What do you get when you mix the Beastie Boys' sound with
Monkees-style comedy, blue mechanic's jumpsuits and a Mister Rogers
friendly neighborhood vibe?
Every dad's man crush, that's what.
More specifically, the kid-tested, mom-and-dad-approved Imagination
Made up of dads Rich Collins, Dave Poche, Scott Durbin and
firefighter Smitty Smith, the self-proclaimed alternative rock band
for the preschool set has taken the mini music scene by storm with
Emmy award-winning songs about everything from messy rooms to
saying please and thank you.
I had the honor to go head to Gearhead with the dynamic group in
early 2008 to talk about their launch into the solar system of
stardom with what was then a brand new Disney Channel television
show (also called Imagination
Movers) and their personal adventures in parenting.
And, they must have liked what I said, since a year later I was
granted a follow up interview to get the scoop on their 40-city
tour (including Waukegan), Happy Ha-Ha-Holidays
premiere coming up December 5 at 10 a.m. ET/PT on Playhouse
Disney, and the Thanksgiving- and Christmas-oriented family
traditions (shrimp and grits for breakfast) that really get them in
the spirit of the holiday season.
What was the inspiration behind the holiday show where
Santa loses his signature laugh?
It was really a collaboration of us brainstorming with the
writers. Without giving too much away, it's not the same old
Christmas story and Santa is a really human character.
So little kids will really be able to realate to
Yes, and we're really proud of it being original. It's tough to
come up with new angles for Christmas. The fact that Santa comes to
the Idea Warehouse fits in with whole second season of the show
where we have a lot of very archetypical characters from Santa to
the Tooth Fairy to Cinderella come through the door. It's one of
the coolest things we've done.
Do you have any special family holiday
For Thanksgiving, the Smith family usually does something
outdoorsy like a fishing trip and then has a big feast where
everybody gathers around like a little family reunion. We just hang
out and do the stuff-yourself-take-a-nap situation.
For Christmas it's very much the same thing. It's getting
together with family. Chillin' out. Maybe doing something outdoors
and having some time to actually hang out with the people you don't
see on a regular basis. A lot of food in New Orleans, too.
Rich has five little ones under 10, and does all the usual
rituals with the tree and the gifts and of course hoping Santa
comes. This year, we're taking the family and driving halfway to
D.C., to meet my family at a rented house on a lake in the Smoky
Mountains. It's an eight hour drive for each group of people -
everyone will be in this one big house and essentially, have one
big feast. Four days of food.
How do you stay connected with your kids, wives and
families when on tour?
Postcards is about as old fashioned as you can get, and Skype is
about as advanced as it gets. Those are the best ways.
Us Movers decided to send postcards home every day while on
tour. We get almost every city. It's a tradition, but yet
being able to use Skype is a great way to do homework with the
kids. It's the closest thing to sitting in a room with someone.
Dave was actually doing math homework with his son Dean the other
day, and they were sitting there looking at his paper, doing the
work, it was great.
As for the postcards, it's not only old fashioned but there's
still nothing like getting a letter from a loved one in the mail.
It's just cool. It makes people feel good.
Convonista says: The Movers and I had a chance to catch up
in late 2009, and this interview ran a week later.
Maria Pilar Clark is a mom times two and Windy City-based writer.
See more of Pilar's stories here.
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