This time of year presents parents of young kids with some truly awful entertainment options. Most kids’ summer movies I don’t want to see in two dimension, let alone three.
On the flipside, the summer hosts some terrific live performances. A show performed by young dancers from City Dance at Wolftrap’s Children’s Theater in the Woods I saw with my daughters last week literally brought tears to my eyes. It was that beautiful.
It was at that same venue last year that my family saw a talented local pop-folk-rock band to whom we’ve become somewhat devoted: Rocknoceros.
The name, pronounced like rhinoceros, might be familiar, as the band has been trekking from venue to venue through the region for years. Their previous CDs have won local music awards and National Public Radio named their 2009 album “Pink,” one of the best children’s albums of the year.
Now, the three Northern Virginians who make up the genre-defying band are about to introduce a new CD, their fourth, and with it are hoping to launch themselves into the big time.
We’re talking B-I-G. When I asked their manager what career model the band was hoping to emulate, the name Wiggles was mentioned. That would be the international children’s music group that has its own sections in some amusement parks and has a following that’s akin, in terms of size and enthusiasm, to the Beatles .
Manager Daniel Brindley told me he’s also exploring television. “In children’s music, it’s all about TV,” he said.
In keeping with such ambitions, the new CD, called “Colonel Purple Turtle,” comes with a companion book and will be rolled out in multiple phases. While the “national release” is in September, the album will premiere locally July 16th, at a morning and evening show at Jammin Java in Vienna.
Here’s a clip of one of the band’s new songs, “What’s Your Favorite Animal?”
The band’s roots are deep here. David Cotton, Patrick Williams and Marc Capponi are from Northern Virginia, two of the three members have been friends since kindergarten and they’ve been friends with the third since high school. The lead singer, Cotton, a.k.a. Coach Cotton, formed them into a band after taking his own kids to a show at Jammin Java and thinking, basically, I can do better than that.
“Within the first six months we realized the band had commercial potential, but from day one we felt the band was special simply because of the history between the band members,” Cotton wrote me in an e-mail.
Now that they’ve been at it for six years, four of them full-time, he said the band is ready to go big.
“We’ve always intended to reach as many families as possible with our music, so finding a national audience has been our goal from the start. We’ve worked to establish a strong fanbase here in the D.C. Metro area over the course of four CDs and 1,200-plus live shows, and have performed in CA, IL, PA, NY, NJ, MD, Washington D.C., and of course our home state of VA. After six years of performing and writing songs as Rocknoceros, we feel well-prepared to take our music nationwide.”
But Cotton doesn’t necessarily envision amusement parks: “We have always charted our own course. We aren’t a rock band that failed in the adult world and then turned to kid’s music, and we are not the Wiggles, either.”