Jam Toast

Jam Toast 1

Malcolm McLaren, 1946 -2010

With all that is lost something is gained and his talent and genius has spawned years of angry young musicians and than there is the legacy that will carry on for years.

Having been part of the scene in the 70’s it was described by some as childish, immature, untalented abuse of a 3 chord “AABA” form of music.
In reality the term “Punk” was once described by one of the Ramones as the name given for those young lads who in order to survive did favors for the rich males hunting the streets for a bit of fun.

In turn that is what their music became labeled.

Well here we are 40years latter and one of those interesting off shoots of the Punk scene is a very unique concept that you would not normally expect but why not JAM Toast.

The latest CD is described best here by its founder Michael McKinnon

Jam Toast kicks out three-chord fun for the whole family with “Rock n’ Roll Playground,” 14-high energy tunes to get the kids pogo-ing in the playroom. Get off the couch with “Let’s Go,” climb aboard the “Party Train,” and get your groove on to “Silly Dance.” Rock n’ Roll Playground continues where Jam Toast’s first album, “Silly Grown-ups, Punk is for Kids,” left off.

Jam Toast knows that just because you’re a kid—or have kids—doesn’t mean you want to listen to endless renditions of the Wheels on the Bus. Punk rock IS kids’ music, after all; it’s fun, fast and noisy, and not afraid to colour outside the lines.

“Jam Toast brings everyone out of their shell to laugh, sing along and let loose,” says Doris Ebejer, a Toronto pre-school teacher who plays Jam Toast daily for her classes. “Even the most timid child gets up and moves freely. Great Music! Great Fun!”

“Silly Grown-ups, Punk is for Kids,” was featured on CBC radio’s Metro Morning and was the editor’s pick in Canadian Living magazine. Sweetspot.ca says Jam Toast “takes all the three-chord fun of punk and gives it a childlike twist.”

Visit www.jamtoast.ca for more info, free tunes and press clippings.

Well we visited the site and not only is it cute it is actually very good and the musicians play better than some of their predecessors.

Cash box had a chance to talk to Michael about his project and asked him a few questions:

CB: What was your musical background before Jam Toast and how did that affect the songs you chose to write?

McKinnon/Jam Toast: “I’ve loved punk rock since I was a kid; it got me right away. Loved the 1980s Canadian and American hardcore like SNFU, D.O.A., Minor Threat. I sang in a couple bands years ago—a thrash band in the 1980s and a more straight-up punk band in the 1990s. Funny thing is, when I started writing punk songs for children, it all clicked and made sense to me; this was the right audience for the music I loved making.”

CB: How did you get interested in the project was it by becoming a dad with 2 young boys and who influenced you to do a Kids CD?”

McKinnon/Jam Toast: “I played punk rock for my boys since they were born. It’s the perfect high-energy music for kids—the Ramones, Pennywise, and that kind of stuff.

A lot of people have asked me: why not just let the children listen to the Ramones, then? And I agree; the Ramones are one of my favourite bands, and my boys love them. The drug references aren’t great for kids, of course—like Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, for example. But also, I wanted to do a punk rock record that wasn’t just safe for kids, but made for kids. There haven’t been a lot of punk rock songs about Shoelace Soup or Fire trucks over the years. I wanted to do a punk rock record for kids that were entirely theirs.”

CB: Who came up with the idea of doing Punk Music for Kids?

McKinnon/Jam Toast: “I joked one day to my wife that I was going to write a punk album for children, and it made sense as soon as I said it. It didn’t seem like a joke at all once I said it out loud.”

CB: It was well publicized during those dark days of drug scandals that the Barenaked ladies were releasing” Snack time with Walt Disney for kids, were you aware that bands like New York's "There Might be Giants" were crossing into this growing industry as well and do you think there is money in it when the record industry in general is feeling the pinch of downloads?

McKinnon/Jam Toast: “I honestly don’t know. I love making punk rock—I always have—and that’s why I do it.”

CB: Your songs sound like the Red Hot Chile Peppers meets the Sesame Street Gang who are the other players besides yourself and Jeff Campbell from the Forgotten Rebels in the band and which ones writes the songs or is it a band effort?

McKinnon/Jam Toast: “Live, Jam Toast is Rob Cosh and I; we do rocking acoustic sets so as not to blast out any young eardrums. In the studio, it’s mostly me—I write all the songs, lay down the guitar, drums and bass—but friends have kicked in some tracks here and there on Rock n’ Roll Playground, too. Jeff Campbell from the Forgotten Rebels played on Silly Dance, plus friends of mine, Des McKinney and Tom Skillman, played on the album too. Rob Cosh sings on a couple tunes. I was really thrilled to have these guys play on it. Plus, my two boys—7 and 11—sing on it, too, and that was fun.

CB: You have received some good press like the CBC's morning show and Canadian press with very positive results and comments. Did you ever think it would go this way?

McKinnon/Jam Toast: “Nope—with the first album, I was just focused on putting out a fun punk rock album for kids. I figured I could probably get my mom and dad to buy a copy, but I didn’t think too far past that. But a lot of people were looking for this kind of album—I get emails from all over the world, which is really cool. This second album, Rock n’ Roll Playground, was really fun to do because I knew there was going to be an audience for it.”

CB: Some of the tunes have different feel and form like the "Jam Toast Theme" with the Ska influence and others like "Rain Rain Go away" raps on and then the ABC song" with a high energy edge where you seem to be reinventing the old standards, should Old Mother Hubbard be running for cover in case she's next. Are you heading in the Weird Al parody world and will you reinvent more kid’s song like a "Jack n Jill"? Jam Toast style?

McKinnon/Jam Toast “Right from the start, I wanted to stay away from covers. I don’t find children’s music terribly creative sometimes, in that there are a lot of versions of the same songs, and I wanted to avoid that. So these are original songs, mostly about things my sons suggested I write songs about.

CB: How do you get the word out as you have played some outdoor events and the shows seem well received?

McKinnon/Jam Toast: The shows are really fun, because kids are great to play for. They don’t worry about whether it’s punk, or too punk, or not punk enough, or any of that nonsense. They just listen to the music and decide if they like it. And they instinctively pogo and jump around, so we get a natural forming pit full of seven-year-old kids.
Plus, punk rock really is kid’s music—people jumping around, acting goofy, yelling and making faces. So it makes sense that Jam Toast would go over well, I think.

CB: I was amazed at how many artist do kids song and the site ZOOGOBBLE is a site to prove that.
How do you sell the C.D's and where can people get them?

McKinnon/Jam Toast: “Rock n’ Roll Playground will be on iTunes soon (Jam Toast’s first album, Silly Grown-ups, Punk is for Kids, is already available on iTunes), but the best (and cheapest) place to buy CDs and downloads is at www.jamtoast.ca.”

CB: What is next for Jam Toast and have you ever considered a TV show?

McKinnon/Jam Toast. "I’d love to do a TV show! I have no idea what’s up next. I love playing the tunes live, and love writing new ones."

As odd as it may seem being of the generation it won’t hurt and you may be surprised but check out the site www.jamtoast.ca and let the Kid’s ( of all ages ) have some fun .