By John B. Moore
you’ve been fronting one of New
Jersey’s most influential punk bands since the late
80’s and helped start one of the most successful indie labels in the northeast,
you’ve earned the right to try anything you want to do musically. And if that
next creative yearning just happens to be partnering with your wife to put out
a full length of un-ironic kids’ songs, with titles like “Dance Like a
Monster,” so be it.
Souls front man Greg Attonito and his wife Shanti Wintergate, christened
themselves Play Date earlier this year and went to work on the nearly dozen
tunes that would make it on their debut for Imagination,
including songs like “Anyone Can Sing” and “Rad”.
spoke with us recently about the band, how it came about and the difference
between audiences at a punk show and snagging that coveted fourth grade
I know that the two of you had previously
put out the children’s book. Was it about that time that you knew you wanted to
put out a record aimed at kids?
was actually before we put out the children’s book that the idea was born. We
played a few songs in our nephew’s second grade class and had a great time. The
kids were so much fun.
Did you have any influences from this
really didn’t know any contemporary kids music artist until we put out the book
and got on the kids radar. I would have to say the Muppets and Schoolhouse rock
were huge influences on me musically. It’s hard to say how much impact they had
on me. Probably more than I realize.
You guys don’t have kids yourself, right?
Who did you test the songs out on?
We have lots of friends with kids and are Uncle and Aunt
to a handful. Our good friends Melissa and Lou Koller have a little girl named
Aurelia (Lou is the singer in the band Sick Of It All). She was one of our
first real kid testers. She knows the words to a lot of the songs and sings
herself to sleep with the last song on the
What was the reaction from your friends and
the guys in the Bouncing Souls when you said you were going to do this?
The reaction from friends and
family was total excitement. Lots of friends actually begged us to save
them from “Kids Music Hell” (laughs)! So we knew we had to focus on
making music parents would enjoy as well. The Bouncing Souls family have been
so supportive and enthusiastic about this venture. Pete Steinkopf
(Bouncing Souls guitarist) actually engineered and helped us produce the record
and Michael McDermott (Bouncing Souls drummer) played drums on the album. We had
a blast in the creation of the record. It sounds great and all the positive
energy from friends, family and The Bouncing Souls made it that much better!
Now that it’s out, have you played shows
for kids yet? As a parent, I can tell you that punk shows are likely a lot more
We did play shows for kids when we did the book tour but
we did our first show as Play Date a few months ago in Montreal.
It was great! It’s going to be a learning process as far as writing the set
list and keeping the kids attention throughout. We will let you know how the
tour this fall goes. I’m sure we are going to learn a lot.
creative process is similar with all kinds of art I think. You have to allow
the good stuff to happen or “flow through you” as some people say and
forcing it never seems to work. We are always making up little songs as we go
about our day so sometimes we spin them into kids’ songs. The one big
difference with kids’ songs is the songs aren’t really about us as individuals.
This makes the whole process more light hearted I think.
Any plans for another album of songs like
We really had a great time writing them and recording them so we do want to do
What’s next for the two of you?
We have a record release show coming up in New Jersey and we will be touring from Idaho
to San Diego paying some schools and family
friendly shows at the end of October into Nov.