Danny Weinkauf knew it was time for something different. Sure, he was the longtime bass player for They Might Be Giants. Absolutely, he had produced an acclaimed first solo CD for kids. But now came the next evolution – front man for his own ensemble, the Red Pants Band. And what better way to kick off the celebration then with a CD entitled RED PANTS BAND?
Oh, all the pieces fell into place. Beach Boys musical director Scott Totten signed on, as did Staten Island's Tina Kenny Jones. And guest vocalists? Don't get me started – from his own son, Kai Weinkauf ("Picky Eaters") to Robin Goldwasser ("Love Is in the Air").
The songs are delightfully goofy ("This Dog's Best Friend") to Bryds-style fanciful ("Look at Those Clouds"). "Groovy Red Pants" sounds like a Fountains of Wayne/That Think You Do 60s throwback. Danny throw in a little science as well, continuing a trend he started with his contributions to TMBG's kid discs. "Botany" Admittedly, the Johns seem to have cooled on the genre. They've ceded the playground to Danny, who is ready, willing, and able to populate the place with power-pop pleasures.
Like Chuck Folds' snarky Big Bang Boom, the Red Pants Band go under deep cover. They are not just a "for kids" band, they are singing from the perspective "for kids." That is no more clearly evidenced than in "Eyes in the Back of Her Head":
I tried to sneak a cookie
Wiped all my crumbs away.
But when I start to smile,
She says "No more snacks for you today."
A 15-year tenure with a band is a remarkable feat, but that's how long Danny has been associated with TMBG. Considering that TMBG have logged more than 30 years, it's understandable that Danny would be itching to stretch his legs – and it takes mighty big pantaloons to get out from under that ginormous legacy. Belted or with suspenders, the Red Pants Band are just the ticket.
RED PANTS BAND is available from Danny's website, Amazon, iTunes, and CDBABY.
Here is the video for Danny's song, "Champion of the Spelling Bee":