One of Marin's Favorite Children's Musicians: Tim Cain
November 5, 2008Posted by pamela |
One of the most well known and popular children's performers in Marin—and Northern California—is Tim Cain. Tim and his guitar have entertained and inspired countless numbers of children and parents over the years, and he can be found performing at venues throughout the Bay Area. We asked Tim a few questions about his background, his music, how he got started performing for children, and his new CD with his band Dream Circle, It's a Holiday. (We'll review the CD in a later post.) You can learn more about Tim as well as sample and buy his music on his website, www.timcain.com.
You have a pretty impressive musical background. Please tell us a little more about it and you.
I grew up in San Anselmo and graduated from Drake High School. While I attended Drake I was proud to be the student of penultimate music teacher Perry Smith, who taught me the basics of making good music. During high school (1960–1964) I played saxophone (my primary instrument at the time) with a band from Mill Valley called "The Opposite Six", comprised of 2 saxes, 1 guitar, organ, bass, and drums. We were the back-up band for many of the popular singers who toured through Marin, including The Righteous Brothers, Dick and Dee Dee, The Coasters, The Dovells, and Jan and Dean.
While attending College of Marin, Bill Champlin, Terry Haggerty, and I put together a band called "The Sons of Champlin", which during it's hey-day of 1965–1970 became one of the most famous bands to arise out of the second generation of San Francisco groups. We were managed by West Pole, a subsidiary of Bill Graham enterprises, and on a weekly basis we played in the city on the same bill as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janice Joplin, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Santana, The Charlatans, Steve Miller, Sly and the Family Stone, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, Cold Blood, and many others. The halls we played in were the Fillmore Auditorium, the Avalon Ballroom, the Straight Theater (in the Haight), Carpenter's Hall, Winterland, Carousel Ballroom, and Family Dog at the Beach, as well as a multitude of smaller venues, clubs, and high school proms throughout the Bay Area. It was a real hoot! We signed a recording contract with Capitol Records in 1967, released 2 albums, and toured the nation playing festivals, arenas, and colleges until I dropped out of the scene to raise a family in 1970. The band continued performing until 1976.
How did you get started performing music for children?
When I dropped out, I informally joined the back-to-the-land movement by moving to Trinity County in Northern California as part of a commune, where I lived for 14 years. During that time my young kids were attending a public school where music was not offered as part of the curriculum, so I volunteered a music program for them and their classmates which included classroom singing as well as a band program. I continued to provide music to the classroom when my family and I moved back to Marin in 1985, teaching in three schools every week—at the Montessori program in Lagunitas, a K–8th grade full-on music program at West Marin School in Point Reyes, and at Inverness School—as well as providing after school lessons to 35 kids a week. Simultaneously, I began to record and perform my own music for children in 1992. By 1994 I had released 2 albums for kids and was in such demand as a performer that I gave up the teaching and pursued my entertaining career full time. Since then I have toured nationally, averaging 275 concerts a year for 14 years, and have released a total of 5 CD's and a DVD for kids. For the last 5 years I no longer tour, but just do gigs in the San Francisco Bay Area, my route being between Santa Rosa and San Jose and Marin to Sacramento.
How would you describe your music?
I write and sing songs about love, family, nature, fun... I make every effort to have the music be appealing to the parents as well as the children, so no one needs to endure music that they don't like. I guess that's where my experience playing with bands comes in handy.
What musicians and musical genres have inspired you?
I am a big fan of Raffi, James Taylor, and Greg Brown.
Where can families go to hear you in Marin and the Bay Area?
People can go to my website—timcain.com—to check my performance schedule. While there, folks can not only find out where I will be appearing, but can also listen to samples of all of my songs. All of my albums are available to purchase there, either as a physical object or as a download; songs may also be purchased individually as downloads, just like on iTunes.
What’s your favorite thing about performing for children?
Watching them dance and have fun, and seeing them relax over the course of the event.
You have a new holiday CD out now. Can you tell us a little more about your collaborators and the CD?
Just last week my band for kids "Dream Circle" released our first CD, It's a Holiday. The group consists of four well-known local childrens' performers: Miss Kitty, Christopher Smith, Cindy Cohen, and me, as well as 3 other fine musicians: Peter Penhallow on piano, Dick Mithun on bass, and Paul Johnson on drums. We wanted to make an album that was a harmonious blend of all of the holidays celebrated at the end of the year, while being cross-cultural as well. There are twelve songs on the CD: It's a Holiday, Draydl, Rudolph, Reindeer Pokey, Gong Hey Fot Choy, Must be Santa, Kwanzaa Song, Hanukah, Make-a-Wish Island, Comin' Down the Chimney, Jingle Bells, and Feliz Navidad. This is the entire show that we do each year at the Showcase Theater in the Marin Civic Center. We will offer these albums for purchase at our upcoming event "Lolly-Pop-a-Loosa" on November 22, 2 shows at 10 am and noon, at the Presbyterian Church in Tiburon, across Tiburon Boulevard from the Cove Shopping Center.
Oh, and incidentally, while I am here, I wish to humbly express my gratitude to the parents and children of Marin for making my life one that is full of love, dancing, and song! I couldn't enjoy it more.