dayjams -- guy in a hole!
kid activities present complications for summer professional travel. as my kids have gotten older, they've needed rides to more distant places at stranger times (e.g., 10 to 11:35 am on monday, tuesday, thursday, and friday). this will get easier/scarier when the lad obtains a license next year, but this particular summer has been a challenge.
the good news is the spine-crushingly cool range of experiences around for kids -- at least for kids from middle-class backgrounds. mine have done drama, voice, humane society volunteering, football/wrestling/baseball camps, crime investigation, and myriad others. to my chagrin, they tend to avoid anything involving reading or writing in summer, but i can't say i blame them.
this year's favorite i-can't-believe-kids-get-to-do-this camp is called dayjams. kids aged nine to fifteen meet to form bands on monday, write songs, practice the snot out of them, and do a show on friday night, complete with stage-lighting. yup, that's right: school of rock without the lame uniforms. and most of the bands look and sound like actual bands, complete with creative tensions and on-stage volume wars. i was even a little insecure that daughter's kidband sounded better after five days than my high school band sounded after five months. but that's probably just me...
she signed up for lead vocals in one session and guitar the following week; both were fun and intense. the lad, a seasoned bassist and veteran of several short-lived bands already, wasn't interested in playing with nine-year-olds. [when told dayjams met at mounds park academy, he said "academy, hmm. don't like the sound of that." a public school kid, to be sure.] still, i bet he would have enjoyed it. bands usually contained two drummers, two or three guitarists, a bass, and a vocal, plus the occasional keys, horn, or whatever. they seem to match the beginners with more experienced or talented players, and tor would have had fun big-timin' the little ones. plus, most of the instructors seemed reasonably cool as well as accomplished.
if i can secure the necessary institutional and (more importantly) personal permissions, i'll post a live song by more than faces. i thought it rocked, but parental perceptions are completely unreliable in such matters. because the kids wrote the songs and created band names and stage personae, the lyrics were fresh, literal, and non-cliched. my favorite non-uggen song was called guy in a hole. some little punks tore through a three-chord monster about, well, an actual guy in a hole. very stooges-like. i'd wager it would have fit nicely at lollapalooza, somewhere between the raconteurs and gnarls barkley. here's hoping that the experience gets a few of these kids to start bands the old-fashioned way this fall -- arguing about their "influences" in school hallways and searching desperately for a drummer who can keep a beat.