Two years ago we launched Full Van Fun with #8isEnoughQuestions and Recess Monkey:
“David Letterman had Bill Murray, Jimmy Fallon had Will Smith, and Full Van Fun has Recess Monkey.”
Jack Forman, Recess Monkey bassist, Beatles/Star Wars aficionado, and host of Sirius XM KidsPlaceLive’s Live from the Monkey House, recently released his first solo album “Songs from the Monkey House” with Amazon! To celebrate the melodic fantastic fun of his debut, we were excited to welcome him back for another 8 is Enough Questions interview.
For this #8isEnoughQuestions interview, each question was written and asked by one of our Full Van Fun family members and answered directly by Jack Forman. Enjoy!
What gave you the idea for the Monkey House?
It was mostly the several hundred monkeys that were already living in the house when we bought it five years ago. Talk about a surprise! The realtor handed over the keys, I opened the front door, and there was sheer madness inside!
But seriously, my house, like probably all of my listeners on Kids Place Live and Recess Monkey fans, is just this non-stop high energy science experiment. Kids all over the place, testing the limits of every surface, and just generally converting the house to an extra-large indoor jungle gym. The Monkey House seemed like a pretty apt description of that, and I’m lucky to get to invite radio listeners into the house every afternoon!
Why did you decide to make an album by yourself?
Recess Monkey was nominated for a Grammy for our 13th album, Novelties, and even before the nomination we decided that we wanted to take a breath after such a relentless release cycle- 13 albums in 12 years. We even carved out some time to take a break from live shows and just reengage with the other parts of our lives more fully for a while – my family and I traveled a bunch, I took a decent number of midday naps and read a lot of books. As all of this was going on, songs just started to rise to the surface for me, and what began as a purely recreational songwriting process in my home studio led to a full album’s worth of songs. Drew and Korum were totally supportive along the way, as were the awesome folks at Amazon Music who bought into the idea of a solo album the moment I pitched it to them. I’m a lucky guy to have so many people I can lean on for support!
When are you going to write a Star Wars love song?
Oh man, that’s a great question! Knowing my penchant for The Empire Strikes Back (my song “Yodeling Yoda” on this album is the sequel to “Oh Lando” on Recess Monkey’s album Hot Air), it would have to be about Han and Leia’s on-again-off-again relationship in that movie. The bridge would have to be something about Leia saying, “I love you!” and Han replying, “I know.” We’re talking about our next album right now, so your timing is perfect! No promises here, but look for that on Recess Monkey #14!
When checking the doneness of your pasta, do you a) break it open to see if it is cooked all of the way through, b) toss it onto the wall to see if it sticks, or c) trust the instructions on the box and cover it with cheese?
Well now I feel like I’ve wasted my life for not employing method b! Is that really a thing? Okay, I just googled that and yes, it’s totally a thing. I’m so depressed. How have I gone this far without ever doing that!? Up until this very moment, I’ve just eaten a piece, burning my mouth every. single. time. to see if it was done. From now on, I’m definitely going to be flinging. Never trust the directions!
What is it like to be a radio host and a Kindie artist?
I first met Mindy and Kenny at Kids Place Live when my band Recess Monkey toured through the DC studios in the summer of 2008. They’d been playing our now-ancient song “Dr. Wiggle” and we just wanted to see what satellite radio was all about. I immediately knew that I’d met some kindred spirits at KPL- though SiriusXM is a big company, the channel is very much a scrappy grass-roots kind of place. Our band came up very similarly: we’ve always been totally independent, unafraid to try new things, and always eager to push ourselves into unfamiliar new territories; and of course the fact that we’re all united around childhood is so centrally important. So in many ways, being a radio host is nearly indistinguishable from being a kindie musician!
A really fun side-effect of being a radio host is I hear a TON of what my fellow kindie friends are making, and there’s so many great songs and albums being made for family audiences right now. I often reach out to folks that I’ve heard on the channel and get to know them more as a fan than anything else. I’m lucky to get to wear both hats!
Have you actually seen a Sweaty Yeti?
No, I haven’t. But I’m pretty sure I saw an actual Sasquatch at a Carl’s Junior over the summer. Or just a really hairy guy in a tank top, I’m just not sure either way.
You played every instrument on “Songs from the Monkey House”, which one was the most challenging to learn?
Man, I just can’t get the hang of the recorder! I played several recorder lines on the song “Not a Cloud,” and I swear that just isn’t getting any easier. How did I ever get through it in the 4th grade!? Big props to all of the elementary kids out there who are toughing it out on recorder right now. Big props!
What color cheese do you like?
Well, since I have a song on Songs From the Monkey House called “Blue Cheese,” I think I’m contractually obligated to say BLUE. But, just between us, I’m a white cheddar man through-and-through.
Thank you Jack for a monkeynificent #8isEnoughQuestions interview! If you have missed any of our other #8isEnoughQuestions interviews with authors like Daniel Pinkwater and artists like Lisa Loeb, Andrew & Polly, Caspar Babypants, Justin Roberts, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Emily Arrow, Mista Cookie Jar, The Not Its, Mike Phirman, Danny Weinkauf of They Might Be Giants, Turkey Andersen, Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis, Bryan Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe, Play Date, Recess Monkey, Greg Page (Original Yellow Wiggle), Rissi Palmer, Jim Cosgrove, and Tim Kubart, be sure to check them out! What if you like interviews with celebrity chefs like Fabio Viviani, recipes, or travel stories about amazing destinations? You can find all of this and more at fullvanfun.com!
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Photo Credits: Kevin Fry, Tillamook Cheese, Full Van Fun