Sunday, July 29, 2012

The New Zine

So, I have a new zine written and I plan to publish it in Colorado and Iowa where I will have a lot of time in the car and a working printer to print everything before leaving for the wedding. I am so pumped about this zine! I'll give you guys the basic concept and inspiration for it. I am looking for this zine to be a multi-issue zine with input from other contributors, which is precisely why I'm posting here. I want your guys' input. So, the zine is title Lullabies for the Musically Conscious and the idea is to give us music savvy folk a musical cannon that we can access when singing our children or the children with whom we have close relationships to sleep. This idea was born out of my own personal experience with Helena. I was babysitting her one night and it was time for bed. She insisted that I sing her a lullaby. Her mother usually sings Spanish lullabies or "Rock-a-bye-baby." I don't really know any lullabies in English or Spanish and I just don't like "Rock-a-bye-baby." The "oh shit!" moment happened and then I remembered that Helena loves The Flaming Lips song "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1"so I sang it to her. Then, it was Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird" and so on. I didn't think much of it, but a week later Helena's birthday rolled around and she wanted to have a dance party. She bossed me and told me I was going to be the DJ. I told her that she had to help me pick the songs. Her first request was "Yoshimi" and her second request was Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead." Holy shit! I'm totally influencing this kid's musical tastes. The power was totally in my hands. The idea slowed crept into my head that singing songs that are either indie rock or contributed to musical history in some way would be more fun for the caretaker than lullabies and would also help to mold a musically educated child. I wrote the zine in an hour and half, I was that excited. Then, I went to a reading (you know, the one with the crush and that whole thing, blah, blah, blah) and I was talking to this guy about his comics. He asked what I was working on and I told him about Lullabies. I thought he was going to pee his pants, he was so excited. He was like "That's a zine I would actually buy... and use. All the time!" Then, he grabbed his buddy at the table next to us and told him about my idea. So, I feel like this baby his some serious momentum. I also feel like it's an opportunity for music lovers to dialogue about how and why they want to musically educate the children in their lives. I'm considering this zine the Rad Dad for the music community. I have established a few rules so that everyone who reads Lullabies for the Musically Conscious can easily use these songs. 1) The song must be able to be reasonably sung by your average lullaby singer. Everyone should be able to sing these songs fairly well. 2) Your song choice must be either indie rock or from an artist who significantly impacted musical history. When I say indie rock, I'm certainly not excluding any genre. It just has to be independent. I don't want any Katy Perry up in this, ok? Actually, I'm looking for an Emmylou Harris song and perhaps Roy Orbison. I am also trying to find more culturally diverse musicians. I've got a lot of white folks in this first issue, so help me out here. 3) The song must be able to be sung without a CD, computer, iphone, ipod... you get the point. This will require some studying on your part to learn the lyrics (surprisingly, I found that I didn't know all the lyrics to many of my favorite songs), but it's worth it. Epic poems were memorized by bards in Ancient Greece and recited for entertainment. These bards memorized 10-30 thousand lines of poetry-- poetry that told a story, provided lessons, and educated the youth in the community about the social morays of Ancient Greece. That's pretty awesome and it's a dying art. Let's bring it back. Memorize your songs and bust them out for bed time, at the playground, or as a party trick. Furthermore, there is an intimacy to singing acapella, even if you aren't a brilliant singer. You're sharing your love of a song, you're sharing music with child, you're making yourself vulnerable by allowing yourself to screw up on the melody or lyrics. Singing lullabies is about building a human connection with them. I happen to think there is a significant dirth of human connection as of late and that needs to be changed. Having an electronic device helping you to sing a song somehow obstructs that connection (I'm not sure how, but it is less intimate). 4)You have to love the song. If you're not passionate about the song, kids pick up on that fast and the last thing we want is to push our kids toward the Justin Bieber crap machine because we aren't choosing the right songs to sing to our kids. If you choose to submit, e-mail me at with the subject line "Lullabies for the Musically Conscious" and include the song title, artist name, full lyrics (you can google them and copy and paste), and why you chose the song (you can talk about why it's easy to sing, the images you see in your head as you hear that song, if it reminds you of a time or place, the message of the song, or even why the artist is significant). I look forward to hearing from you!!

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