Maybe our life isn’t as polished as the “twirling on a mountaintop” kind of musical we’ve all grown accustomed to, but it’s a musical none the less. Imagine if Quentin Tarantino did a musical. It’s like that. Loud with lots of blood.
Case in point: My daughter just performed a rousing rendition of “God Save the Queen,” only she went method and sang it as if she were a cat. Lots of meows. Lotsand lots of meows.
Case in point number two: My son likes to put a night time pull-up over his head and pretend he’s a “Diaper Ninja.” Then he gets the Swiffer and runs around the house smacking imaginary ants before they can get to his sister. But he sings and dances to Mumford and Sons while he does it, so the whole scene takes on a sort of West Side Story meets Power Rangers vibe that’s really sort of sweet if you can get past the disturbing Diaper Ninja imagery and ant brutality.
So yeah, life is like that kind of musical. Good thing we’re in the world’s greatest Preschool Garage Band, Toots and the McGoots and have the raw talent and creativity to mold this chaos into a work of art that will stand the test of time.
There’s no way to say it, but to just say it: The kids and I have started a band. Scratch that. We’ve started a kick-ass band. To say we rock is an understatement. The kids typically share the drum set, while I wail on the electric guitar. Occasionally, my daughter will kick the piano keys. My son only says one phrase during each jam session: “Louder, Daddy. Louder.”
Our influences? Beastie Boys, Nirvana, and Justin Bieber (his edgier stuff before he sold out).
Obviously, since we’re dealing with two toddlers and an A.D.D. dad, the band name changes quite a bit. First, we were the Yogurt Explosion, but we decided that was too sophomoric. We do a pretty good job keeping our yogurt in its container these days. So right now, we’re calling ourselves Toots and the McGoots. I’m not sure who’s Toots and who’s the McGoots.
We share bylines on all of our original songs, but to be honest, I do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to the lyrics. Mainly because the kids can’t write yet. Every time I give them crayons and paper to work on a chorus, they just draw circles, which they then tell me are whales. They’re not whales. They’re circles, but I’m supportive.
Even though we’re still looking for a label, we’ve got a full album worth of songs. We’ve titled the record, Don’t Call the DSS. It’s a concept album in the vein of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. If you start our album half way through Apocalypse Now, the music synchs up perfectly with the action on the film. When Martin Sheen meets Colonel Kurtz and “Yep, That’s Poop” kicks in, I get chills.
The record kicks off with Honey, We’re Out of Wipes, which is the single we’re we’re hoping will get a lot of radio play. It’s really melodic. Then things get a bit Ska with Is That Poop? We sample the Clash’s “London Calling” for this one. Then it gets heavy with three punk songs in a row: 3am Puke Fest, Fuck Sleep, and Yep, That’s Poop. Then we slow things down a bit with Don’t Worry, It’s Just Yogurt, a sweet love song that sets the listener up for Petrified Turkey Sandwich in the Glove Box and the finale, A Sixer Fits Nicely in this Diaper Bag, a classic country ballad that was also the inspiration for the album title, Don’t Call the DSS.
The toughest aspect of playing in a predominantly toddler band? Trying to get a three-year-old drummer to follow my chord changes. Booking gigs has been tough too because of bed time constraints. But every band has to start somewhere. Toots and the McGoots may only be playing my basement right now, but with the massive loopholes in child labor laws, the sky’s the limit.
Here’s a short clip of the drum solo in the middle of 3am Puke Fest. Enjoy.