Even as hipsters age and have kids, there are a few key things they’re unwilling to let go of, the foremost being good music. If they fill their iPods with the right stuff, these particular parents can steer their brood into the capable hands of local “kindiependent” rock bands like The Not-Its!, whose infectious blend of intelligent pop rock gets kids—and their parents—in the mood to groove.
Tom Baisden is an example of such a parent. This tattooed, skateboarding, heavy-metal-loving Ballard father of two is a founding member and guitarist of The Not-Its, whose fourth album, KidQuake!, was released in February. Singing catchy songs about everyday life with children, Baisden and his bandmates put a clever spin on temper tantrums, cooperation and our crazy-busy lives bursting with soccer games, piano lessons and homework.
In addition to being a rock ’n’ roller, Baisden runs the show in Adams Elementary School’s third-, fourth- and fifth-grade special education classrooms. Together with his trusty sidekick, the adorably scruffy terrier Johnny Cashew, who accompanies him to class each day, this recipient of the 2010 Outstanding Educator Award from the Seattle Special Education PTSA knows just the right chords to strike with his students to get them interested in learning. Not only do his lesson plans include work with his miniature zoo of three snakes, three tarantulas and a swarm of (carefully contained) hissing cockroaches, his popular merit-based skateboard club is a place where every kid is a cool kid.