The Shazzbots Announce the Release of Their Third Album, LIGHTSPEED!
With a lift-off from Columbus, Ohio, The Shazzbots, a triple Emmy Award-winning kindie band, powered by their intergalactic rock 'n roll persona and carrying a payload of irresistible, surefire, supersonic hits, proudly announce the March 1, 2019 launch of their much-anticipated third album, LIGHTSPEED!
Twice voted "Best Band in Columbus" by readers of Columbus Monthly, the interstellar crew members of The Shazzbots include Ian Hummel ("Captain Captain"), Dianne Hummel ("Luna Stardust"), Steve Frye ("Watts Watson"), Mike Heslop ("Navigator Scopes"), and Josh Tully (Professor Swiss Vanderburton"). Traveling the multiverse to play rocking tunes for the entire family, they vow, with every mission, to perform songs that push the boundary between kids' music and adult music, not just to entertain children, but also to inspire their creativity, curiosity, and sense of wonder.
LIGHTSPEED! blasts off with the rocking-to-the-max "On The Playground," spiced with some fine honky-tonk piano from guest keyboardist Kevin Sweeney. Country music is Shazzbots founder Ian Hummel's songwriting sweet spot, and "If You Knew Yuri Like I Know Yuri," a rollicking country number, is performed at warp speed with vocal patter and lyrics reminiscent of the great Roger Miller. "Chuggin'" unloads a full boxcar of railroad onomatopoeia with drummer Steve Frye's joyful "train beat à la Johnny Cash" dressed up with some splendid blues harp interjections from guest artist Jeff Tobin.
The humorous novelty track, "Something's Stuck In My Kazoo," could rightly be considered a grandchild of country entertainers like The Hoosier Hot-Shots or Homer and Jethro. "Snow Day!" is a fine wintertime stomp that's as bright and cheerful as beams of sunshine glistening on the snow. Notes Shazzbots founder Ian Hummel, "We were going for a Beach Boys vibe with this one. We like the idea of juxtaposing the feel of the ultimate summer band in a winter scene!"
Ian Hummel has played in bands continuously since he was a teen, but it was only in 2008, when his friends began exiting the bar scene and opting for family life, that he started to develop the project that would become The Shazzbots. Ian took a look at the children's entertainment that was available at the time and didn't find anything he felt would strike chords in kids in the same way that the entertainment of his youth had impacted him. Jim Henson, Fred Rogers, Pee Wee Herman, Schoolhouse Rock, and The Electric Company all treated children with respect, inspired them to create, explored complex emotions and feelings, and brought meaningful music, art, and fun into their lives. These were Ian's goals in his original conception of The Shazzbots, and they have since become his life's calling.
Mike Heslop, Josh Tully, and Steve Frye have been with Ian Hummel for the entire ten years of the band's existence. Three different ladies have taken their places in The Shazzbots lineup, starting with "Debora Nebula" and "Aurora Borealis," who each left the band to start families of their own. The Shazzbots, firm in their belief that it is important to have a female presence in the band, invited Ian's talented wife Dianne Hummel, to get on board as "Luna Stardust," who deftly handles auxiliary percussion and backing vocals.
Notes Ian Hummel, "We've seen the positive response from young girls who look up to and are inspired by seeing a woman performing as a working musician. This is our way of contributing to a gender inclusive world, and Dianne (a.k.a. Luna) has been doing a fabulous job on The Shazzbots team. Girls in our fanbase admire her to the point of dressing up like her for Halloween! That's the kind of thing that really warms our hearts and shows us that we are on the right track. The band and the characters in it are entities that children connect with and love, and, for us, that's really what it's all about."
Previous releases by The Shazzbots include the band's triple Emmy Award-winning TV pilot, We're The Shazzbots: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs (2016) and the albums Blast Off! (2012) and Shazzbots GO(2008).
LIGHTSPEED! will be available at iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers, as well as at select specialty stores in the Columbus, Ohio area and www.theshazzbots.com.