Interview: The Verve Pipe

words and photo by JEALEXphoto/Jessica Alexander
| Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

The Verve Pipe, photo by Jessica Alexander (JEALEX Photo)

One thing that the casual music fan who attends Austin City Limits Festival might miss out on is the fact that there is a subset of the festival within the festival called “Austin Kiddie Limits.” Yes, adults are only allowed in if accompanied by a child. Imagine the initial surprise that arises when those music fans see RCA recording artists The Verve Pipe listed as playing Austin Kiddie Limits not once, but twice during each weekend of the festival.

All those adult music fans bring their younger brothers/sisters/nieces/nephews/babies to the little stage (complete with mini a grass mosh pit area!) tucked away in a quiet corner of Zilker Park, expecting some of their favorite hits from the ’90s to be played — until they are told, “There will be no ‘The Freshmen’ or any of the other adult hits — just the family music today.”

Do you stay, or do you leave? When several boxes of breakfast cereal are involved, as well as a harmonica and a banjo, why not stay?

Verbicide contributor Jessica Alexander was able to interview and photograph the Michigan rock group during the 2013 ACL Fest and then watch the feel-good, breakfast-laden music set afterwards, which left every audience member — pint-sized or otherwise — dancing and with huge smiles on their face.

To transition into children’s music after many successful decades of writing music for adults seems to be an interesting and peculiar progression.

We were approached in 2009 to do a charity compilation, so it was somewhat by accident, but since many of us are parents and teachers, it only made sense to do it. Honestly, the first show we played our children’s music at was just as nerve-wracking as any show we would have done in the past playing our “adult” music. We were all so excited and intimidated at the same time, and seeing the songs being well-received immediately made us realize we were doing the right thing.

Parents who make music and are positive role models are really needed in today’s society! So much of our popular music sends a negative message and exploits the negativity that is around us.

We know both kids and adults don’t need that message constantly bombarding them. Also, we are so thankful to know we can still do what we want to do and record and make music, while being close to our families and hopefully [inspiring] other artists to do the same — or not be afraid to at least try.

It’s fun to see the various types of audience members that come to your children’s show; obviously, there are the parents and guardians of your younger audience members, but then there are a lot of adults who are there just to see those hits they grew up on.

Yes, our audience is merge of two types, for sure. We do get plenty of people that want to see their favorite songs one more time, which we still perform at the appropriate times and shows, but we also get and love the families that want wholesome, fun music for their kids to listen to that sounds great and still rocks. And kids love the cereal. Actually, we all love the cereal.

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