Andy Walker, performer/musician, Bunny Racket
Rock ‘n’ roll is awesome and rock ‘n’ roll is for everyone ...
When you think of a rock ‘n’ roll concert, you’re not likely to think of a crowd of children. And when you think of a children’s concert, you’re not likely to think of rock ‘n’ roll. But really – why can’t the two be friends? Musician (and new father) Andy Walker asked the same question, and decided it was his mission to change the perception of traditional children’s music. The result is Bunny Racket, a rock ‘n’ roll band for the young and young at heart, headed by bad-ass fluffy rocker King Bunny – a lover of guitar, skateboarding and nature. Bunny Racket released its first single ‘A Chicken is Not a Fruit’ at the beginning of September, and is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund an online music video series of King Bunny’s adventures. With the help of fellow rockets Brant Bjork, Robby Kreiger, Sam Sutler, The Vines, Grinspoon and more, King Bunny (and Andy) hope to bring people and generations together through a mutual love of rock ‘n’ roll.
Bunny Racket is a pretty unique concept – can you give our readers a little insight into what it is?
Bunny Racket is a rock band fronted by a giant rabbit called King Bunny that is set to inspire, entertain and educate kids through the power of rock ‘n’ roll. The main aim of Bunny Racket is to bring all ages together through a common love of music, creating and rocking out.
When many Australians think of kid’s musical entertainment we tend to think of The Wiggles. What was the spark of inspiration that made you think children’s entertainment needed more rock ‘n’ roll?
I’m in my late 30s and I come from a pretty social family. You could say that I am surrounded by kids a lot of the time, which is great as I love hanging out with kids. But with kids often comes bad kids music and, as a music lover and a new father, I wasn’t about to put up with that. Bunny Racket is about turning misconceptions on what children’s music should be on its head. It doesn’t have to be patronising and it doesn’t necessarily have to fit a template. It can be fresh, it can be weird, it can be creative and it can appeal to all ages if it is good enough. Rock ‘n’ roll is awesome and rock ‘n’ roll is for everyone.
As far as rock ‘n’ roll animals go, I’d have picked a jaguar, a timberwolf or any of the birds of prey to emulate. What made you choose a bunny as the rockin’ figurehead of your project?
I love the juxtaposition of a soft furry animal delivering straight up rock ‘n’ roll music. It fits the whole ethos of what Bunny Racket is about. We can all rock. Doesn’t matter if you are young or old, big or small, girl or boy, bear or bunny … just turn it up and jump around!
Did you base King Bunny’s fashion and musical style on any of your rock ‘n’ roll inspirations?
I always kind of saw King Bunny as Lemmy from Motorhead, if he was a Muppet. For this first series I was inspired by all kinds of classic rock, punk rock and early heavy metal. From the Ramones to AC/DC. From Black Sabbath to Cat in the Hat. There’s a bit of everything in there and King Bunny wears it on his sleeve proudly!
How do you come up with subject matter to turn into rock hits?
I’m an animal lover, so the characters are easy. I like to usually have a character, a place and a story. These ideas bounce around in my head for a while until they come together in some way. An example is one song called Jingle Jangle Jaguar. The jaguar is from deep within the jungle and he has a bell tied around his neck so you know when he’s around. He’s the Jingle Jangle Jaguar with the jingle jangle sound.
You just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a potential web series – what can we expect from that once it is up and running? We’re already huge fans of ‘A Chicken is Not a Fruit’.
The first Bunny Racket series will take the form of eight episodes. Each episode will feature two of the songs from the album Rock ‘n’ Roll Animals. They will follow the adventures of King Bunny on his quest to write the greatest kids’ rock record of all time. The visual content will be just as strong as the musical content and will be heavily influenced by my love of 80s road movies, music videos and kids shows like The Muppets and Sesame Street. Kids from the ages of two through to 102 will love it.
I read that you joined up with Brant Bjork of Kyuss and Robby Krieger of The Doors for your studio line-up (and some other killer musicians play with you live from time to time). To many rock ‘n’ roll fans this is huge! How did you pitch the idea of Bunny Racket to these musicians?
Brant has been a good friend of mine for many years. I was visiting him while over in Los Angeles a few years back and he and his partner Zaina had just had their second child, Brazil. I was telling him my idea for Bunny Racket and he just loved it. He, like me, is just a rocker dad that wants to see his kids smiling. Partway through our recording, our demo tapes were passed along to Robby Krieger. He was into what he heard and signed on for lead guitar duties. I’m a Doors fan. I was blown away.
You recently performed at Splendour in the Grass to some children-at-heart. This question is for the wary parents of little ones out there – how does Bunny Racket work live (also, are there mosh pits)?
I’m really excited about building on the Bunny Racket stage show. I fully intend Bunny Racket to be playing anything from a five year old’s birthday party to a stage at a rock ‘n’ roll festival. We play for the kids. When you come to see Bunny Racket, you have a licence to unleash your inner child. It’s all about having a good time together. It’s on for young and old!
I’ve heard that your love of rock ‘n’ roll started at a Ramones show when you were 12. Have any gigs had as much of an impact on you as that one?
Yep. Sesame Street Live. But that was much later.
Want to see more of Bunny Racket? Get involved in its Kickstarter project!