A couple of Christmases ago, I gave my 9-year-old son, Owen, a book about rock n' roll. Owen loves music just as much as I do, so I was excited to share my lifetime love of music with him. I envisioned many happy hours spent together reading about Jimi Hendrix and the Ramones.
Unfortunately, this book fell short of our expectations. (I won't mention the name: I'm not here to throw shade--I'm just explaining the genesis of my own book.) It was supposed to be about notable musicians, but some of the featured artists were, um, not quite deserving of that title. For example, I have no beef with Chief Keef, but he probably has a few more years to go before reaching legendary status.
Owen was sad. He’d looked forward to this Christmas present. “You know what?” I said. "I’ll write a music book for you.”
And so I did.
Introducing For Those About to Rock: A Kid's Guide to 50 Legendary Musical Artists.
The book tells the inspiring stories of 50 celebrated popular musicians, including Muddy Waters, Run DMC, The Doors, Bjork, Black Flag, Blondie, and Jimi Hendrix, to name just a few. You can see the full list of featured artists below.
Each artist's page includes bite-size fact files and top song titles.
In addition, each page has a Music 101 section, which focuses on a musical concept that relates to that particular musician. For example, on Blondie’s page, we talk about liner notes; and on Bjork's page, we discuss musicians who incorporate performance art into their work. You can check it out below.
The book will also feature portraits of each musician, created especially for this project by talented artists from all over the world.
I say "will" because this is where you come in.
I want to expand this book's audience to all kids ages 8-15 who love rock n' roll and want to know more about it, and to parents and caregivers who want to bond with their kids through a mutual love of music. To do that, I need your help.
Your pledge will help me:
- pay artists to create the remaining 48 musician portraits
- edit the book
- print the book
- pay for shipping costs
- create the super-cool rewards that will come with the book
You'll help me make this book come to life.
So, come on: get pledging, and get ready to rock out with your kids.
P.S.: I think Owen likes the book. What do you think?
DESIGN: Joey Spector
ILLUSTRATIONS: Rikke Rosbaek and Joey Spector
MUSIC: Antonio Travis
For Those About to Rock: A Kid's Guide to 50 Legendary Musical Acts will be a 7x10 softcover book, filled with the stories of 50 epic artists. In its pages, you'll find out all kinds of fascinating musical facts, including why Pink Floyd wrote "Comfortably Numb;" what snack Madonna survived on during her early years as a dancer in New York City; and which performer once showed up on stage in a giant, padded Donald Duck costume. The book will also feature 50 original illustrations of rock legends, created just for this project, by talented artists from around the world.
Take For Those About to Rock with you wherever you go, and read it on the go!
KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE! FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK STICKER PACK
Get a pack of stickers featuring original artwork from the book! These stickers are only available to Kickstarter backers!
KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE! YOUR OWN CUSTOM BOOK PAGE
LIMITED-EDITION REWARD! Did I leave your favorite musician out of the book? Not to worry: I'll write you a custom book page featuring the musician of your choice! There is a limited number of these rewards on offer, so grab 'em while you can.
LESSON PLAN: PROTEST MUSIC
You will receive a lesson plan designed to teach kids aged 8-15 how rock n’ roll has been an essential part of protest movements over the last decades. This was the lesson plan for a course I taught at a charter school in Los Angeles in fall 2018. It includes YouTube and Spotify playlists, and uses music appreciation to help kids understand human rights movements.
MUSIC APPRECIATION WORKSHOP
I love getting kids to connect with music, and I have extensive experience teaching music appreciation to elementary school children, using rock n' roll as an educational tool to illuminate history and culture. I will come to your school, workplace, library, or other rock-friendly institution, and teach a 90-minute music appreciation workshop.*
*Travel costs are not included. FYI when choosing this reward: I'm based in Los Angeles, California.
$10,000: HARDCOVER UPGRADE
We did it - we reached $10,000! All copies of the physical book will now come with a beautiful hard cover.
NEW!! $15,000: NEW MUSICIANS GO IN THE BOOK - AND YOU DECIDE WHICH ONES!
This is a new stretch goal, suggested by one of my amazing backers. If we reach $15,000, all the backers--that means YOU--will get to suggest musicians that they'd like to see in the book, but who aren't already in there. Once we have a list, all the backers will get to vote for which musicians will make it into the book, and the top two will be included in the book, complete with illustrations!
$25,000: FREE POSTER
If we reach $25,000, all copies of the physical book will come with a free 24x36 poster featuring the amazing illustrations in the book. See below for a mockup of what the poster might look like: it will differ from this mockup because your pledges will help pay our illustrators to create new artwork!
$40,000: PARENT PAMPHLET
So you love rock, and so does your kid. But how do you know which artists are appropriate for family-friendly listening? And what about artists like Prince? Some of his songs are totally kid-appropriate, and some are, well... Darling Nikki. How do you navigate the wild and woolly world of rock in a kid-safe way?
If we reach $40,000, all copies of the book will come with a Parent Pamphlet designed to help you introduce your kid to artists that are right for their age group. Each artist in the book will also have a page in the Parent Pamphlet. This page will contain a “What’s in the Music” section, which is a rating system designed to inform parents about the type of content in each artist’s music. Categories include sexuality, violence, drug/alcohol references, positive messages, and consumerism. Each artist also gets an MPAA rating, just like movies do: for example, Buddy Holly’s sweetly innocent tunes get a G rating, whereas the out-there tunes of the Stooges get an R.
$50,000: SUPER TOP SECRET STRETCH GOAL
If we reach $50,000, all copies of the book will come with a... well, you'll just have to pledge and see. : )
I need your help to pay illustrators to create the rest of the artwork, edit the book, print the first 200 copies, and pay for shipping costs.
The book and rewards will ship out to backers in July 2020.
Risks and challenges
I've done a ton of research to ensure that printing and shipping of the book goes smoothly, but it's possible that printing or shipping issues could arise and the book could be delayed. In such an event, I'll notify all backers and give them updates on the reasons for the delays.
I'll also notify backers of any other delays, snafus, situations that have have become FUBAR, or things that are just plain fugazi.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)