A Kids’ Song Inspired by George Carlin Stand-up?

The Story behind Jam Packed by Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam

George Carlin, a comedian who informed Jason Didner's sense of humorOne thing that makes my conversations and co-writing with Amy so great is our shared sense of humor. So, when we were walking in town and spotted a tiny 2-seat commuter car, I believe a SMART, we both started joking and laughing about how we would completely fill it with “stuff.” Lots and lots of “stuff.”

This led us to search for this George Carlin stand-up bit about people having so much “stuff” (see video at end of article) and to share some great laughs and the beginnings of some song ideas. We reflected back on our own experiences with “stuff” on our family trips, especially since when we travel, we’re often bringing our travel gear, beach gear and musical gear. We kept the feeling true to life, but added some tall tales for comedic effect. We also reached back to an earlier time in our marriage when we had a 2-door sports coupe that when we packed the guitar, my knees were actually squashed up to my chest.

This is also one of those songs where I combined music influences – like the unmistakable Bo Diddley blues beat happening through the verses switching right over into power pop in the choruses that could be a bit reminiscent of kindie music inspiration Justin Roberts.
You can hear the resulting track here:

Jam Packed in the Jungle Gym Jam minivan - with Lou DeMartino, Casey McCleary, Amy Didner, Jason Didner & Ross KantorOne thing that makes the track extra special is that it features the bass playing of “Mr. Lou” DeMartino. He really poured his personality into this one, especially when he hits that “filthy” high 7th chord at the end of each chorus. In his short time in our band, he made a tremendous impact on who we are as musicians, as professionals and as people. We miss Lou every day.

This is also the first-ever track where both Awesome Amy and Hoppin’ Holly contribute sung vocal parts (as opposed to spoken parts), making us that much more of a family band. I was also delighted to have the blues harmonica contributions of John “Foggy Otis” Raido, a longtime friend both from musical circles, and someone who, along with Amy, was a teacher at Montclair High School in a past life.

Lollipop Motel album cover - Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym JamThe song, as with the rest of the album Lollipop Motel, is produced by Marc “Baze” Bazerman, engineered by Matt Ryan at Homefront Studios in Caldwell, NJ, mastered by Scott Anthony at Storybook Sound in Maplewood, NJ. Ross Kantor did the honors on drums and Casey McCleary added her magical vocal harmonies. I sang, played electric & acoustic guitars and keyboards.

George Carlin has been a voice in my ear since I was 13 and my uncle Saul showed me a videotape of Carlin at Carnegie. I think I’ve memorized every one of his stand-up routines since, but “Stuff” really stands out as the way I knew George Carlin the best. I’m so glad I was able to create something tangible that honors that influence this comedy giant had on my sense of humor. I only wish he could have lived to hear it.

Here’s the bit about “Stuff” we loved so much. Warning: Parents, make sure to watch this after the kids go to bed; the language gets a bit “blue.”

Who are your favorite comedians and how have they helped influence you beyond giving you a moment’s laughter?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *