Talking Seattle Kid Favorites with the Not-Its!

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If you’ve caught a live show by local “kindie” band The Not-Its!, you know just how high-energy their shows are, but you may not have known that most of them have young kids just like us. The rockin’ parents who make up four of the five members of Seattle band The Not-Its! have 7 little ones between them plus one more on the way (bass player Nori Hoeft has been sporting a baby bump all summer and is due with number two very soon). In addition to rocking out with the kiddie-set at the parks & libraries all summer to promote their second album, Time Out To Rock, they manage to juggle parenthood, day jobs, and good deeds for the community. Band members Sarah Shannon (Lead singer and current SAHM), Danny Adamson (rhythm guitarist, singer and realtor), and Nori Hoeft (bass player, backup singer, grant-writer, and volunteer for a local Girls Rock Camp) took some time to chat with Red Tricycle about life with their own kids in Seattle and rocking the kindie music scene.

How did The Not-Its! come about?

Sarah: The Not-Its! came about from us just getting together as friends with our families, sitting around Danny’s kitchen table and talking about how we really wanted to hear a full on rock band for kids. Something with a little edge that our kids could really rock out to.

Night Club Scene or Playground Scene?

Danny: Playground scene for sure! I have been to some shows lately and realize that 35 is not the new 21….My show watching stamina is pathetic these days. I want to sit down after about 20 minutes at a club. We also have tons of awesome playgrounds near us (Carkeek Park, Salmon Bay Park, etc).

Do your kids think it’s cool that you’re in a band?

Nori: Ha, that’s a tough one. They don’t realize that it’s not the norm to have parents who play in a rock band. The older ones are kind of over going to all the shows. The younger ones think it’s cool, but then again most little kids think that what their parents do is really cool, whether it’s working on the computer or driving a forklift. I’m sure they will all be embarrassed of us by the time they’re tweens.

Do your kids help write the songs?

Sarah: Our kids definitely serve as inspiration for subject matter. The biggest influence they have is acting as a sounding board as to whether or not the songs are interesting or engaging.

Favorite local venue to play so far?

Sarah: We played lots of shows at parks this year that were really fun—Silver Lake in Everett, Marina Park in Kirkland, Hamlin Park in Shoreline.

Danny: I really liked our CD release show at Magnuson Park this summer. The amphitheater is an amazing setting.

Nori: Cupcake Royale. I like a yummy venue.

With kids as your audience, anything can happen…any particularly funny moments?

Danny: It’s always hilarious when we get the kids involved on stage. Sometimes they’ll say things in the microphone that are amazing. They’ll tell jokes that make absolutely NO sense, but those are often the funniest ones. On the “not funny” end of the spectrum—we seem to have about 4 shows per year where a kid gets separated from their parent, but we stop the show to find the child and so far we have 100% happy, reunited families!

How do you rally yourselves to rock the morning stage when you’ve had a late night with your own kids?

Nori: Rallying to play a show is really different than rallying to go to work at an office. Putting on glitter makeup and a giant pink tutu and telling myself “it’s just for 45 minutes” (the average length of a set) works pretty well, and once I’m on stage it’s all adrenalin. Once I’m off stage, then I remember how drained I am, but then there are all those smiling little faces that make it worth it.

Nori, how has it been touring all summer while pregnant?

It’s been awesome to get up in front of people with a big bump and prove beyond all doubt that being pregnant is not an illness. I take pride in being able to rock out, and I’ve had so many moms approach me after shows saying how great it is for them to see me up there. I feel that part of The Not-Its “message” is that life does not end when you have kids—you can still do the things you love and have fun, and in fact lots of things that lose their luster in young adulthood (Christmas, board games, and learning new things, to name but a few) suddenly become magical again when you have kids. It’s not all about selfless sacrifice and loss of freedom. I also got my good friend Holly to fill in for me at a few shows this summer (mainly on the days where we had multiple shows on the same day), which helped prevent total exhaustion.

When you have a night off from the kids, what’s your perfect local date night or spot to meet up with friends?

Sarah: We love to get sushi at Kisaku in the Green Lake neighborhood and take a stroll around sculpture park downtown.

Danny: We love to go to the movies. Only the theaters that offer the huge bucket of popcorn with free refills! That’s right, the Mrs. and I can take down two of those!

Nori: Fort St. George in the ID. They serve Tokyo-style comfort food (spaghetti with enoki mushrooms and teriyaki burgers with grated daikon radish). It’s the next best thing to being in Japan.

Favorite local spots to hang with your own kids?

Sarah: Woodland Park Zoo, Children’s Museum

Danny: We like to ride bikes all over Ballard. My kids are just old enough where they can ride decent lengths w/o too much complaining. We also like to hit the libraries to pick out books, cds and movies.

Nori: Full Tilt Ice Cream in Columbia City. We can walk there from our house, and they make ube ice cream, which for me is like the Philippines in a cone. AND they have beer and pinball. As soon as I’m not pregnant anymore I’m going to try and get them to make me a Guinness float.

Your favorite thing about raising kids in Seattle?

Sarah: I love that there are a ton of free, fun & family oriented activities. It’s also great to be in a major city with everything we need at our disposal (parks, museums, etc) and we can drive a half hour out and go on a beautiful hike.

Why your neighborhood rocks:

Sarah: In Wallingford I can walk to everything and can also take a 10 minute ride to anywhere I could possibly want to go.

Danny: Ballard has tons of great restaurants, very walkable and is overall pretty safe. We see people we know wherever we go.

Nori: I can’t imagine living anywhere in Seattle but Columbia City. I love that my kid goes to this incredibly diverse school whose most notable feature is the huge, kid-run organic garden. And where else can you find the Refugee Women’s Alliance down the street from the wine bar? Or, for that matter, the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker (ok, it’s a florist, but I swear they sell candles) all next door to each other, which is next door to the toy store, which is around the corner from the weekly farmer’s market, which is right next to the library, which is across the street from three playgrounds, a cinema, a live theater, and a kids’ clothing consignment store, and all within walking distance of the light rail. Only in Seattle, and only in Columbia City. And don’t even get me started on the restaurants.

-Angie J. Ballas

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