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Kids Just Wanna Have Fun

Pop-punk has always been for the kids, but for the kids? As in toddlers? Well, that’s an entirely different story. However, The First Rock Band on Mars is aiming to make music that rocks the little ‘uns. 

The group includes Kellin Quinn (Sleeping With Sirens), Ryan Key (Yellowcard), Howi Spangler (Maryland Beach Rock), and musician and author James DiNanno, most of whom, you guessed it, have young kids. And what better way to introduce their offspring to the music their folks play than by performing it in a way that resonates for kids.

Makes sense, right?

Since they’ve taken the path of making kids’ music — releasing a self-titled EP on June 11 — we asked the members of The First Rock Band on Mars to pick their favorite children’s songs and albums. Fellow parents, maybe you’ll get some tips to help calm, soothe and get your kids to enjoy music in a way that isn’t as played out as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or “Baby Shark.” As you can see, their answers vary based on what their definition of “kid’s music” is.

Kellin Quinn


Kids Just Wanna Have Fun


  • My favorite children’s song is “Stompy the Bear” by Caspar Babypants. Fun fact, this artist is also the singer for Presidents of the United States (aka “Millions of Peaches”). I bought a compilation at Starbucks and my daughter loved this one I miss her little voice singing it!
  • My favorite children’s book was The Mouse and the Motorcycle. I remember my mom reading me this book. I got a pet rat, named it Ralph, and would ride with him in a tiny breathable backpack on my bike. He could look out the back. I’m pretty sure he liked it… I know I sure did.

Howi Spangler


Kids Just Wanna Have Fun


  • I was never really into kid’s music. As far back as I can remember I was listening to Motley Crue and Ratt. That’s the whole reason I got into music, and eventually, how I became part of this project. 
  • My favorite kid’s book was Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Just thinking of the man in the house at night looking for his big toe or the girl standing on the grave gives me those chills. Good visuals in those books. I always loved spooky stuff as a kid. 

James DiNanno


Kids Just Wanna Have Fun


  • As a kid, children’s music never got my attention. Before I was even a year old, I would go over to my parents’ record player and make an “mmm mmm” sound, which meant I wanted to hear music in baby talk. My parents always played me Van Morrison because I responded so strongly to it.  
  • I play a huge variety of stuff for my 1-year-old son Caden. I really enjoy this group “The Terrible Twos” when it comes to kids’ music. But my son has always responded the strongest to punk rock — ever since he was born. He loves Blink-182, ADTR, Squeeze…anything that rocks! That is what inspired this EP.
  • My favorite children’s book was Falling Up, by Shel Silverstein. I loved all of his books and it introduced me to rhyme. I definitely thought of his style a bit when I was creating my book, The First Rock Star On Mars.