“Our target audience is actually four- to nine-year-olds, not necessarily toddlers,” says Clint Perry of Boo Hoo Crew, which he describes as “the only kids rock band that actually rocks the kids.... We’re booked out the wazoo through September.”
With such a young fan base, performing the group’s 50-plus song inventory — covering kid-centric topics from “Pirate Booty” to “Jelly & Peanut Butter,” “It’s Halloween,” and “Potty in the Pot” — can be challenging.
“The most difficult thing is the chaos,” says the 38-year-old father of three boys (6, 7, and 8 years old). “When it’s a group of little ones that all need a nap or are on a sugar rush it can be really hard. Just yesterday, I had to stop a show three times for one little guy who was just having a rough day. He fell twice, knocked over the bubble machine, whacked a girl with a tambourine, and pushed another little kid over.” In addition, “It’s increasingly difficult when the parents come and see us as their babysitter for the 30 or 60 minutes and really don’t pay attention to or regulate their child.”
The pirate theme, while popular (“Thanks, Johnny Depp!”), must necessarily be flexible. When the Boo Hoo Crew performs at the Model Train Museum in Balboa Park on Saturday, May 18, “Our show will have anywhere from two to five train songs in the mix,” says Perry. “We have our two originals, ‘Safety Train’ and ‘Chugga Chugga Choo Choo.’”
Perry (who runs an employee benefits managing firm called Unlimited Benefits) has also booked his Crew for a PJ Jammy Jam event on May 31 at PlayWerx in Carlsbad, a three-story indoor playground structure he recalls playing all too well.
“We went into ‘Potty in the Pot,’ and right about the second chorus, we hear this scream coming from the third-story corner of the structure. Then crying. Up top, during our song about going potty, a little boy decided to pee right there. I didn’t stop the song, but segued right into the line, while slowing the song down, ‘If you can’t hold it anymore, go into the bathroom, close the door.’”
Venue staff quickly cleaned up and, according to Perry, “The boy and his mom Jesse still come to the shows at PlayWerx.... When they walk in, we smile and I say, ‘I know what song I’ll be playing next.’”
San Diego is home to more kid rock than you’d think. Hullabaloo has released nearly a dozen CDs, Kathryn Cloward has her series of Kathryn the Grape books and music (some with local songstress Astra Kelly), and there’s Cowboy Jack Johnson, Vista musician David Rees (whose CD I Believe in Pasta features Bob Tedde from Rockola), and El Cajon resident Larry Keough (who records kids’ CDs with students at Explorer Elementary Charter School in Point Loma).