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Gettin’ into the Groove

Kate: What are some of your favorite rock bands? Do they influence any of your music for kids?

Caspar: That is a good question! I love me some primitive rock and roll. Chuck Berry is a big influence. He took the blues and made something fun and young and vital out of it. He was writing songs about teenagers. He almost invented teenagers! The springy bounce of his music really moves me.

Moving up in time I would next pick the Stooges. That primal guttural core of animal energy is amazing. I know that does not come out in my Caspar stuff that much but it does at least in my mind with the Presidents. Somewhere buried deep down I am feeling something like Iggy Pop might feel when I play for the babies.Somewhere buried deep down I am feeling something like Iggy Pop might feel when I play for the babies. It is pretty deep though!

If we are talking about ROCK bands like AC/DC or Soundgarden or Judas Priest, then I would say that there is virtually no influence in the Caspar thing. I may pull a feeling out of Devo or the Cars or the B-52s now and again, but the major influences that I draw from are from before the turn of the century (20th not 21st!).

I do see every musical type as a potential source for inspiration, though. Any song in any genre that works feels timeless, and I think that the timeless feeling we get from a song that seems inevitable is the collective unconscious being tickled in our brains. We feel like we know it already because it is part of the boundless sound of being human.

If you added the "AND ROLL" to "ROCK," then the list would grow considerably. I think of the "AND ROLL" part as the fun part. To me that distinction is like the difference between a kind of ego stance in rock and an invitation to join the party in rock and roll. I definitely gravitate toward the party joining thing.

I guess that is why I went for Chuck Berry first! He is ROCK AND ROLL for sure.

÷÷÷

Caspar: How do you feel about outsider art in relation to high art? What do each have to offer and what do each tell us about the human spirit?

Kate: Honestly, I don't really like questions like this because I don't feel like there's any answer that's really constructive. Once people start comparing different types of art, more often than not, the conversation turns into a debate that ends up pitting one genre against another.I experienced a lot of this dialogue in art school and it disturbed me. If you think high school was clique-y try going to artIf you think high school was clique-y try going to art school where the fine artists hated the commercial artists! There is a place for all art. I guess all art teaches us something about the human spirit, but I think the answer is pretty complex. I'm not sure my brain can work that one out. Maybe you should ask me another question?

Caspar: Let me rephrase the question. What inspiring sensation do you get when you look at outsider art? Why does it tickle your creative brain? And what does "high art" such as Picasso or Matisse do to your brain when you see it? How does it inspire you?

Kate: I don't know why it tickles my creative brain — I guess I was just born that way. When I look at art that I love, whether it's Hello Kitty or Picasso or outsider art, I get butterflies in my stomach, and my ears start to ring and I feel a little dizzy. My heart beat speeds up, or my heart aches a little, or I want to cry. That's what I want to happen when people look at my art. When I cut paper into shapes and pick colors, and I start to have that same physical reaction then I know I'm on the right path. I just want to be happy, and it's nice when my art makes other people happy.

÷ ÷ ÷

Caspar Babypants is also known as Chris Ballew, twice Grammy-nominated lead singer and songwriter for the rock-and-roll band the Presidents of the United States of America. For music, info, and more, go to BabypantsMusic.com.

Kate Endle is a collector of beautiful and unusual printed papers, which she uses to compose vibrant images for children’s books and original artwork. Original art and Kate Endle collage prints can be found at her online shop at KateEndle.com.

The couple is married and live in Seattle. Their collaborations include three children's books: My Woodland Wish, Bunny Rabbit in the Sunlight, and Augie to Zebra.


Books mentioned in this post

  1. My Woodland Wish Sale Hardcover $7.98
  2. Bunny Rabbit in the Sunlight New Board Book $9.99
  3. Augie to Zebra: An Alphabet Book! Used Hardcover $11.95


Caspar Babypants and Kate Endle is the author of Augie to Zebra: An Alphabet Book!

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