Swing Peepers on 'Rocket Shop' 5/11/11
Words by Jack Haskell. Photo by Julie Jay Seger.
John Hadden and Matthew Witten, aka The Swing Peepers, came into the Radiator to talk to host Sam Donnelly about the creative process behind their latest work. The Swing Peepers play what most people would consider children's music, but after listening to them play for an hour it became clear that they are a fun for all listeners. The songs were good, the lyrics were funny, but it was really Matt and John's goofy personalitites that made the room come alive.
The duo write their songs in week long sessions playing in elementary schools. They mostly write the music and the kids mostly write the lyrics. "The younger I get, the goofier I become. No wait, the older I get the goofier I become," said John when asked about how the band's music has progressed over the years. A lot of the songs are made up on the spot so it leaves room for John and Matt to make you laugh when they are performing. Even though the music is all fun and games, the band does sneak in an educational message or two. Songs like "Animals Need Water" or "Monkeys on the Farm" remind us all about the vital importance of drinking water and washing our hands. Apparently the "monkeys on the farm" do not wash their hands.
It's not all about the singing though, the band likes incorporate a bunch of different instruments in their music. They brought a couple guitars, a mandolin, and an accordion into the station just for a half an hour show (which we turned into an hour because it was so much fun). They seemed to be able to pick up any instrument, mess around with improvised lyrics for the whole song, and still make it sound great. It was definitely the most fun I've ever had listening to children"s music.
Playing at libraries, schools, small festivals and other family friendly venues, the band has a full touring schedule all throughout the Northeast. Also, they are planning on releasing a new album sometime soon before they kick off their summer tour. Check them out at www.swingpeepers.com or at one of their upcoming local shows. Bring the little ones!
The Rocket Shop Playlist: Swing Peepers, "Animals Need Water" (Live) Swing Peepers, "Monkeys on the Farm" (Live) Swing Peepers, "Hole in the Ground" (Live) Swing Peepers, "Wide Mouth Frog" (Live) Swing Peepers, "French Song" (Live) Swing Peepers, "All The Stars" (Live) Swing Peepers, "Rock Cycle" (Live)