An Interview with The Not-Its!


Photo of the Not-Its!Author's note: Tricycle Music Fest West is a popular music festival showcasing music written for children that also appeals to adults. This year, the San Mateo County Library is thrilled to be partnering with the San Francisco Public Library for the festival.

I had the chance to interview the artists who will be participating in the family-friendly event for 2013. This blog entry marks the first in a series of interviews with those artists.

The Not-Its! hail from the state of Washington and consist of Sarah Shannon (vocals), Danny Adamson (rhythm guitar), Tom Baisden (lead guitar), Jennie Helman (bass guitar), and Michael Welke (drums). With their black-and-pink outfits and a pumped-up, energetic sound, the band definitely puts the “rock” in “kindie rock.”

Want proof? Check out the music video for “Let’s Skateboard,” which combines two cool things: skateboarding and playing in a rock band.

In this interview, The Not-Its! shared their excitement at being able to come to the Bay Area and play at Tricycle Music Fest West as well as the democratic process by which they settled on their very particular band name. Answers have been edited for clarity and/or length.

What made you decide to write music for children and families?
We all had indie rock pasts and then started having babies… We knew there was some great family music out there, but really wanted to create something that rocked [and] was really up-tempo with high energy. Kids love to rock and we wanted to provide that for them.

How did you hear about and get involved with Tricycle Music Fest? 

We were invited to come play and have heard such great things about Tri-Fest. We have been looking for a way to get down to the Bay Area FOREVER and are excited to finally come! We’ve heard people have tons of fun at Tri-Fest.

How have libraries or librarians been an influence in your life or your music career?

We’ve played many Seattle area libraries and some of the librarians [t]here totally rock! They tell us to crank it up and they dance around with the kids. In Seattle, we [also] have the Summer Reading Club, which is a huge, positive thing for kids in our area.

Band names are usually memorable or intriguing in some way. Is there a story behind yours?
We had a few we were choosing from and we let a bunch of friends vote. The Not-Its! is what came out of the wash. As much as we love our name, it causes much trouble—[It’s got to] have the hyphen, can’t have an apostrophe in the word “Its” and must have an exclamation mark at the end. Whew!

You all have experience being in different bands. How did the five of you come together to form this group?
Sarah, Danny [and] Tom were rockers who knew each other from our past bands. We all became very close friends once we started making families. We just decided we wanted to make music for children that would be music that we’d actually want to listen to and so we gave it a shot!

If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?
Fun, Loud, Energy.

Welcome The Not-Its! to the Bay Area and see them perform live on:


Author Bio:

Jessica Chung is a MLIS student and an intern for the San Mateo County Library.

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