Cups "Kids Rock for Peas"
In this live album, this San Francisco band gives rousing interpretations of many well-known and lesser-known classic rock songs to a rousing crowd of young'uns. They put forth a rocking (if altered) Ramones homage, "I Wanna Be Elated," and go through everybody from Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett ("Bike") to Elton John ("Bennie & the Jets"). The pint-sized audience is with them all the way. Its worth picking up for jus the hilarious rendition of these classics. So give peas a chance - pick up "Kids Rock for Peas." - NY Post

"Life with them is one big circus"

By Michael Berick
Special to The Times

November 2, 2006

KIDS' music bands normally don't trace their existence to the late, eccentric Pink Floyd singer Syd Barrett, but the theatrical-minded Bay Area outfit the Sippy Cups isn't your typical kids' music group.

The band's origins trace back to 2004, when musician and kids' music teacher Paul Godwin watched his then-2 1/2 -year-old son, Bodhi, ride his tricycle around the living room. Godwin started playing the old Pink Floyd tune "Bike" and something clicked. "A really Syd Barrett psychedelic moment," he describes it.

A short time later, Godwin played some Pink Floyd and Velvet Underground tunes at a benefit for a local park with two friends, guitarist Mark Verlander and juggler Doug Nolan. After their performance, he spontaneously dubbed their band the Sippy Cups.

Since then, the Sippy Cups have become quite the sensation in the Bay Area family-entertainment scene with their exuberant music making and carnival-like shows. The group has solidified into a spirited six-piece outfit, with Godwin, Verlander and Nolan joined by keyboardist Alison Faith Levy, drummer Josef Becker and, most recently, bassist Rudy Trubitt, who intrigued the band members by telling them that he owned a cow suit.

They're appearing Saturday at the House of Blues Sunset Strip. Performing in nightclubs isn't unusual for them: They have turned San Francisco clubs such as Café du Nord and the Great American Music Hall into kids' wonderlands.

The Sippy Cups separate themselves from the Raffis and Laurie Berkners of the children's-music world through their sense of spectacle. "A lot of kids' music came out of Burl Ives, Ella Jenkins, Pete Seeger, a guy with a guitar," Godwin explains. "For us, it was more rock show with streamer cannons and giant balloons."

Verlander and his wife, Susan, both graphic artists, are responsible for the band's imaginative design work, from the Technicolor stage props to the cartoony CD covers. "You could say we are children of the '60s just now getting to live out our own psychedelic dreams," Verlander says.

Although Nolan doesn't play an instrument, his role is just as important as the musicians'. Besides juggling, riding a unicycle and generally clowning around during the shows, Nolan (an American Conservatory Theater graduate who teaches environmental education) also assumes the guise of several characters, such as the sensitive superhero Super Guy and the malaprop-ish Major Minor, while interacting with the crowd.

The Sippy Cups' original concept was to serve up great '60s and early-'70s songs to the youth audience. Classic tunes such as Velvet Underground's "Who Loves the Sun," the Beatles' "Baby You're a Rich Man" and the Rolling Stones' "She's a Rainbow" populate the group's first CD, "Give Peas a Chance." But some of the band's choices - such as Love's "My Little Red Book" - didn't go over with the children. The band discovered that it needed songs like War's "Low Rider," that had a hook either tempo-wise or performance-wise.

The Sippy Cups also learned that they occasionally had to alter lyrics. After the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" (a rare foray into punk-new wave tunes) became part of the group's repertoire, Godwin's son sang it at preschool. His teacher objected, saying that although she liked the Ramones, the song wasn't appropriate to sing in class. So "I Wanna Be Elated" was born.

THE Sippy Cups have just released their first all-original album, "Electric Storyland," which is filled with songs about creatures great ("I Am a Robot") and small ("Snail Song"). It's a lively, musically varied set, ranging from the Hendrix-like "Drinking From the Sun" to the power-poppy "Springtime Fantastic" to the twangy "Little Puffer."

Because everyone in the band is a parent, song inspiration often comes from home. Verlander relates how after one show his young daughter Lia "came out of her room with a life-sized stuffed-animal dog with a wedding veil and satin shoes. She had built this dog that she wanted so badly." Verlander used this experience to write "How to Build a Dog" (and yes, Lia now has a real dog).

The new album also has brought a new Sippy Cup stage show, filled with original skits, colorful costumes and fun foolery. To bring "Electric Storyland" to life, the group worked with San Francisco stage director Jeffrey Bihr and is touring with gymnast-dancer Teana David, whose roles include playing a jellyfish and a dog.

With their animated performances and whimsical songs about magical toast and flower towers, the Sippy Cups aim to be the Flaming Lips of the toddler set.

Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times


- Los Angeles Times

"Kids, parents drink up the Sippy Cups"

Inside Bay Area
Article Last Updated:11/14/2006 10:29:45 AM PST
YOU'VE GOTTA love a matinee kid rock concert with a cash bar.

Oh, don't worry — the adults at Sunday's Sippy Cups show at the Dean Lesher Center in Walnut Creek were on their best behavior. But the kids? They were shakin' their diaper-clad booties and groovin', big time baby, to the 2-year-old Bay Area band's seriously psychedelic beat.

The Cups — six musicians and one juggler — are in the midst of their biggest tour yet, in support of their first original full-length CD, "Electric Storyland."

If the Cups have their way, the local toddler set will grow up hip to the great sounds of the music of the '60s and '70s.

With lead singer and Cups founder Paul Godwin of Montara decked out in some silky, rainbow-hued, faux snake-print bell bottoms, a red retro Western shirt and black cowboy hat, it was clear that this would not be an afternoon at Gymboree.

With a "relax and feel the vibe" energy that would make Jefferson Airplane proud, the Cups packed the house with more than 675 kids and grown-ups. Fans were often on their feet, jamming to the wisely written, whimsical lyrics.

The Sippy Cups are yet another example of the Bay Area's hip parenting scene. Thirty- and 40-something mommies and daddies just are not settling for Barney's simplistic ditties.

The flower-powered group got the initially quiet audience participating right away, having them sing some drip and drop lines along to the trippy "Drinking from the Sky."

The Cups showed off their wide vocal range, slowing it down with a truly beautiful ballad, "The Jellyfish," illustrated of course with a free-form dancing jellyfish, complete with wavy green kelp.

Intermittent comic bits and antics, mostly courtesy of juggler and unicyclist Doug Nolan, kept the short attention spans of the little ones from straying, and jumbo red, yellow, green and blue balloons tossed around the floor added to the magical atmosphere.

But while wacky whistles and bells are great for the kids, a successful family band needs to play some real music to reach the CD-buying parents, and the Cups seem to get this.

"I even liked the music," exclaimed first-time listener Liz Monaghan of Pleasanton, emphasizing the "I" and clearly sounding surprised. She headed out right after the show and plunked down $20 for a CD and $14 for a black retro-looking robot T-shirt for her 3-year-old son Nick.

During the show, Nick sat politely in his seat until he couldn't resist bursting out laughing at the sight of the wacky white-wigged Hair Professor coming onstage. He later got the nerve to join the throngs of kids on their feet in front of the stage, bouncing like little pogo sticks.

The tunes on "Electric Storyland" do a good job balancing pure fun ("Magic Toast") and humor with some serious heart by speaking of things that children, and adults, will always struggle with — from how to accept one's self and others to feeling grumpy and coping with anger.

"Move Your Pants," sung by the group's sole female member, Alison Faith Levy, an alum of the indie band The Loud Family, uses a gentle rap style to tell the story of Mom and Dad coming home in bad moods:

I looked at them both like they were so insane
I put some music on the stereo
at first they wanted me
to turn it down low
but then I turned it up
and we started to dance
I told the folks you gotta
gotta move your pants!

And "Time Out World," easily speaks to all the bigger adult issues coming to a head these days, a la Iraq and Washington, D.C., post-election strife.

"I think we need a time-out world," Godwin croons in his smooth voice. "I need some peace and tranquility."

The Sippy Cups are definitely delivering a bit of that to their listeners, big and small. The Beatles would be proud.

You can e-mail Kari Hulac at or call her at (925) 416-4837.
- Oakland Tribune

"Drinking from the Sky"

"Drinking From the Sky" - Electric Storyland, The Sippy Cups
I don't have kids and don't spend much time around the little beasts -- some of my colleagues would say I don't like them much, but that's not true. I like the little creatures well enough, especially the smart, alternative types found in abundance at a Sippy Cups show. During the set, I was watching the kids (who must have ranged in age from toddlers to about 8 or 9) who had made their way up to the edge of the stage. I was struck by this image: the kids' eyes were pretty much level with the stage, their little fingers gripping the lip in excitement, and I thought about all the rock shows those kids would end up seeing throughout their lifetimes. I wondered what the music would be like when they hit their teens, when they picked up instruments and starting playing in their early twenties and it kind of blew my mind.
The Sippys' music is not your usual children's fare, it is catchy and intelligent, not talking down to kids, and it doesn't twinkle (like so much kiddy mess), it rawks! What I loved most was witnessing how the Sippys were basically initiating a whole generation of kids into the indie music lifestyle. Plus the place was packed with alterna-parents who were thanking the universe for kids' music that didn't suck. You could tell.
"Drinking from the Sky" is dangerously catchy. I dare you to listen without getting it stuck in your head. Alison Levy, one of KQED Arts & Culture's bloggers, plays keyboards and sings in this band. After one listen to "Drinking from the Sky," I sent her an email with the message line, "Drip Patter Drip Drip Drop." 'Nuff said.
The Sippy Cups have a whole slew of afternoon concerts scheduled throughout the Bay Area between now and the end of the year. Visit for more info.
- KQED Online

"Review: The Time Machine - The Sippy Cups"

The kids music resurgence has been relatively brief, and so we haven't necessarily had the time to watch too many bands mature and change their sounds over time. An exception is the Bay Area band The Sippy Cups. They started out doing nothing but covers, primarily of '60s and '70s psychedelic tunes. They then moved to mostly original '60s and '70s-sounding psychedelic tunes. It's only been on their last couple albums that they've developed a fuller sound (and added some skits to the mix).

All of which has been to the good. Their latest album The Time Machine is at times both their most conventional-sounding and also their most adventurous. Although it's not quite a concept album, there a number of songs about about growing up (hence the title). As a result, based on subject matter alone, this definitely their most typical "kids album." Of course, I happen to like some of those songs the best. The power-poppy "My Angry Voice" describes anger in easily accessible phrases ("Breathing fast / My heart is racing / I won't look you in the eyes / What's that sound? / It's someone shouting / That sounds like me / What a surprise") while "Don't Remove the Groove" ameliorates whatever preachiness a song about environmental warming might contain by being, well, groovy and turning it into a "freeze dance" song. "Seven Is The New 14" will likely go over heads of the 14-, er, 7-year-olds the song is targeted at, but its amusing spin on "age is nothing but a number" will draw chuckles from the parents.

For those of you originally drawn to the band for its original more psychedelic sounds won't be disappointed -- the title track and concluding track "Awake" (the latter clocking in at 6 minutes) are definitely could've been recorded 35 or 40 years ago, while "One Day Soon" is an excellent pastiche of Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles. If there's a downside to the songwriting here it's that at times I felt like they were relying too heavily on the metaphorical imagery to the detriment of more sharply describing the experience of growing up. The worst tracks here are still better than 60% of the songs in the genre, but their excellent songs make the just adequate ones stand out. (As for the skits, I like 'em, and I typically haaaate skits, but I realize that your mileage may vary.)

The 44-minute album is most appropriate for kids ages 5 through 9. You can listen to some tracks here or samples at the album's CDBaby page.

The Sippy Cups have developed into one of the most adventurous kids bands on today's scene. With a strong catalog of songs and an energetic live show, they seem set to be around making music for years to come. The Time Machine is, appropriately enough, evidence of their continuing evolution, and shows that growing up is usually a pretty good thing. Definitely recommended.


Kids Rock for Peas - 2005
Snail Song & Magic Toast - 2005
Electric Storyland - 2006
One Day Soon - (EP) -2008
The Time Machine - 2009



When The Sippy Cups began writing the songs that would become their new album, The Time Machine, the band noticed that they all seemed to be about growing up and changing. Even the music was becoming a bit more sophisticated and edgy. It became apparent to them that both their own children, and their audience, had grown up some since their last album, and the themes of these new songs unwittingly reflected that process.

As the songs took shape, the overriding concept that became the album's title also began to take shape. After all, what kid doesn't love the idea of a time machine? But in the case of The Sippy Cups, the time machine they are referring to is not some tricked-out Delorean, but our own bodies, which are constantly growing and changing and moving us through time. They wanted to convey to children and parents how magical that journey through time can be, and how precious the milestones are along the way.

Sippy Rudy wrote "My Loose Tooth" about his daughter Riley's experience with wiggling a loose tooth around in her mouth. Sippy Alison brought in a song called "One Day Soon," about watching her son Henry learn to swim and read. Sippy Paul contributed "Seven is the new Fourteen," introducing math fun for ages 3 to 93.

Rounding out The Time Machine are songs like the rousing "Look," which celebrates the ancestors who made us who we are; "My Angry Voice," one for the parents to learn from; "Awake," a slow- building, ethereal paean to the parallels between the natural world and our world; and "Hailstone Man," a rocking number about a WWII pilot who jumps out of a failing plane into a hailstorm, and lives to tell the tale. Character favorites such as Major Minor, Super Guy and Hair Professor round out the journey.

In the three years since the Sippy Cups' first full album of original material, Electric Storyland, was released, the band's career has grown as dramatically as their families have. The band was born at a 2004 community fundraiser, just three musical dads playing kid-friendly takes on Nirvana and Syd Barrett tunes. Five years later, they've performed their sophisticated (and cool-parent-approved) kids' music to major concert halls and rock festivals, including the Austin City Limits Festival and Lollapalooza. The Sippy Cups have scored top-ten satellite radio hits and received accolades from Time, Newsweek, the New York Post, Billboard, Wired, the LA Times and the Washington Post. In 2007, with Alternadad author Neal Pollack, they appeared in a feature on ABC's Nightline. And later that year, the band released their first-ever live concert DVD documenting their colorful, dynamic stage show: Electric Storyland: Live at the Great American Music Hall.

The current Sippy Cups lineup includes singer/keyboardist Paul Godwin, singer/keyboardist Alison Faith Levy (Loud Family), singer/guitarist Rudy Trubitt (The Squids), drummer Jozef Becker (Thin White Rope, The Loud Family), bassist Ariane Cap, and juggler/unicyclist/all-around character Doug Nolan. The Sippies all have extensive credentials in the world of grown-up entertainment as well: Godwin has composed award-winning scores for stage and film, including the West Coast debut of Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul and the #1 iTunes film The Tribe. Alison Faith Levy records and performs with Victor Krummenacher (Camper van Beethoven) as McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Rudy Trubitt records train sounds for Lionel Trains. Ariane Cap performs, records and teaches extensively. And Doug Nolan is a graduate of American Conservatory Theatre who practices his juggling while presenting environmental education programs throughout California.

As the time machine stops at 2009, The Sippy Cups are ready to mark this phase with an album that's grown with their fans and their clans. Expect it to be met -- as Sippy Alison anticipates in "One Day Soon" -- with "the sound of hundreds of tapping feet." Some of those feet are small... some a little bigger than last time around... and odds are, one or two of them will be yours.