Sometimes it takes a real kick in the ass to want to make kick-ass music, especially for kids (where you have to call it kick-butt music).
Riff Rockit (aka Evan Michael) hit that life milestone as a teenager, overcoming childhood leukemia. Two battles with cancer took their toll, but also instilled dual missions – entertain and inspire kids and their families, as well as raise money for charities such as BeTheMatch, whose mission is to deliver cures for blood cancers.
His alter ego, Riff Rockit, engages younger audiences. Call him Bon Juvy (Juvenile). His stage show involves a puppet-playing band. Yes, you heard me correctly. Riff's new CD, IF I COULD FLY, is full-throttled hair-metal for the post-diaper set. Do I really need to tell you what "Backyard" or "Food Groups" are about? Although "Mr. Tux" requires a little explanation, since it's a boy-band tune about a black-and-white California kitten.
Continuing the dual theme, the title track is ostensibly about a boy recalling his first airplane trip and wishing he had wings. But knowing Michael's medical history, one can also wonder if IF I COULD FLY is his way of looking back to a time when he felt detached from his body, imagining a time when he could become more than his physical limitations. He spent significant time in isolation in the hospital, building back his immune system. Who wouldn't picture themselves taking flight to get far away from those conditions?
If you know hard rock, you know how the album sounds. If you know children's music, then you know that "Birthday" is a poppy celebration song and "Wintertime" is a snuggle by the fire ballad. There's an honest earnestness to what Evan Michael (and producer Bob St. John) put into Riff Rockit.
Did I mention that all proceeds from IF I COULD FLY are being donated to BeTheMatch? Or that free downloads of the album will be available if you make a voluntary donation to BeTheMatch? Or that his website has links to a half-dozen cancer charities? That's something that Bon Jovi has in common with Riff Rockit. [Bon Jovi is involved in a number of charities–Ed.]
IF I COULD FLY is available July 29 from Riff's website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.
Here is the video for Riff's song, "Pearly Whites":