Here's the link:
and a pic of the Hipwaders:
Hear the Hipwaders here.
(that means you john wagner).
I have to say, it's pretty cool to be in the Chron's Pink, which is the Bay Area's best entertainment section, one I've read for three decades. It's the daily news bible for entertainment in these parts.
Here's a copy of the story::
For most bands, being invited to play the Lollapalooza festival is a chance to build major indie cred with a generation of tattooed and pierced music fans.
But it was kiddie cred that the Hipwaders were looking for when the Vacaville trio played the famous alternative-music festival last month in Chicago. They were aiming to impress the ink-free children of typical Lollapalooza fans on the Kidzapalooza stage, sandwiched between better-known artists such as Ben Harper and G. Love and Special Sauce.
And impress they did, according to Tor Hyams, who booked the band for Lollapalooza after its CD got the stamp of approval from his 7-year-old daughter, Sydnie.
"They played like they were in front of 50,000 people, even though they weren't," says Hyams, a Los Angeles record producer who persuaded Perry Farrell to add a children's stage to Lollapalooza three years ago. "People really loved them, more so than other acts we've had in the past. It's much harder to get respect and adoration as a kids' act. Kids don't care who you are, or about your image. They are either going to groove to it, or not. The music goes right to their primary core senses."
After years on the club circuit playing to indifferent audiences, the Hipwaders - Tito Uquillas on guitar, Chris Blubaugh on bass and drummer Nick Baca - are taking off as a kids' act. Their music is crisp and catchy, with in-jokes that kids and parents both get.
You can even imagine the feuding brothers Gallagher of Oasis or Davies of the Kinks singing along with the lyrics to the Hipwaders' song "Little Baby Brother": "Little baby brother, let's make a deal. I'll always have your back if you promise not to squeal."
The Hipwaders are part of a new wave of musicians writing intelligent songs that kids want to play over and over, without making their parents want to throw the disc out a window. The band will celebrate the release of its second CD, "Educated Kid," at 3 p.m. today at 12 Galaxies in San Francisco.
After years of being almost embarrassed to be a kids' act, they are being taken seriously by some big players in the music business.
"Kids' music is now where the punk-rock rebellion was in the '70s and '80s," Hyams says. "No one has record deals. Everyone is managing themselves. But I think it's time to take what is happening on the streets and bring it to the mainstream. We had 167,000 people check it out at Lollapalooza."
The producer says this new generation of artists can be appreciated by the whole family because it is made up of solid songwriters and musicians who have also recorded adult albums. Some of the bigger names are They Might Be Giants, Dan Zanes (formerly with the rock band the Del Fuegos) and Justin Roberts from Pimentos for Gus.
"These groups are as good as any acts playing Lollapalooza," Hyams says. "The Hipwaders have as much value as Pearl Jam. They are a tight, focused group of musicians."
He says they should quit their day jobs and make music a full-time occupation, but the band members, two of whom are paramedics (the third is a high school ceramics teacher), say that's unlikely.
"I could imagine us living in an apartment and devoting ourselves to writing songs and touring if we didn't have wives and kids," says Blubaugh, 38, who works in an ambulance with Uquillas at Contra Costa's American Medical Response. "But it's not something we can do."
"We have regular jobs and mortgages and health benefits," says Uquillas, 45. "I can't jeopardize that."
It helps that the two manage to rehearse while they wait for emergency calls. Both had been in struggling bands before 1991, when they formed the Fallen Tarts, which evolved into the Hipwaders.
"We were playing Tuesday nights at midnight for five guys and they weren't interested," says Uquillas, whose biggest gigs were at San Francisco's Mabuhay Gardens and Berkeley's Keystone. "They were just interested in getting drunk. We'd make 5 bucks, enough to pay for gas home, and then have to get up at 8 for work."
Their biggest fans were the soundmen, who appreciated the contrast of their clear melodies with all the Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers clones out there.
Uquillas had written songs since he was young, but having his first son, Aidan, in 1997 started him looking for good-quality kids' music and finding none. When he was volunteering in Aidan's kindergarten class, inspiration struck.
"There was no music being made for kids their age or a little older," he says. "There was Barney and the Wiggles for preschoolers, and then Hilary Duff and teenyboppers, but those songs are all about relationships. Where were all the songs about things kids care about, like volcanoes, earthquakes, messy rooms and bullies?"
So, he started recording his own CDs, mixing kids' lyrics with jangly pop inspired by Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Squeeze. He gave them to family and friends and, before long, teachers and parents were asking for more.
The Hipwaders were reborn as a children's band, and the bookings started coming in. Their first gig was at a sparsely attended Diversity Fair at the Vacaville Community Center, where one of the attendees worked for the Jelly Belly candy company in Fairfield. She got them booked to a regular gig there, and they honed their skills, recorded a self-named disc in a garage in 2005 and added drummer-vocalist Baca, 41, who used to play in the Fremont pop band Inside Out.
They played street fairs, petting zoos and San Jose's Children's Discovery Museum and have been featured regularly on XM Kids radio. But Lollapalooza was their pinnacle.
"I would have played it for free," says Uquillas, who met rock heroes Patti Smith, guitarist Lenny Kaye and garage-band pioneer Roky Erickson at the event. "Are you kidding me? I would have paid to play it and walked there on bloody stumps. I enjoyed it so much, I forgot to pick up the check after we played. They had to mail it to me."
The Hipwaders received $2,000 for the gig but had to buy their own plane tickets and hotel rooms. Now, with the release of "Educated Kid" on Tuesday, Uquillas' goal is just to make back the $9,000 they spent recording it and buying T-shirts.
And maybe, they say, their songs about geometry, paleontology, sibling rivalry and the Dewey decimal system will get some respect from their musical peers.
"Everyone thinks they can write children's music," Uquillas says. "But it's like writing children's books. It's hard to be simple and not annoying. If it was so easy, everyone would do it."
THE HIPWADERS play at 3 p.m. today at 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission St., San Francisco. $5 for children, $10 for adults. (415) 970-9777, www.12galaxies.com, hipwaders.net.
Brad Kava is a freelance writer.