Dan Zanes & Friends to perform at the Overture Center
21st Century People's Music
“He asked me to come over and just jam with him,” Brooks recalled in a telephone interview. “I did that. Then the next thing I knew, I was onstage in
front of 1,500 kids in Minneapolis the following weekend after I had played with him once. For me, that was interesting in the sense that I had been
playing in rock bands and touring the country in a lot of places. To see an all-ages audience that was attentive somewhat and excited we were there,
that’s what made it fun. It reminded me of the punk rock days in Little Rock when lots of kids were coming to see music and see their friends and make
friends. There’s a whole community aspect to it that you don’t get in rock clubs, theaters or arenas.”
“I had heard of Dan and the Del Fuegos, but I didn’t know when somebody had said ‘Oh, he plays children’s music now,’ I didn’t really know what that
meant,” Brooks said. “So it was the music that really made it fun for me. It wasn’t children’s music per se. It was people music, folk music, music that
people of all ages could relate to. That’s what made it exciting for me. If we were doing ‘Itsy, Bitsy Spider’ and what not, I don’t think I would necessarily
be doing this. But since the subject matter isn’t pandering to kids and adults appreciate it as well, it is definitely something worth working on.”
Dan Zanes & Friends is a diverse band, reflecting the New York of today and the American of tomorrow. “Living in New York, Dan wants the group to
reflect what New York is,” Brooks said. “This is definitely a multicultural city. People from all over the world are visiting or live here. I think that shows
good harmony for the world. So it’s really cool to be in a band with people from different backgrounds and different places.”
Over the last couple of years, Dan Zanes & Friends has become almost a full-time gig for Brooks. In addition to the concerts, they have produced some
videos for Disney and there is even talk about a show.
The May 2 show at Overture is designed to entertain the entire family. It’s called a “Night Time! Pajama Party.” And the performers actually do perform
in their pajamas. “We’ve been doing pajama parties for about six months or so,” Brooks said. “The audience is encouraged to wear their pajamas as
well. People do come out and wear them. It’s mostly the kids, but we see a few adults in pajamas, which is always an interesting sight. We figure we’re
doing it, so everyone else should be doing it as well. There’s nothing wrong with wearing pajamas.”
And these Pajama Parties are anything but staid affairs with passive audiences. “People should expect us to come out smiling and dancing and singing
and playing,” Brooks said. “We hope the audience will be singing and dancing. We’ll take care of the playing part. We hope the audience will do a lot
of singing and participation. It will be a lot of fun.”
All aboard! For a family-fun time, “Catch That Train” and Dan Zanes & Friends at the Overture Theater and find out what 21st Century Social Music is
all about. Let the good times roll!
By Jonathan Gramling
All aboard! On May 2, Dane Zanes & Friends will take an audience at the Overture Center
for a family-friendly musical ride with what Zanes likes to call “21st Century Social Music.”
Zanes & Friends won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Musical Album for “Catch That
Train!,” a fun and catchy musical tale of a train ride up New York’s Hudson Valley.
One of the performers who has caught a ride on Zanes’ musical train is Colin Brooks, the
group’s drummer. Brooks basically learned rock and every other genre of music at his father’
s knee — his father was a self-taught guitar player — and began his musical career playing
in punk rock bands in Little Rock, Ark., his hometown.
Brooks moved to New York City to play for Skeleton Key, which had a recording contract
with Capitol Records, but that group dissolved after a year. Since then, Brooks’ musical
career has hit highs and lows — he toured in Australia and New Zealand with Bic Runga —
until Zanes spotted him playing in a band for an Off-Broadway production.
Colin Brooks (far left) will be performing with Dan Zanes &
Friends at the Overture on May 2