Pop-power trio, The Hipwaders have released two truly great children's discs. But what are they up to now? Let's catch up with frontman Tito Uquillas to see.
1) Are you hip? Waiters? Or do you wade up to your hips while waiting? How did your name come about?
Decidedly unhip, I was attempting to come up with a name that had double-meaning like "Beatles" with the word "beat". I thought "hip" something would be cool as the word "hip" has connotations of the 1960's - my favorite musical era where it seems every genre of music from soul to rock was at a peak.
2) What kind of music did you enjoy as a kid? Does it influence your songwriting?
Of course I enjoyed kid t.v. shows and loved the music. The Beatles cartoon series, Banana Splits and the Archies were all huge in my book. My sister, who's a year older than I, used to love to switch channels to watch American Bandstand and Soul Train to watch the "big kids" dance which we found hilariously funny. Of course, I loved the music I heard on those shows also. When I was 8 years old I caught "Help!" on t.v. and right then and there I became a Beatlemaniac and would save my lunch money instead of eating to buy Beatles albums. I became the huge fanatic the same year they broke up and would then purchase all of their solo albums as they came out. Of course, The Beatles would be my primary songwriting and arranging influence. I love a good, catchy melody. I also love vocal harmonies, (soul music-influenced) moving bass lines and jangly guitars. It's a recipe that's served me well!
3.) Both your albums got a kid wide-mouthed on the cover. Is this some oral fixation?
Nope. While we appreciate the work of La Leche League, we merely have an aural fixation. The first album has a photo of me getting my teeth brushed by my mother - much to my chagrin. Our "Educated Kid" album art was done by the amazing Garth Kauffman without any input by us other than payment made up entirely of blow pops.
4) "Educated Kid" is one of my kids fave songs. What was your inspiration?
Our friend, Kelly the Clown, had attended one of our rehearsals and suggested we write a song about how kids don't necessarily have to go the traditional 4 year college route in order to get educated. I quickly had to give her props by stating in the first line, "Clown college, trucking college...." Also, I had a new tremolo guitar effects pedal and that gave me the riff idea. I've always love Bo Diddley songs with the heavy tremoloed guitar sounds and wanted to do something like that.
5) When not rockin' the kids world what do you do?
I've been a paramedic for the past 20-odd years, drummer Nick Baca is an art instructor at a local high school and new bassist, DJ Kinville is a "numbers guy" (accounting/bookkeeping).
6) What are your plans for 2008?
More rocking! We just want to continue performing for the kids and working on new material. As always, I want to hone our band into a very tight-sounding unit that flows easily between song and banter with the audience that I always appreciate in my favorite live musical performers. Also, I'd love the meet more of our fellow "kids music" performers. We've had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of the SF Bay Area artists (e.g. Abby & the Pipsqueaks, Andy Z, Charity Kahn, Frances England, Mr. David, The Sippy Cups). A very diverse bunch of artists with common interests we're trying to unify the scene. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of venues catering to music for kids and families like other areas. We're all trying to get a kid music festival together but so far it's been very difficult.
Thanks for the interview Tito!
Check out the great tunes & upcoming concerts: The Hipwaders