Although Juicy Fruit no longer wafts throughout the Westside, a sweetness still lingers about the Wrigley Building’s successor, The Digital Media Factory, thanks to Jerry and the Silly Monsters, and its delectable blend of bubbly, children’s pop-rock. “I’ve listened to a lot of bad children’s music over the years,” says lead vocalist/guitarist Toby Salciccia, otherwise known as “Jerry.” Desiring to change the genre’s reputation, Salciccia turned to his day job—co-manager of Happy Days Children’s Learning Center—for inspiration to create songs that are “positive and educational for kids, and fun for parents.” There, he befriended parent Craig Comstock, who introduced Salciccia to his future bandmates: bassist Ian Babcock (“Bob”) and drummer Scott McPherson (“Murray”) of Ribsy’s Nickel; McPherson’s daughter, Ashley (“Gigi” on stage); and vocalist/ukulele player Moreah Walker (“Gigi” in the studio). The result? Jerry and the Silly Monsters—a mix of clever, motivational lyrics and complex rock music. “We’re really starting to take on more of a family-like nature, now that we’ve had the opportunity to work [together] and know each other,” says Salciccia of their chemistry. Since JSM’s inception three years ago, the band released a self-titled album last summer and now awaits the launch party of Let’s Play!—containing “everything from reggae, to jazz, to ska, to rock ’n’ roll,” reveals Salciccia—Sunday at The Digital Media Factory. The four-piece will wear its signature, colorful monster costumes, which—as explained in pop lullaby “Safe Harbor”—help kids cope with the “new awareness children go through after they pass through toddlerhood, in which they realize the world is bigger than they are and fears of monsters happen,” says Salciccia. The frontman adds that the childish “freedom to be whimsical” is “something I try to hold on to and incorporate into my adult personality.”
INFO: 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14. Digital Media Factory, 2809 Mission St., Santa Cruz. No Cover. 427-1785.
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