I was driving my daughter to the grocery store. On the way to the store, we pass a bowling alley. I was telling her all about the bowling alley and how one day she might want to have a bowling party. It really clicked for me as a great song idea and I believe I wrote the chorus in my head while we were shopping.
This song probably came together the most quickly out of the entire album. When we got home from the grocery store, my daughter was in bed for a nap and the goods were put away, I worked out the lyrics, promoting the benefits of bowling for kids, engaging them in conversation, and then teaching them how to roll a good ball. I brought the lyrics to Amy for some refinements. Then we shared the song with children’s song wizard Dave Kinnoin, who provided helpful critiques before we took the song into the studio.
In the Studio:
I was really impressed with the big, driving sound of Ross’ drums, reminiscent of Mighty Max Weinberg’s (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) more recent work. I also gave our producer Dave Cushing my rhythm guitar tracks done two different ways: with a somewhat clean “Steve Miller” type tone and a more overdriven “Aerosmith” type tone to choose from. The “Steve Miller” tone won out. I also added a honky-tonk piano part over the top – rhythmic, short 8th notes and slides like you’d hear on the classic early rock-n-roll tracks from the 50s. I made a second trip back to the studio to re-record my vocals when I wasn’t satisfied with the original vocal. It’s important to know whether you’ve done your best work that’s right for the song, but to understand the difference between that and trying to be someone else, like a singer with a different voice type or range.
Heading into the band’s first concert, Amy and I felt like we needed a friendly, energetic “hello” song to introduce ourselves to our audience at the show. We already had half a dozen great songs, but none of them struck me as a show opener. We were inspired to create one that was true to what we care about.
We started thinking about ways we could energize the kids and invite them to get moving. Encouraging kids to step away from the video games for a while and make time for active play was on our minds.
I was also thinking about the values we stand for, like not excluding people when you don’t have to, so we have a really important line in the middle of the song: “Everyone’s invited and no one gets left out!”
Here’s the video for this song:
Fun fact: the song encourages 15 kinds of movement in less than 4 minutes!