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The Sippy Cups: A Kids Band for Adults
Pretend that you are back in the midst of your happiest moment in childhood, where everything is magical and anything is possible. Freeze yourself for a moment inside of that place in time and pretend that you are looking out from there, daydreaming about all of the possibilities that exist around you. Daydream that you are creating a time machine, decorated with the stickers left over from when you plastered your new school notebooks with glitter and scratch ‘n sniffs. Pretend that this glorious time machine will take you back to any other era in time and that, when you arrive in this new old place, life there will be filled with all of the happiness of that happiest moment you just envisioned.
Now, enter your sticker-laden time machine and ride it through the swirling clouds and the vibrant colors of nature to the Summer of Love. Travel to the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco during the height of that summer’s passion. Forget what you know about the true story – about the drugs and the drama that resided there – after all, you are seeing this vision with child-like wonder. Beautiful, happy people are dancing with flowers in their hair and love in their hearts. The soundscape is a combination of The Beatles, The Beats and the breath of laughter that blows through the Bay Area.
Only the Bay Area could produce a band that is the combination of both the child that you are as you create this time machine and the experience of the era to which you travel. It requires the unique magic, wide-eyed imagination and safe-but-reckless abandon of this unique part of the country to make the kind of music that captures the attention of both children and hippies-at-heart. The band is The Sippy Cups, their location of origin is Montara, California (just half an hour drive south of the city of San Francisco) and the word that sums up the art that they bring to your ears is “magical”.
The Sippy Cups play a version of music which could be labeled kid-rock or could be called psychedelic pop, depending on which fan of their sound you’re discussing the art with. On the one hand, they are a band that appeals to all ages, drawing in families with young children to see their vibrant live shows which are as much large puppet theatre as they are children’s sing-a-long. But on the other hand, their neo-hippie sound and dreamscape lyrics are appealing to a sector of the adult population that just a few short years ago could be found at local raves, wearing candy necklaces and discussing the abstract concept of the self or the nuances of what makes up reality.
There are some key things from the band’s website that must be mentioned when explaining what this band is all about. Those things include:
- • The Sippy Cups were parents of preschoolers when they decided to form the band. Their music is inspired by children and sometimes composed in part by the kids!
- • Several members of The Sippy Cups work in California schools. They really believe in the benefits of music for children. They believe that anyone can make music if they’re just willing to try and that kids showcase this ability with abandon.
- • This is a green band that believes in a love for the earth. They say that “kids are the stewards of the planet” and really represent the belief that it’s important to keep the planet nice for the generations to come after us.
- • The band’s core values include being peaceful, loving others, “using your words”, celebrating family and life with music, playing hard, having fun and laughing as often as possible. How fun!
My personal favorite of the bands CDs is Electric Storyland . In this CD, they weave together a series of short stories to create a fabric of sound that brings the technical ability of adult musicians to the world of songs played for kids. In the space of seventeen short (kid-attention-sized) tracks, The Sippy Cups create a world filled with Jell-O houses, dog-builders, bestest bestest friends and parents who roll around on the floor to eradicate their bad moods. Their lyrics appeal to adults but are presented in a “sing along, it’ll be fun” manner. No matter your age, this fabric of magical sound created in the space where historical happiness and idealistic childhoods merge is the fabric of a blanket that you can comfortable tuck yourself into life with when the going gets difficult.
Clearly influenced by The Beatles, The Sippy Cups take the magic of the past and bring out only the good parts of it. Their influences also include books by Dr. Seuss, music by The Ramones and The Velvet Underground and the Bay Area’s open acceptance of redefining what it means to be a kid in today’s world. Parents are thrilled to take their kids to show by The Sippy Cups because it means that they get to have fun, too. And that’s part of the magic of the Bay Area, where you can live a fulfilling adult life without having to ever completely grow up at all. If Peter Pan could meet Cirque de Soleil and the music of the 1960’s, the resulting conversation would be The Sippy Cups.
This band plays live shows in the San Francisco Bay area on an irregular basis. Their CDs are food but their live shows are super fun and should be enjoyed if you get the chance.