Mike Park, owner of Asian Man Records, has done his fair of touring over the last 25 years, whether it was with local ska-punk legends Skankin’ Pickle, the Chinkees, the B. Lee Band or with his solo material. He takes and interesting detour with his latest project: touring with popular children’s act Yo Gabba Gabba.
The tour with Yo Gabba Gabba comes to the San Jose Event Civic Center on Tuesday March 5th. We caught up with Mike to talk about the experience, thus far.
You are on a three-month tour with Yo Gabba Gabba. What exactly are you doing during the show?
I am the super music friend. The live show follows the TV format, so they try to incorporate parts of the TV show live. My segment comes in at the 15 minute mark; I play one song and then I’m done. It’s the easiest gig I’ve ever had in my life. I did one of the live shows last year and the right people saw it. When they discussed this year’s tour, my name was thrown into the mix and somehow they picked me.
This isn’t your first foray into kid’s music. Your album Smile is an accessible kid’s album that adults will enjoy listening to as well. What made you decide to get into kid’s music?
Being a dad of two young kids had me fiddling around on guitar making up silly songs. It made my toddlers smile and from there I just started writing songs. It’s a lot of fun and I hope to do a lot more of this in the future.
What have the Yo Gabba Gabba shows been like?
They’re quite surreal, to be honest. I’ve never been on a tour of this magnitude before. I get nervous before every performance, but that’s normal for me. It’s the same if I’m playing in front of 15,000 people or if I’m playing in front of 30 people. That’s what makes it still worthwhile for me at least. But it’s been a blast playing some beautiful historic theaters across the U.S. that otherwise I’d never get the chance to perform at.
How do children compare to adults as audience members?
They don’t go on message boards and talk shit about you. They’re just having fun and they don’t care what’s cool or not. That’s the big difference. I love playing music for both adults and children, but I’m having a lot more fun lately playing for kids.
Who are some of the other special musical guests that you’ve been on the road with?
Basically, the company gave me a green light to invite guests to join me on stage, so I’ve just had friends from my time in music come on out in different cities. Thus far I’ve had members of the following bands: Darkest Hour, Lawrence Arms, Big D and the Kids Table, Bouncing Souls, Suicide Machines, Lita from WWE, MU330, The Pilfers, Bomb the Music Industry, Five Iron Frenzy.
Do your kids come to see the show when you play locally? What do they think of seeing Dad on stage with Yo Gabba Gabba?
Yes, they definitely are coming to the show on Tuesday. I’m not quite sure what they think? It’s hard to gauge what goes through the mind of a 4 and 6 year old. They used to listen to Smile a lot more but these days it’s been a lot of Toots and the Maytals. Ha!
Biz Markie is also on this tour with you, right? Have you been hanging out with Biz?
He’s an interesting person. He has his blu-tooth connected 24/7 and he’s constantly on the phone and so you have no idea if he’s talking to you or somebody else? But at least he knows my name, which is more than Tom Morello after touring with him for three weeks.
Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! “Get the Sillies Out” comes to the San Jose Civic Center on Tuesday March 5th.