Huge news for the under-10 crowd: Dino O’Dell and the T-Rex All-Stars have a new CD out. Actually waaaaaay out — it’s titled “Outer Space.” And yes, fan favorite Zar, the rapping space alien from O’Dell’s 2007 album “Itty Bitty Monsters,” turns up on this one as well.
O’Dell, 44, better known to grown-ups as Kevin Dolan, is one busy fellow, performing at schools and libraries around the region as well as at this weekend’s Jiggle Jam at Crown Center. We chatted him up over his kitchen table in Fairway.
Q. Did Zar inspire this CD?
He’s actually got a whole song (“Zar Is My Name”) that he recorded in his spaceship studio. It’s pretty good. I play a little guitar on it.
So are we to assume that Zar pretty much lives around here now?
No, Zar is in his spaceship most of the time. And then he lives on the planet Bozan with his wife and 18 children. It’s his job to study Earth animals.
There’s a song on the album called “Sugar Breakfast Cereal.” Would you say it’s pro-sugar or anti-sugar?
I’d say it’s ironically pro-sugar. (Laughs)
We know kids like sugar.
We know kids like sugar. When I was a boy they came out with Cookie Crisp breakfast cereal, and (the TV commercials featured) kids asking these little animated guys sitting around the table, kind of like Snap, Crackle and Pop, “Cookies? For breakfast?!” And the little guys, their answer was, “Sure!” And then the fireworks and the music started and it was like a big party on the breakfast table. …
The song is kind of based on that — I thought I’d take it to the next step, a breakfast cereal called Sugar Breakfast Cereal. But it does point out at the end some of the downsides to sugar, much like a pharmaceutical commercial does.
You now have a child of your own, 2-year-old Danny. Is he a sugar-lovin’ kid?
We’re pretty health-oriented here. Dino’s kind of like the nutrition musician, and Danny has never really tasted sugar. He’s had a little. But we drastically limit it.
There’s a tune called “Flapjacks,” too. Why not “Pancakes”?
Flapjacks is more fun to say.
You’ve been “serving children-kind,” as it states on the CD jacket, since 2003. Has anything changed in the business?
I’m older. I have a child and I’m married …
That’s probably the question. Has having a child changed you as a children’s performer?
Yeah, and I think it’ll continue to change me. Danny is 2 now, and I’ll start living those developmental stages I write for.
Who’s your target audience?
Basically from 4 to 9.
So you’ll have your own focus group right here in the house.
Yeah, I figure I can write off every expense associated with Danny as business research. Right? You think the IRS would go for that?SHOWS AND A CD
• Catch Dino O’Dell in free shows at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Learning Tree at Park Place in Leawood, and at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Blue Springs North branch of Mid-Continent Public Library.
O’Dell and the T-Rex All-Stars play at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Jiggle Jam Family Fest at Crown Center (tickets $10 in advance, $15 at gate;kcjigglejam.com), which continues through Sunday. Find other upcoming shows at dinoodell.com
• Buy the new CD “Outer Space” at O’Dell’s shows, at Reading Reptile in Brookside and at the Learning Tree in Prairie Village and Leawood.