The Imagination Movers are coming back to Chicago (Waukegan to be exact) on Saturday, October 20th for their 2012 Rock-O-Matic Tour. My family has experienced both of their Chicago shows (in 2009 and 2011) and they were amazing.
As many of you know from my past articles, “I Like My Kids' TV Show" and “Moved By The Movers”, Cooper and Cole are big fans of the Imagination Movers. And I must confess that I have become a fan as well.
Here is a quick background on the band…
The Imagination Movers are four guys who saw a need for kid’s entertainment. They started playing at backyard parties ten years ago, and now play hundreds of sold out shows across North America. They also have a TV show on Disney Junior and have written hundreds of songs featured on multiple CDs.
I am also very impressed with the resilience of this local New Orleans band. Three of Movers lost their homes during Hurricane Katrina, and the last one was a firefighter who went missing during a Katrina rescue effort. They all rebuilt their lives and stayed focused on their collective dream...to create rock music that both parents and children could enjoy together.
So when I got the chance to sit down with one of the Movers for this interview, I jumped at the chance. So here is my sit-down with Imagination Mover Smitty.
Lisa: So how is the tour going?
Smitty: The tour is a lot of fun. It’s great to meet our fans who have supported us over the years. It is a different concept than our past tours. We are playing many of the songs from our new CD/DVD Rock-O-Matic and some of the favorites from past CDs. There is a great mix for everyone…our loyal longtime fansAND families who are coming to see us for the first time. Plus, we have a secret guest that will appeal to the kids. He is a 7ft. robot that Mover Dave made. The kids love it!
Lisa: That sounds very cool. Coop and Cole will love it. Speaking of love, we all think the new Rock-O-Matic CD is great. It’s interesting, the songs seemed to have matured compared to you previous CDs like ‘In A Big Warehouse’ and ‘Juice Box Heroes’. Is that on purpose?
Smitty: No. Our process for writing songs is very organic. At any moment, if an idea or melody hits one of us, the process starts. Previously when we were taping the TV show, we actually got song writing homework so to speak. If we were doing an episode about a certain topic like say pirates, we would need to write a song about that to fit into the episode. Now we can get back to writing songs like we did when we first started…just when it hits us. The other thing is that most of the other guys’ kids are growing up so what we are writing about is naturally aligning to where we are in our lives right now. But it’s interesting; we have written so many songs over the years that some of them are just coming around. Like the song Little Red Wagon; that’s a song we wrote in 2004, but it is now on our new 2012 Rock-O-Matic CD. Or the song Rain Rain. That is a song Mover Scott wrote at an outdoor concert we were doing during a rain storm. It was pouring out and he just started singing that song. It’s cool. Ideas for songs just come. That’s the fun part.
Lisa: What do you prefer touring or the taping the TV show?
Smitty: They both have their benefits and challenges. When we were taping the TV show, it was great to be home. Also, being able to work with a local New Orleans crew and keep jobs in our city was important to all of us. However, the days were long working on the TV show. 14-16 hour days were the norm and we had to do a lot during a typical day from writing songs, to creating show ideas to the on-camera work, but the energy on set was great. It was a tremendous experience and offered us some amazing creative freedom…it was a true gift. Being on the road touring can be hard since we are away from home. However, getting the chance to play in front of a live audience is great. Talk about energy. And getting the chance to meet the kids and watch them sing and dance with us is awesome.
Lisa: You guys have great chemistry. I know you are all friends, but what makes it work?
Smitty: We are all friends first and foremost and we have history together like Scott and I went to high school together. We truly like to be around each other. It helps that we are older and more settled in our lives. We love what we do and the fact that four friends get to do this amazing work is very cool. We will not let anything get to us.
Lisa: Any funny stories to share from this tour?
Smitty: Not really. The last tour bus driver we had said we were boring. Either we are watching a movie, reading, sleeping or catching up with our families. I guess one thing happened recently that was pretty funny. One of our tech guys got locked in the bathroom right before a show, and we needed him to do the show. No one from the venue could get him out so we had to call the fire department to get the door open. We had to explain to the crowd why we could not start the show on time.
Lisa: What is a perfect day for Smitty?
Smitty: A perfect day for Smitty…hmm. I would get up early and take the boat out to go fishing. Then I would come home, have lunch and maybe take a short nap. Then I would take my dogs for a walk at the local neighborhood park. I would finish the day with a cookout at home with friends.
Lisa: What is your favorite Movers song?
Smitty: I really do like so many of our songs for so many different reasons. If I had to narrow it down, I like ‘Sunrise Sunset’ and ‘Rain Rain. Of course, I like the ‘Fire Truck’ song and the song ‘Dear Old Dad’ holds special place to all of us.
Lisa: How about your favorite TV episode?
Smitty: That’s easy…the pirate episode.
Lisa: Thank you for your time. What is one last thing you want people to know about the Imagination Movers?
Smitty: We are four friends who are real guys from New Orleans and when we play our songs, we’re actually playing it. We are playing real drums; real guitars and we love what we do. Our show is for everyone and we are so grateful to the families who come to see us play. We want the audience to have as good of time as we are and know that we are playing from the heart.
I really want to thank Smitty for his time. He spoke to me for about 45 minutes and was incredibly patient with my list of questions. I learned that Smitty is still active in his firefighter career. He actually utilizes his vacation time and trade shifts with others in the station to make time for the Imagination Movers. I think that is very cool. I also learned that Smitty recently shaved his head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which is an organization that raises money to support finding a cure for children’s cancer.
I ask you to please check out the Imagination Movers’ TV show on Disney Junior and go see them live in concert on October 20 in Waukegan, IL. Check out their website at www.imaginationmovers.com.
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