Facebook: System of a Down Some turmoil is brewing in the camp of System of a…
- Posted on Apr 9th 2010 11:00AM by Nicholas White
"We had Chad [Smith] from the Chili Peppers lay down the beat," Van Dyke tells Spinner of his new music project with Smith, the kids'album 'Rhythm Train,' now available online. "Once he starts going, you got it. He kind of drives you."
Don't hold your breath, though, for Van Dyke laying down some funk with the Chili Peppers. The 84-year-old actor, who raps about music-making on the song called 'DVD,' says he doesn't know much rapping he has left in him.
"At my age, my generation, we are not particularly rap-crazy," Van Dyke says. "Rap has a great beat, but I swear to God, I have never been able to understand one word. I don't know what they're saying."
Adds Smith, "I am certainly no rapper but I helped guide Dick with it the first day. It was pretty funny. He can come away with it, because it's supposed to be silly -- that's not his normal thing. He comes from a different world, but he was up for it, man."
The 13-track family-friendly 'Rhythm Train,' which Smith produced with L.A. kids' singer Leslie Bixler, features rock, folk, bluegrass, sing-alongs, characters and Van Dyke rapping under the moniker DVD. Smith, who is between projects with the Chili Peppers and Chickenfoot, plays vocal characters like a pirate and train conductor, in addition to his drumming.
"I may not be playing as hard but I still am trying to be creative," Smith says, of playing drums on 'Rhythm Train,' compared to the Chili Peppers and Chickenfoot. "It's just trying to make the songs as good as I can. That doesn't change."
'Rhythm Train' is about a train that travels around the world. With a colorful album cover and smiley message, 'Rhythm Train' is 'SpongeBob SquarePants' meets 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?' Song names include 'Roly Poly in My Guacamole,' 'Cherry Pants' and 'Lotta Dinosaur.'
Bixler, who wrote 'Rhythm Train,' won a Parent's Choice Award in 2005 for her last CD 'Moon Food.' At the LP release party March 6 at Smith's Malibu house, Julia Roberts and husband Danny Moder attended with their kids, as did Anthony Kiedis, Jakob Dylan and 'Scrubs' star John C. McGinley.
Smith's 4-year-old son Cole has long been a fan of trains and was the inspiration for the song 'Cole's Train.' "He was just obsessed when he was a little bit younger with the whole Thomas the Train thing," Smith tells Spinner. "Obviously, music is all around our house. We have instruments, I play a little guitar, a little piano; we have a drum set here and there. It's fortunate they are exposed to it that way. They look at your hands when you're changing chords and strumming, and they want to play the strings. I just think it touches them on a level that we as parents can't really realize."
For 'Rhythm Train,' Bixler recruited Smith, who she knows through teaching music at Smith's kids' preschool. Van Dyke appeared on 'Moon Food' and is longtime friends with Bixler.
"There are millions of kids songs out there, and most of them are very derivative, reminds you of something else you have heard," says Van Dyke, who starred in 'Mary Poppins' and 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,' and still teaches music. "But [Bixler] understands kids and knows how to write for them."