Don’t count on kiddie tunes from the pop pianist anytime soon.
Talking to Ben Folds two weeks ago was a career highlight for me, as I’ve long been a fan of both his original work and the very funny, imaginative and expletive-laden cover songs he’s recorded. Going into the interview, I wanted to focus on his most recent songwriting and how he felt about the 10th anniversary of “Rockin’ the Suburbs,” but Brian Winkeler at Robot House Creative here in OKC suggested another question that prompted some insight from the world-famous songwriter.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room in my story to include Folds’ answer — slim to none — so a blog post will have to suffice. Here goes:
OKS: I spoke recently with John Linnell of They Might Be Giants, and he remarked on very young fans latching on to their music from their work on the children’s albums. I’m wondering if you’ve noticed younger fans getting into your music from the “Over the Hedge” soundtrack and if working with that potentially whetted your interest in writing songs for kids.
Folds: I don’t think songs have to be written for kids in order to be understood and consumed by kids. So, just a straight-up kids album, I’m not sure about that one. I don’t know how I feel about that. Because you see kids like 4, 5 years old listening to The Beatles. And it can be on the level that’s like, God, “Yellow Submarine.” I don’t know if you have to write it for kids.
To me, They Might Be Giants’ music is very brilliant. But their kid record, meh. I got that ’cause I had kids at the time and then I thought, “God, I don’t want them listening to this crap.” I played them Elliott Smith instead; they liked that. I think They Might Be Giants — Linnell especially — is just absolutely brilliant, so I don’t mean any disrespect. I just think that maybe that’s not the best purpose is to write to kids directly.
Well, there you have it. Folds plays the Civic Center with the OKC Philharmonic tomorrow night at 8 p.m., but you can also catch him tonight as he'll be giving a Mastersclass for ACM@UCO at Exhibit Hall D, Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens at 7 p.m. It's free and open to the public.