Like many kids born in the early ‘80s, Jumpin’ Jamie grew up listening to REM, the Beatles, Weezer, and Green Day. He was 11 when Green Day’s “Dookie” album came out and the punk rock trio played an infamous, mud-slinging set at Woodstock 1994.
“When I saw the chaos that ensued,” he says, “I was like, ‘Wow, this is rock ‘n’ roll and I want to be a part of it.’”
Jamie, who performs this Saturday at WTMD’s Saturday Morning Tunes concert for kids and adults in Towson, never lost his love for the rock and punk scene of the mid-1990s.
This past summer, he released his debut album “Kookie,” which channels the sounds of bands like Green Day and Weezer, but with lyrics kids can appreciate. His song “Herbivore” is about elephants, dinosaurs, and other wild creatures who like to eat plants.
About six years ago, Jamie saw an ad for someone who “loved to play music and loved dinosaurs” to be the Dinosaur Troubador at New Jersey’s outdoor theme park Field Station: Dinosaurs. He played “Herbivore” at his audition, and landed the job.
“I pretty much blew them away,” he says with a laugh. “They wanted to hire me right away.”
Jamie’s first gig as the new Dinosaur Troubadour was in front of some 12,000 kids at Citi Field in Queens before a Mets game. He won over the crowd, and was invited back to perform once a year for the next five years. That led to a career as a kids’ music performer.
The best kindie musicians strike a tone that can be endearing, enthusiastic or challenging, but never patronizing. Listening to “Kookie,” you can tell Jamie loves this style of rock, and knows his audience. While he might be 35, his tween years still greatly influence his music today. Like the videotape of Jamie and his friends dressing up in and lip-synching along with Green Day’s “Basket Case” while Jamie strums a rubber chicken as his guitar. Or the time when Weezer released their hugely influential “blue album,” and Jamie sold enough candy through his school fundraiser to earn a gift certificate to Caldor, a local department store. He used it to buy a cassette tape of the album — and then wore it out.
“I listened to it over and over again,” he says. “All these years later, I want to pay homage to a lot of those bands I grew up listening to.”
At his shows, Jamie wants the adults to enjoy his music just as much as the kids. The first song on “Kookie” is titled “Back to the Future,” and is basically a synopsis of the film. When he plays it live, Jamie asks the kids in the crowd who has seen “Back to the Future.” Few — if any of the kids — raise their hands. But the dads get into it, he says.
“I love being able to share things from my childhood with kids of today, and see if they enjoy it just as much,” he says. “In most cases, they seem to.”
Tickets for Jumpin’ Jamie at WTMD’s Saturday Morning Tunes on November 17 are available now. The openers, D.C.’s Marsha and the Positrons, go on at 9:30 AM and Jamie will be on from 10 AM – 11 AM.
Don’t miss the next concert in WTMD’s Saturday Morning Tunes series! The Mini Holiday Spectacular is Saturday Dec. 15. Concerts are held in WTMD’s kid-friendly space, at 1 Olympic Place in Towson. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the music runs from 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. Each performance has an opening act as well as a headliner. Snacks (organic fig bars and fruit strips) as well as drinks (Horizon milk and Honest juice) are included for all kids. The series is sponsored by Live Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum, Garrison Forest School, Eddie’s of Roland Park, Race Pace Bicycles, THB Bagelry and Deli, Maryland Department of Agriculture: Maryland’s Best Program, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, LokalPhoto and (cool) progeny. Kids under 2 are free!