In 2004, local queer dance band Frootie Flavors was approached by a friend with an unusual request: their three-year-old child wanted the group to do a live set at her birthday party.
Actually, a lot of their friends’ kids were big fans of Frootie Flavors’ highly infectious music. But most of the band members’ friends stopped playing the band’s music in front of their kids once they were old enough to understand the lyrics. Songs like “Pussy Chugger” and “Quiffe” are not exactly kid-friendly, after all.
Frootie Flavors played the show of course, but they changed all the lyrics to be age appropriate. “It’s Yer Butt,” became “It’s My Bike.” The song “Butt Pirates” became a fun song about playing pirates with your friends in the backyard.
“The kids had a blast and danced their little butts off. It was a great show,” says drummer and vocalist Vnes Ely. The rest of the band includes Stu “Dirt” Doogan on guitar and vocals and Valerie Atha Andromacha on bass and vocals. “The parents cracked up when they heard the different lyrics. Their laughter made us laugh really hard.”
This show got them thinking that they should really put a kid’s album out someday. It was a conversation that came up every once in a while but never came to fruition. But now the long-awaited kid’s album is finished and they plan to release it this summer. Called simply The Kids Album, it is going to be just like that concert—pre-existing Frootie Flavors songs, but with brand new lyrics. Fun for the whole family!
But for fans looking for some brand-new and not-so-kid-friendly Frootie Flavors tunes, they’ll also be releasing their official sophomore album Poon Tunes on April 17. It’ll have a lot of the new music the group has written since their 2012 debut album, We Love To Party With Everybody.
“We’re finally getting all of these documented and gifting them to our community who wants to hear these things,” Ely says. “So it’s fun.”
The record is fun, which has been the Frootie Flavors’ modus operandi since they formed back in 1995. One new song pays homage to local burlesque performer Balla Fire, and another celebrates Santa Cruz’ plethora of punk rock parents. There are also a few serious tunes, like album opener “They/Them,” which the group hopes will educate people on gender-neutral pronouns—and more importantly, how to deal with a situation where they accidentally misgender someone they meet.
But plenty of the songs are naughty. For example, “Quiffe,” which is not only about quiffes, even has a live quiffe track in the mix. As shocking as some of their songs can seem, the silliness of the music makes it inclusive, even for people in the straight world not used to such open discussions about queer topics.
“We’ve definitely played some places where it’s a very straight audience. People were not knowing anything about us, and they hear our wacky-ass lyrics, and they laugh. They have a good time. By the end of the night, they’re having the best time, and they feel like part of the big queer family,” Ely says. “The queer family is not just about homosexuality, or trans or anything. It’s about diversity. True diversity, which means all of us.”
The group originally planned to do a big queer dance party release show at the Poet and the Patriot on April 17, but due to the coronavirus-quarantine orders they are bringing the public a livestream Frootie Flavors album release party. It might be a little different than what they were planning, but it’ll be just as fun and important for Santa Cruz.
“When I speak to people about queer issues, I look to them and I include them. In my mind, they are part of this queer family. I feel like that’s how we are as a band,” Ely says. “This is us, and if you relate to this, you’re going to jump on, and if you don’t, you might either find yourselves starting to relate to it or move on. We’re playing not just for the queer world, but we’re playing as the out queer people that we are. We’ve always been queer leaders for our community.”
Frootie Flavors will livestream the release of their album ‘Poon Tunes’ on Friday, April 17, at 7pm at facebook.com/FrootieFlavors.