Friday, March 03, 2006

The Traumas-Cartoonists Sing

Did you know that many animator types are also musicians? My theory is that animation and music are really the same art forms, one is movement aimed at the eyeballs, the other at the eardrums. Maybe that's why my favorite cartoons are often musicals like Betty Boop and Clampett films.

Here's an unknown band of famous-ass cartoonists.
Dave Feiss-creator of Cow and Chicken, Annmarie Ashkar-co-inventor of Flash and Internet cartoons and some jerk on the right there who is trying to horn in on the act.
Here's Dave again with internationally beloved Katie Rice.

We play mainly cornball songs I guess-old country and western and early Rock 'N' Roll.
Songs by The Carter Family, Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, Elvis, The Beatles, The Louvin Bros., Ray Charles and more of your favorites.



Look how serious these guys are as they bare their ignorant backwoods souls backstage at world renowned Masquer's Cabaret in Hollywood where dreams are destroyed.Our themes are misery, heartbreak, lost infants, agitated loins and beating your best girl with a stick and tossing her into the river so you can cry the rest of your heart away in prison.

Here's the best reason to see us play-to watch the cute chicks warble and bounce.

Dave:Guitar, Dobro, piano and back up vocals.
Katie: Vocals and Accordion
Annmarie: vocals, piano, guitar
Me: Croon, cry, yodel and guitar.


Hire us to play at your next big Hollywood Bash!

95 comments:

Brian Romero said...

Interesting theory on animators and musicians. I play guitar but can't really consider myself a musician since I can only play by ear and do not read music. I've noticed that 'creative people' in general are good at a lot of creative endeavors besides their main area of expertise.

Anonymous said...

I am ALWAYS comparing music and art! My friend James who is a cartoonist and me always talk about this stuff.

He doodles all the time for fun, I'll make little 20 second rough instrumentals for fun. He'll work weeks on a big master illustration, I'll work weeks on a complex demo. His best drawings are when he isn't thinking too much or trying too hard, my best songs are the same thing.

Sometimes we'll draw a comic together by each of us doing the next panel, not knowing where it's going to end up. Other times we'll make a song together at my little home studio by layering things on top of each other without knowing how it will end up.

Sometimes I'll draw in his sketchbook, and he'll come over to my house and record a song. We'll switch it up a bit!

You should put up some mp3s John! I know we'd all like to hear some of this...project.


-Jordan

Josh Boelter said...

I think most artists are into more than one art form. A lot of musicians paint, a lot of writers are into photography, etc. I think that everything you do that's a creative pursuit helps your other art. Painting makes me a better writer, even though I'm not a very good painter. It keeps the creativity flowing and makes you see the world differently.

Jorge Garrido said...

Yay more pics to reference for my John K caricature!

Duck Dodgers said...

Post an audio file and let us listen a bit of you folks singing, will ya John?

Nico said...

John, i've been meaning to ask you this for 10 years: where on earth do you buy your glasses frames? I want me some as huge and cool as yours.

Anonymous said...

Creative people are creative period, nearly all of them have many skills, even if they are only famous or can only make money doing one of them.

Garwik said...

I'd love to hear some of your music. Nothin' finer than depressing songs about heart-ache.
The next time I have a Hollywood bash, I'll make sure to look you guys up.

bab2600 said...

There is nothing cornball about old rock and roll. A lot of old rock was very creative and took chances while a lot of mainstream rock today is cookie cutter crap thats over played on the radio. It is just like animation or anything for that matter right now. Usually when big money gets involved their is a transition made from art to business. Anyway could you post an mp3 or two for us to hear?

Aimee Nester said...

Wow, I'd like to hear an audio clip!!

Anonymous said...

Brian Romero! "I play guitar but can't really consider myself a musician since i can only play by ear and do not read music"

! Do you think the Beatles weren't musicians? They couldn't read music. Music is my whole life and I can barely read it (reeeeeally slow)...You're a musician if you play music and love doing it!


-Jordan
www.jordancooperlalala.com (music)

Brian Romero said...

Jordan,

I guess I feel that way because I have friends who not only read and compose music, but are very talented with more than one instrument. When people come over and see my guitars and ask me 'Are you a musician?' I always half joke 'Nah, I'm just a guitar player!'

Evan said...

Haha I think that's the most pics I've ever seen of John!

Dave said...

Accordi*O*n!

Anonymous said...

Do you ever leave Cali to play, oh say, like Denver?

JohnK said...

>>Do you ever leave Cali to play, oh say, like Denver?

We would if someone shipped us there and fed us.

Pete said...

That Katie Rice girl is kinda, well, hott!

Chet said...

John,thats realy cool.

You play some cool stuff too,im a huge beatles and hank williams fan,and yes,i play guitar as well.I also know that Mike Judge plays guitar as well.

Ohh and thanks for showing more pictures of Kaite,she must be cool as hell.

Chet said...

and to clairify,im not like obsesed with Kaite Rice or anything.

I just think you have to be cool to draw like she does,play the accordian(an underated instrument),and yes,she is kind of cute.

Gabriel said...

Gee, you're a renaissance man. And so are your friends! It's quite cool that all those people somehow managed to find each other.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to agree with the masses and say "let us hear your stuff!"
Do you really yodel? Because that's awsome!

Stefano D. said...

Looks like so much fun---if only I wsasn't so far away in the cold Canadian north---

Sniff-sniff---I'd cry, but the tears would freeze.

Eric C. said...

awsome John,

Do you have a mp3 of your singing

_Eric

ncross said...

I like the pink and blue walls, it's like modern cartoon colors

makinita said...

well im a cartoonist i dont play in a band but im in a band i put a mexican wrestlor mask and dance rround oun stage at punk rock shows hehe i guess thats diferent
heres some picture if any one wants 2 see hehe

http://www.deviantart.com/view/27050712/

http://www.deviantart.com/view/26744050/

http://www.deviantart.com/view/27632634/

Snapy papy said...

that Katie rice grrrrrrrrr ;)

kp said...

Cool theory. All this talk about such varied combinations of talent make me think of some kind of whacked-out Funky Frankenstein of creativeness. I'm not quite so gifted;I just sew and write a bit besides some drawing. I don't play any instruments.....unless the kazoo counts as one XD. Oooh, and I can do some air-opera if that's good for anything!
Also, yes, let's have an mp3 of your musical stylings! That there stuff sounds mighty interesting.

BURKE said...

i agree, im an illustrator by day at a t-shirt company, by night i give my lil ol eye balls a break and rock out with my band 'YOUR FAVORITE BAND', also music should be fun, the more cheeseball the better


also its great being able to put your own images on concert flyers instead of recycled shep fairy rip offs like everyone else, ha!



post some recordings some time

Vanoni! said...

I've played trombone for years (as well as other assorted plumbing assemblies and noisemakers) and I'm constantly delighted by the similarities between art and music. I can't help but make the comparisons when talking to friends about either.

Make sure and give a heads up when you're playing somewhere.
I love me some good ol' country and rock.

– Corbett

BrianB said...

Very nice. Katie Rice just kills me. She looks a lot like one of the cutest actresses I know, Zooey Deschanel - considering she had that hair color. Only Katie's much deadlier with the pencil. Heh.

Btw John, I'm doing a presentation on Bob Clampett for my animation class. What cartoons do you suggest I bring in?

Right now, "The Great Piggy Bank Robber" and "Tortoise Wins By A Hare" are definites. I have Looney Tunes volume 1 and 2 to pick off but no money coming in to grab 3. I do have a school film library full of volumes of Looney Tunes on VHS tapes though.

I think I might play your Piggy Bank commentary too, give them a bit of an inside look. Stopping to show them some frame by frame as well.

Let me know of any "must-show" shorts to add though. Thanks.

www.freewebs.com/brainspew said...

The Beatles you say? Sweet.

I'd hire you.

2 Bits sound ok? I spent my dough on partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Sam said...

Awesome! I'm also in a band

The Drowning Seventh Seal said...

Hey!
I'm a "totally blind" (I think it means I really did while the others only thought about doing it.) musician, but I'm in complete awe of Peter Blegvad whom the sighted community insists is a worthy cartoonist. I think there's some connection between the subtle qualities that make a "note" worthy musician good, and a person with his observational faculties together enough to draw/otherwise-manufacture/whatever-the-hell-y'all do-to-produce a "good cartoon". Sighted people who tend to "doodle" are generally more able to describe the world they either see or imagine to those of us who don't see. Enjoyed this post...

Desiree said...

Ja! music Totally!!
I love this industry cus i can do my work while listenting to music.
I got some animator buddies in my class that play music, but we're shy, so we record the music on our computer and then email it on to our other shy musical animator friends :D

I.M. Weasel said...

Greetings John, great to see you give one of my favorite animators, Dave Feiss, some exposure. I'd love to get in contact with him again sometime, but alas I don't have his number or anything anymore.

Music and visual arts are definitely intertwined...on the music forums I haunt online, a good portion of the people who are musicians are also artists and designers, and likewise just look at the list of popular musicians who were also artists (John Lennon, Jerry Garcia, Don Van Vliet, John Entwistle to name a few), and I think you'll find the connections were more than a coincidence.

Unfortunately I'm only at the point of "music fan" but I'm sure I'll pick up a guitar and learn to strum it in a halfway-coherent manner at some point in the near future.

Ivy said...

Haahahaha. Wonderfulwonderfulwonderful. I hope I get to see you guys play. Katie plays accordian?! Awesome.

akira said...

... did you guys play at the anaheim house of blues, or was that just a cartoon show? let us know the next time you're doing either one, as far in advance as possible.... any chance of posting an mp3 or two?
p.s. nice shirt

Elliot said...

About 400 years ago I was required to produce a caricature for a uni assignment.
R n S was big at the time so I chose to do one of yourself.
The only reference image I had was in the interview you did for Film Threat magazine. You were sporting an impressive beard and no spectacles.
I did my drawing.
Every single other picture I saw of you from then on was clean shaven and with glasses.
It never looked like you ever again.

Dove said...

I don't animate but I try to draw. And I play a mean tuba! And a few other instruments but the tuba is my specialty!!

Don't knock that kind of music. Old country like Hank, Elvis, the Carters, thats the BEST! It's my favorite :) :) :) Id love to hear yall. Put some mp3s up!!!!!

-Cindove

nightwing said...

hmmm...music and cartoons...well ive played violin for damn near a decade and i still cant draw, hahaha

Mitch K said...

I was waiting for this post! Awesome stuff! That Katie sure is a doll, isn't she? Who ever knew that she played accordion!? She could be a Newfie! Accordions are wicked (so are Newfs).

And YOU! Holy geeze, a guitaring yodeller! Amazing! Old country is pretty great good stuff. My grandfather is a huge wild west kind of guy. I'm surprised that you guys don't have any fiddle or harmonica, though!

Hey John, when did you first start playing guitar? When can we get to HEAR this wicked cool band of yours? Your band should start it's own blog. I want to hear you folks play! Awesome post, budday!

Jason Murray said...

John K. looks like a cross between a recent pic of David Byrne and Buddy Holly. If his guitar playing is half as good as Jim Smith's in the Ren & Stimpy theme I bet they kick ass! You guys should do a huge music/animation tour in preperation for the big November Ren & Stimpy releases. I bet people would be foaming at the mouth to buy the dvd's after going to a show like that. Keep on keepin' on!

- Jason

R2K said...

You guys are SOOOO Emo :)

R2K

Chet said...

Hey john,What do you think of the three little bop's?

Now there is a cartoon with good music,and animation.

JohnK said...

Chet said...

Hey john,What do you think of the three little bop's?

I loved it when I was a kid, but then I discovered the older musical cartoons that are way more wild and animated and inventive:

Swing You Sinners (Fleischer)
Hell almost all the Fleischers have great music
Coal Black
Tin Pan Alley Cats
Book Review
all the 30s Clampetts

and lots more...

Rob Gibson said...

I have been resisting with every last iota of strength not to succumb to the all blogs and the fancy internet world, but I can't resist a chance to post to John K. himself!

I just learned the Ren and Stimpy intro theme the other day, and of course I'm a 2D animator. So I agree with your theory.

I can't wait to participate in some of the drawing and caricature challenges you've got going here.

I've just started exploring cartoons and animation on the internet, and this site was a great find. Although, I could spend hours clicking animation links and reading about animation, when I should be actually animating!

I'll be sure and check back and tell others about this site!

-Rob

Klark Kent 007 said...

I am sure you make Ward Kimball & Frank Thomas proud.

Chet said...

John,where can i see Coal Black?

Iv been dying to see it,but since it was banned its not on any of the golden collection dvd's.Where can i find it?

Nicolas Martinez said...

I agree with you, John. Cartoons and music are great together. I gotta tell ya, Coal Black has to be the best cartoon I've ever seen. Bob Clampett and Carl Stallig were at their best in it. I still need to see more Fleischers, though.

lastangelman said...

When my brother got bored and gave up his guitar, I grabbed it and the first thing I tried to do was figure out how to play "Powerhouse" and other 'cartoon music' from all the great Warner Brothers shorts. In my head I still carry an accapella arrangement I wanna try one day, if I can afford the studio time and find the right demented but talented singers.
The best stuff is the Carter Family and R&B Chuck Berry and early Beatles, nuttin' corny about it ...

Anonymous said...

try e-bay, but most of those are really crappy copies.

WB promised that they would release it and the other 10 banned cartoons before the Golden collections is over and done with. In what volume is a whole other matter, no one really knows.

Anonymous said...

Fleischer fans check out this site:
Fleischer Popeye Tribute
http://www.calmapro.com/popeye/index.php?current=index

lastangelman said...

adding one more thing:
because Raymond Scott has been done to death as cartoon music, and the Hanna Barbara library of music and sound effects is similarly exhausted, I've been trying to find different musical cues and passgaes that would work. I'm finding useful bits from Electric Light Orchestra's first four albums. ELO 2 and Eldorado have some specially good bits in them.

Scott Tolleson said...

I wonder how hard it would be to play a diddy on the Gweetar and crank out a sketch at the same time.

bill(y) said...

john,

you ever check out a live southern culture on the skids show?


fried chicken and gasoline man!

nightwing said...

well, if its an electric you could play using only pull-offs, and draw with your freehand, which should be your dominant hand, unless you are left handed and play regular guitar, wouldnt be hard but itd take some practice, on acoustic you could just be alot harder since pull-offs dont work as well you could tune down the strings to fit the song and play all open while drawin with your off-hand, or use some creative pluckin and fingering using only one hand...
anyway i probably killed the comment, i usually do when i explain stuff, hahaha...
now, as for my chosen instrument, as well as corbett and katie, etc...it may a bit more difficult...haha
anyway, i see that you have the elvis/crooning voice in the group, its a good voice and one i too am the proud owner off, though mine has more of a glenn danzig slant too it
ill stop the rant now...im tired, haha

Citizen Drummond said...

You're right. Catscratch/Earthworm Jim/Neverhood creator Doug TenNapel has a band called TRUCK. If you ever meet him you can wrangle a copy of their album "4x4x4" out of him.
http://www.tennapel.com/music.html

max said...

you look way younger then i thought! you're only 51, i was sure you'd be much older, but you don't even look that old, more like at most 35... unless that's not you on the right and i'm totally dumb!

i saw on imdb that you were born ici, au qu├ębec? parles-tu francais john?

BrianB said...

>>John,where can i see Coal Black?

Iv been dying to see it,but since it was banned its not on any of the golden collection dvd's.Where can i find it?<<

Here ya go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPx98z5UD2E&search=coal%20black%20sebben%20dwarfs

Hopefully they release it in one of the Golden collections, so we can get a better quality cut of this great cartoon.

Duck Dodgers said...

Do you like the Lantz cartoons?

Chad said...

If anyone in the LA area wants to see Coal Black you should go to the Animation Archive in Burbank that Steve Worth runs. They have a great quality version on dvd.

John, when are these pictures from? I really want to see you guys perform at a venue next time. Looks like fun.

D said...

Great weblog! I posted a link on my webspace, I hope you don't mind!? Keep up the hilarious cartoons...
deon

Peggy said...

Aaaw, man. if I move back to LA can I join your band? I have pink hair and a hideous screechy singing voice and I'm bouncy!

charlie J. said...

One reason the music is so great in the clampett cartoons is that the cartoons themselves are very fast paced and exciting, and the music you write for any movie or cartoon must match the feeling of the movie or cartoons themselves, so if its a fast paced exciting cartoon, chances are you're going to have a fast paced exciting soundtrack. (if you have a good composer)

David Germain said...

Hey john,What do you think of the three little bop's?

I loved it when I was a kid, but then I discovered the older musical cartoons that are way more wild and animated and inventive:

Swing You Sinners (Fleischer)
Hell almost all the Fleischers have great music
Coal Black
Tin Pan Alley Cats
Book Revue
all the 30s Clampetts

and lots more...


Those are all great toons for sure. Book Revue (by Bob Clampett c. 1946) is one of my personal favourites actually.
But hey, The Three Little Bops (by Friz Freleng c. 1957) is great too. It has that unmistakable Friz timing which goes perfectly with that slick jazz deftly handled by Gerry Chiniquy's capable staccato animation style. Too bad it was released to late for a 1956 Oscar nod (January 5, 1957) and way too early for an aknowledgement from the 1957 Acadamy. (Book Revue suffered from this as well I think since it was released January 5, 1946).

Anonymous said...

hi

Lori said...

Sure, Katie is hot, but look at that John K. -Yowza!!

Danielle said...

nice!

mode7 said...

ooh wee ooh john, you look just like buddy holly

Deana said...

You should pack up a van with your equipment and do a world tour even though you would have to somehow get a van that can turn into a boat to get to other continents.

R2K said...

Those women are very pretty :)

Jorge Garrido said...

Man, I love The Three Little Bops, it has very minimalistic animation but Friz Freleng was the KING of musical cartoons, timing and pacing. John'd probably disagree, though.

Attention everyone, you can see a good print fo Swing You Sinners at the Animation Archive! http://www.animationarchive.org/2005/11/filmography-swing-you-sinners.html

Man those cartoons are the bee's knees, but they're only for da hep cats who enjoi swingin' 'N' jivin'

Sketch said...

Hey, I play guitar too.

Sketch said...

But in a way I could see that about animation and music kind of being the same thing. I mean guys like Geroge Clinton and Frank Zappa are/we're cartoonists but instead of visual they were audio cartooninsts.

Chet said...

I like the three little bop's better because the music is better.Book Revue and the flecher stuff,just dont sound as good.


and they dont have a pig imitating liberachi either.hahahahah

animalmother said...

go to acidtoons.blogspot.com

BrianB said...

I love The Three Little Bops style and music, but it's not NEARLY as funny as Book Revue. Not to mention the tamer cycled animation of Bops. Book Revue is brilliantly animated, and has Daffy Duck's amazing "Danny K" bit.

Acetate said...

I picture you singing, "and I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more just to be the man who ..." well you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

I think their so close because of rhythm, having a beat, leaning out of the window and then, - waiting, just a bit longer, a bit longer, and - bang, going back into it, stomping along with the band. The beat would be story and editing, the singer/lead the character.. best heard by lennons guitar work, or even better sinatra. the way he knows a song thoroughly, and then messes with the rythmn and the lines. Am i making sense? Dearly hope so...
In the end anything about beauty is -at least to me- always in some sense about rhythm, or better two rhythm, like playing a 3/4 and a 4/4 beat simultaneously and watching how one circles around the other until the rejoin, part.. Timing is about feeling what your saying, being very close what you mean. In a way good timing when singing, playing, the pulling and pushing of a rhythm, is like it's right from you, from your brain to movement to tone to emotion.. and for some reason schiele's poses come to my mind when writing about this..

i'll post anonymous so embarrassment doesn't hit me to hard.. greetings, d.

Steve Stark said...

I also play the 6 stringed wood box. A good cartoon always has good music.

C. A. M. Thompson said...

Fleischer cartoons have the best music hands down. Cab Calloway! You can't beat Minnie the Moocher.

I've always liked the use of music in Spumco cartoons. Particularly the Raymond Scott music in Man's Best Friend. That's some fun music.

Anonymous said...

The sound track to the movie Lone Star has some good old style country music on it. That movie with Kris Kristofersen. Simon.

Anonymous said...

Love that blog!

Gabriel said...

I think people who like cartoons and are not kids have stronger stance about their tastes for other arts as well. Think about it, society says cartoons are made for children, so you either stop liking them to fit in, or you beat your chest like a gorilla and take pride in not being one of those people that just don't get it. Most of us here probably learn early to follow our guts, and won't always be satisfied with the crap on the radio or only the latest blockbuster. Since there's so much more stuff in this world than what the normal uninsterested collective mind thinks, you're soon bound to be hooked by other stuff not many people know about! In my experience artsy people (such as cartoonists) are almost always fond of stuff the rest of the world doesn't care about, such as balinese gamelan music, italian horror movies, you name it!

David Germain said...

To tie in with this post's theory....... did Bob Clampett play any instruments?

Jorge Garrido said...

Friz Freleng understood rhythm more so than anyone else. Everything in his cartoons was rhythmic. That's why his favourite animator was Gerry Chinquy, because he could do that jerky up and down stlye in his caroons with Friz. Even in non-musical cartoons, Freleng loved to repeat things again and again and he always gave a little variation on the repetition. A prime example is in "Hare Do" "Pardon me, excuse me pardon me, excuse me..." and in "Slick Hare" "One banana cream pie! One banana cream pie! Pick up pie! Pick up pie! Your pie sir! *smack*" He also loved to make the characters do little asides to help the timing out. "I'm a thinking!... And my head hurts!" "Open that door... You notice I did't say
Richard?" "Open this door, varmint, open it I say! *smack* Close it, close it, close it up again!" He always transitioned beutifully.

Not to take away from Clampett or anything eihter...Book Revue is simply incredible!

JohnK said...

>>?Friz Freleng understood rhythm more so than anyone else. Everything in his cartoons was rhythmic.

Everything in everyone's cartoons back then was timed to music. All cartoons were rhythmic. That's part of what made cartoons so much fun then. Clampett was the master of musical timing in the 40s.

In the 30s I'd have to say the Fleischers were the best.

Anonymous said...

i think John is the hot one!

phil said...

john,
cover a DEVO tune.
Trust me, they're crowd pleasers.
'Gut Feeling' accoustic sounds great.

Jorge Garrido said...

>>Everything in everyone's cartoons back then was timed to music. All cartoons were rhythmic. That's part of what made cartoons so much fun then. Clampett was the master of musical timing in the 40s.

>>In the 30s I'd have to say the Fleischers were the best.

Oh, a wise guy, eh? WHO, pray tell, are YOU?

I'll say Freleng was the master of timing and pacing and rhythm in the 50's, and even in the 40's he was really good. Compare the timing (not animation quality) of Pigs In A Polka to Corny Concerto. Freleng knew how to make cartoons FLOW. Look at "Yankee Doodle Daffy" for more evidence.

Me>John K

JohnK said...

Funny, those are exactly the cartoons I show people when I want to prove how stilted Friz is.

Jorge Garrido said...

^Oh, yeah? WELL YOU'RE ANOTHER! Hah. I showed him.

Me>Everything

Michelle Klein-Hass said...

FreeHead broke up about 10 years ago but got back together to do the theme song for Chestacles The Barbarian. (for details, take a squint at http://www.jimsmithcartoons.com/

Jim Smith, M. Segal and Richie Hass enjoyed the Chestacles project so much, they've been playing together ever since.

I'm sure a gig with both bands would be pretty awesome if y'all could pull it off. There's some gigs coming up.

Of course, Jim was the guy who co-wrote the Ren & Stimpy theme. That amazing Texas sidewinder Telecaster twang on that famous bit of music was his. A consummate guitarist, a consummate cartoonist, and a really cool guy.

Anonymous said...

I like how you are an amazing artist and play musican ...i do the same ...but im more of a musician than and arist but they are one the wto best things to have which is an advantage for me in school but i playt msuic like the beatles,grateful dead,bob dylan, neil young...the genious music but ht thing is im only 14
-vinny

Niki said...

I've always wanted to play the Trumpet, Piano, Accordion, and guitar. But I only do piano (haven't played in years) and I never was really good...