Archives

Posts Tagged ‘joan jett’

Sugar, Spice and Rockin’ Good Times: The Beatrix Girls Are More Than Meets the Eye

BeatrixGirls_SS14edt_008

When I was growing up, the message I heard over and over again (and hear all too often, even now) was, “Girls can’t rock!” It was all too clear. It was OK for boys to be bass players, drummers, lead guitarists and frontmen, but my aspirations to become the next Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, or Freddie Mercury were frowned upon. After all, you can’t play rock and roll and still be a lady, right? Wrong… so very wrong. Ultimately, it didn’t stop me from joining a band when I was in college (playing with both male and female musicians), but I wonder how much sooner I might have pursued my dreams had I been encouraged, rather than completely disregarded.

What They Are…

Media executive and cartoon veteran Sherry Gunther Shugerman (SimpsonsFamily Guy) must have wondered the same thing when she came up with The Beatrix Girls.  The Beatrix Girls are 12 inch fashion dolls, with brightly colored hair and cool outfits. These adorable dolls are definitely made to appeal to young children, and while still feminine, they’re not too adult (suitable for ages 5 and up).

Why They’re Cool…

What sets this line apart is the fact that it is driven by original music (featuring the writing talents of some of today’s top pop stars), which kids can collect. Each doll is a member of a rock band. The Beatrix Girls band members are Brayden (Guitar), Ainsley (Drums), Lark (Bass) and Chantal (Keys). Each Beatrix Girl has a unique personality and look, as befitting a budding rock star. The Beatrix Girls even have their own fan club and webisodes.

BeatrixGirls_SS14edt_012

The idea behind The Beatrix Girls line is to empower young girls to be so much more than just pretty faces. Though fashion-conscious, The Beatrix Girls were created to encourage girls to discover the joy of music and to inspire them to create their own as well. Through friendship, collaboration, hard work and determination, The Beatrix Girls gig, work and play together. Pretty ideal if you ask me.

As if that weren’t enough, the line has partnered with Peavey Electronics to create a customized Peavey-branded guitar geared toward smaller frames (reminiscent of the Daisy Rock line of guitars).

BeatrixGirls_SS14edt_014

 

The Beatrix Girls collection initially hit stores in the Fall of 2013. This Fall 2014, we’ll be seeing The Beatrix Girls London Collection, inspired by the British subculture Mod Movement of the 1960s.

BeatrixGirls_NYTF14edt_004

Andy Says…

I love this concept and hope to see more variety as the line continues to grow. I can only imagine, since the girls have their own webisodes, soon they’ll be starring in their own cartoon. If you liked Jem and The Holograms, or Josie and The Pussycats, why not The Adventures of the Beatrix Girls?

I truly enjoyed getting a closer look at these beauties, and others, at my first Blogger Bash, SweetSuite 2014 Toy Event in NYC last week. Thanks to The Big Toy Book and SkeletonPete for inviting me to the event. Hopefully, it won’t be my last.

The Beatrix Girls are available at Toys R Us and Amazon.com and their songs can be found on Pandora, iTunes and Spotify.

Byrd is the Word: Rock N Roll Lifer Releases First Solo Album

Ricky Byrd's debut solo album Lifer on Kayos Records

Ricky Byrd’s debut solo album Lifer on Kayos Records


Ricky Byrd
Lifer
Kayos Records
On his first solo album Lifer guitarist/songwriter Ricky Byrd wears his musical heart on his sleeve. An unabashed student of rock and roll Byrd mines 60’s AM and 70’s FM radio gems for his outcomes and offers up a personal take on his favorite facets. That’s a good thing when you have his impeccable taste and the chops to back it up.

Put Another Dime in the Jukebox…
As a member of Joan Jett’s Blackhearts Ricky got to live the rock and roll lifestyle touring the world in support of the 1980’s mega-hit “I Love Rock and Roll.” In the ensuing years he’s played behind many of his favorite artists including Roger Daltrey and Ian Hunter. I remember seeing him on stage at The Bottom Line covering The Yardbirds during a 60’s tribute show. The Hit Squad is his high-end cover band in cahoots with other top NYC session players like vocalist Christine Ohlman and drummer Liberty DeVito.

What It Is…
Lifer opens with the sound of foot falls on stair-steps and a guitar cable engaging an amplifier input. It sets the stage for “Rock N Roll Boys” a rollicking reminiscence of Max’s Kansas City. Dressed in the sonic glitter of Mott the Hoople the tune spins out Byrd’s teenage autobiography, crowned with the chorus “the girls all wanted rock n roll boys,” a truism that enticed so many of us to strap on a guitar and learn-those-chords.

If you’re a rock n roll “lifer” as well, part of the album’s charm will be catching where Ricky slyly slips in a familiar aside (“I’ve been wanting to do this for years”) or guitar lick. I hear Don Covay via The Rolling Stones on “Wide Open” and the white-boy garage R&B of The Young Rascals through J. Geils Band on “Things To Learn.”

There’s a Stax style horn arrangement on “Ways of A Woman” and it might be Bowie mimicking The Yardbirds mimicking Muddy Waters on “Let’s Get Gone.” Along the way both “Small” and “Ooh La La” era Faces are referenced, while the subtle and touching 9/11 rumination “Turnstile ’01” is the kind of tune you wish Bruce Springsteen would write again.

It’s His Life…
To his credit Byrd puts his own stamp on this mountain of musical homage with a solid set of personal lyrics and unaffected vocal style. This unpretentious crop of tunes makes for a really enjoyable listen that is bound for repeat on your playlist. Though stylistically diverse Lifer makes sense the same way AM radio made sense in the 1960’s. That is, you can play any kind music right next to any other kind music as long as it was created with honesty and heart. Check out any Billboard Top 40 chart from 1965-67 to see what I mean.

SkeletonPete Says…
Whether those opening footsteps are taking you upstairs to Max’s Kansas City 40 years ago or downstairs to The Bowery Electric 40 minutes ago the message is the same; the mighty long way to rock and roll is never ending. Guided by loving aficionados like Ricky Byrd it’s a sweet journey.