The Hipwaders
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The Hipwaders

Vacaville, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2003

Vacaville, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Rock Pop




"The Hipwaders Should Be Way More Famous: Music Review"

REM may be gone, but at least we still have the Hipwaders. Yes, they’re technically a children’s band, but close your eyes, listen to the track, “Hey, Josie” off of their new album, The Golden State, and tell me you can’t picture Michael Stipe swinging around a microphone stand. And then the song will suddenly surprise you by veering into a Beach Boys-esque ba-ba-ba-ba bridge. It's those sort of style-morphing musical moments that make listening to the CD so exciting. While I stick by the REM comparison — and songs like “Welcome to California” feel like they could have been bonus tracks on Green — the Hipwaders are not mere sound-alikes. Could these guys be an awesome REM tribute band if they wanted to be? I'm sure. But their original music is far from derivative.

For one thing, there’s a West Coast surf sound underlying a lot of what the Hipwaders do (appropriate for an album titled Golden State). And bouncy ska beats weave their way in often, tying the ‘80s college-radio vibe to a ‘00s college-radio vibe. Add funky guitar licks and ‘60s-style harmonic vocal riffs, and you’ve got an fantastically distinctive sound.

I’ve been listening to the album on repeat for the past couple of days. And that’s even when the kids haven't been home. It doesn’t matter in the slightest that I’m singing along with songs about pet dogs, standing up to bullies, and playing with toy trains. It’s certainly no worse than belting out, “Stand in the place where you live/ Now face north.”

For a second opinion on Golden State, check out this thoughtful assessment from my friend and colleague, Myles McDonnell, on his blog, You Know… For Kids.

Best for: Parents who think they hate all children’s music; children who think they hate all children's music; fans of REM who would have liked to see the group bitten by Vampire Weekend
- Christopher Healy - KIDPOP...and Beyond

"Review: The Golden State - The Hipwaders"

“Where are the albums for kids too old for Laurie Berkner but not ready for Lady Gaga? This year's best album for that age group is the latest record from the Bay Area band The Hipwaders…Golden State isn't just a great album for the tweens in your life, it's a great album, period.” - Zooglobble - Zooglobble

"The Hipwaders' New CD Rocks"

"In The Hipwaders’ new CD The Golden State, the trio reimagines some best-loved tunes from their live shows for a home audience. The result is among my favorite CDs of the year. This album for the whole family even includes “My Dog Steve,” whose shoutout in rhythmic patter sounds intimate and universal at the same time." - Kathy O'Connell, MetroKids - MetroKids

"Kids Chill in the Golden State"

“I've stated before that kids have pretty good BS barometers. The Hipwaders project a happy, healthy, unforced, kid-friendly attitude. You can enjoy the lyrics and melodies and trust that they came from - and succeed with - the best of intentions…The Hipwaders celebrate the shared community that music creates, whether it's schoolmates or neighbors, but mainly with family.” - Mr. Jeff 2000 - Mr. Jeff 2000

"Z Recommends"

The Hipwaders' sophomore effort gets more out of jangly, hook-infused power pop than almost any other children's album we've heard in years, and it has the confidence of a songwriter (Tito Uquillas) who can to take in elements of other genres and make them his own in a band that hasn't lost its edge or power to surprise. From predictably-structured songs like "Art Car" and "Little Baby Brother" to intricately constructed and variably-paced songs like "The History of Declan Rae," the Hipwaders make making great music sound easy. Their knack for setting great pop hooks into a surprising tapestry of sound is apparent in the chanting funk chorus of "Dewey Decimal System" ("Dewey Dewey Dewey Dewey Dewey Decimal System Dewey"), the harmonized bopping on "Little Baby Brother," and almost everywhere else you turn.

But the music is just part of it; their perspective has a freshness that is rare in a genre that emphasizes beat and melody first, then sentiment and humor, and rarely offers anything like insight. This is an album many adults will quickly fall in love with for its sideways glances at a variety of topics, and Uquillas manages to pack information into songs without a whiff of "learning." "The History of Declan Rae" is a "history" of a young child which passes through all of the major ages of Earth's history, "and then came you"; and yes, "Dewey Decimal System" does teach you the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System. The album's title track is an anthem against restrictive definitions of talent, education, and achievement that just might change a ten-year-old's life.

Top Tracks: Little Baby Brother / Educated Kid / The History of Declan Rae / Dewey Decimal System / Song of the Paleo Pirates / You've Got To Move / Stuffed Animal Boy - Z Recommends

"The Hipwaders - Goodie Bag"

Bay Area kindie rockers The Hipwaders deliver a tasty satchel o' musical treats with their latest EP Goodie Bag. Simply put, this is a great powerpop mini-album, nevermind the intended age.
The Artists
The Hipwaders are made up of Tito Uquillas on guitar, keyboards, and lead vocals; DJ Kinville on bass and vocals; and Nick Baca on drums and vocals. The trio have been performing family music for over five years, and Goodie Bag is their fourth kids' album.
The Music

The jangly "Birthday Ruckus" could have easily been a Monkees tune, and "Field Trip," a long-time fan-favorite at live shows, gives a shout out to the indie band Game Theory. That song and "Always Mom," an homage to mothers everywhere, are a little reminiscent of the quirky, jazzy bands on Long Beach, California's SST label.

The brief, a cappella "Prelude to a Thing" precedes "Things You Want," a song that echoes the springy pop of Barenaked Ladies. A novice shutterbug's pride is expressed on the superb tune "My New Camera" ... hey, if you're programming a radio playlist or making a mix tape for a car trip, put this one somewhere amongst Rush's "The Camera Eye," Yes' "Into the Lens," and Paul Simon's "Kodachrome"!

"What's That Noise?" channels Buddy Holly, The Who, Elvis Costello, The Moody Blues, and Led Zeppelin, all in the span of two minutes, while telling the tale of a haunted house. Finally, kids' music genius Gunnar Madsen makes a guest appearance on the slightly funky title track, scatting like nobody's business, as Uquillas' admits "my scat is wack."
The Verdict

The seven kid-length songs on Goodie Bag (only one is over three minutes long) are a great introduction to The Hipwaders' sound: catchy and angular, fun and witty. Tito Uquillas' notes on the origins and backgrounds of each song can be found on his blog2, as well as his reasoning behind releasing an EP rather than a full-length CD.

If you can get your hands on a hard copy of the CD, dig the original cover art by Brian Clarke, the bobblehead likenesses of the band, and the cool reproduction of a vinyl LP on the CD itself. Grab your Goodie Bag, folks, it's one of the best kids' albums of 2009 so far! -

"Christmas Yuleblog - A Kindie Christmas"

The album is a genuine gem of Christmas tunes - all original, some more Christmas than others, fantastic sounds throughout. It was worth the 20 year wait. Well done, 'Waders, one and all! - Christmas Yuleblog

"A Kindie Christemas -"

In something of a stylistic tour de force, The Hipwaders deliver a brilliant, if somewhat brief, set of original rock songs to celebrate the season. Candy! "A Kindie Christmas" is clever fun! -

"Dadnabbit review of "A Kindie Christmas""

If you’re one of those people who breaks out in a cold sweat any time the words “Christmas music” are uttered before Thanksgiving, you’re probably not in any hurry to read about this holiday season’s new musical offerings — particularly of the kid-friendly variety — but you needn’t fear A Kindie Christmas, the 10-song yuletide collection from the Hipwaders: Santa puts in plenty of appearances, sure, but the band keeps the sleigh bells and fa-la-las to a minimum, and the whole thing plays essentially like just another new album from the band that gave you Educated Kid and Goodie Bag.

That might sound a little dismissive, but it isn’t: The Hipwaders are “kindie” in the best sense of the word, serving up a brand of family-oriented pop that has its jangly roots in the classic sound of artists like the dB’s and ’80s R.E.M. A Kindie Christmas is ten breezy tracks (just under 24 minutes in total) of hip holiday fun, from the Tex-Mex rumble of “Santa’s Train” to the sweetly melancholy tones of “Tinsel & Lights.” It thankfully lacks the obnoxious, over-caffeinated vibe that a lot of kids’ Christmas tunes have; instead of sounding like a shopping soundtrack, it’s got the warm, mostly mellow sound of a night at home around the fire, but with enough of a spark (particularly on the nifty “It’s Christmas”) to keep the kids dancing around the tree. - Jeff Giles

"Educated Kid Review"

It’s no surprise to me that children’s and kid’s music is being lifted from the banal to the beautific. Kids are supremely networked and informed to the hip, the lame, the cool and even before the computers changed modern living children knew when they were being talked down to. In same spirit of completely wonderful, whimsical and musically gifted treats for the young set is the Bay Area-based Hipwaders pulling off some brilliantly fun and surprisingly hip songs extolling touchstones of childlike glee including art cars and dinosaurs. With Devo influences the post-mod-rock trio lays some serious grooves and invokes the best spirits of They Might be Giants, Schoolhouse Rocks and The Beatles’ veiled odes to decadence that were so brilliant no one cared what they were about. The Hipwaders are on a great path to immortality if they throw down some trippy videos of kids taking over the world and start building post-modern parables that speak to children of all ages and can be reinterpreted on multiple cultural and spiritual levels. Indeed we all might be hip-deep soon. My picks: “Educated Kid,” “The History of Declan Rae,” “Song of The Paleo Pirates,” “Art Car,” “Cat In A Bathysphere,” “Geometry” and “Aidan’s Train.” - SF Bay Times (DJ Pusspuss)

"The Hipwaders - "self-titled""

The Hipwaders are a California band that switched from "power pop" to "children's music" a few years ago without really having to make many stylistic changes. They still play songs with crisp harmonies, jangly guitars, and strong melodies. Only now the lyrics are kid-friendly.

I gave their 2005 self-titled CD the ultimate challenge: A long car trip on a sunny day, with the kids strapped in and ready to be entertained. Would they look out the window? Read? Take a nap? Or would they be captivated by the fun and clever new tunes from The Hipwaders?

This one was no contest... My 8-year-old son was immediately interested. I can always tell. He stares straight ahead and tilts his head slightly, listening intently. The next step for him is to ask for the CD case so he can study it. He did this after the third song. Final success comes when he asks for a song to be repeated, which he did with "Stand Up To The Bully," a rocking number about not being afraid.

My 4-year-old daughter is easier to read. She dances in her seat and pretends to play drums. So, both kids love these songs about candy, robots, bugs, and volcanoes. And the parents like them too!

You have to love a kids' band that is so clearly influenced by artists like The Beatles, XTC, Devo, and Fountains of Wayne. The singer, Tito Uquillas, sounds like a cross between Michael Stipe and Tim Finn (with a dash of Jello Biafra thrown in) with an easy-going, friendly voice, enunciating words clearly for the young listeners. His lyrics never talk down to the kids, but do a great job of letting them know that adults can sometimes remember what it was like to be a child.

My son paid this CD the highest compliment possible by asking to listen to it in his room the last two nights. He's only done that with Ralph's World and a Beatles collection I burned for him. - A Family Runs Through It

"Hip for Kids - Dave Tilton"

About ten years ago I had an idea to put together a band called The Hip Waders and do a series of unannounced gigs at bait shops. All band members would, of course, wear hip waders. I had a lot of free time on my hands back then.

Fortunately, the trio who performs as The Hipwaders is not following my plan. Instead, this group has recorded a CD of songs, which at first glance appear to be for children. Now, I am sure You The Reader are thinking, �Great � one more Wiggles/Barney/Teletubbies/Raffi thing to make my kids scream �I WANT! I WANT! I WANT!� (and for our Spanish-speaking readers, �YO QUIERO! YO QUIERO! YO QUIERO!�)� � but this CD is to children�s music what Bullwinkle is to children�s cartoons: not just for kids. This CD is one of the year�s most imaginative releases in any genre, it is hilarious, and it ROCKS!

With the opening notes to the first song, �Come Along With Us,� I was hooked. (Hooked? Hip waders? Ah, never mind…) I thought I had mistakenly put a CD by The Rembrandts in my sound system. I kept waiting to hear the �I�ll be there for you� chorus from the �Friends� theme. This song would have fit just as well for that show and the band probably could have done a great job backing Phoebe on her �Smelly Cat� song, similar to Dylan going electric at Newport in 1965. Maybe even better.

Every song on this recording is a keeper (Keeper? Another fishing reference? Enough already…). Highlights include �It�s An Earthquake,� the �Walk Don�t Run� for Generation Ritalin; �Mr. Wiggly Jiggly Bones,� a blend of �Spike�-era Elvis Costello with a �hi-dee-hi-dee-hi-dee-ho� middle section straight out of �Minnie The Moocher�; �Twitchy� and its B-52s feel (it even has �walk don�t run� as the chorus� lyrics); and the always-welcome howling in �Howling At The Moon.� Stock up on Motrin now, mommies and daddies, that song is going to be a HUGE favorite. My personal favorite on the CD, though, is �Silly Robot Dance.� If Talking Heads ever makes nice and reunites (please, Santa…), David Byrne HAS to sing this one on a future project of theirs. And wear The Big Coat from �Stop Making Sense� while he�s singing it.

The Hipwaders is Tito Uquillas on vocals, guitar, and mandolin; Chris Blubaugh on vocals and bass; and JR Topasna on vocals and drums. I would imagine their combined music collection to include lots of Costello, T-Heads, Squeeze, REM, Beach Boys, Rembrandts, B-52s, and The Beatles� �Revolver� as the centerpiece. Bits of those bands� music are present in The Hipwaders� songs, but as flavor and not as rehashed and tired ideas. The kids will love the songs, the parents will be playing the CD at their own parties. It�s that kind of recording. Nothing fishy about it. - Listen & Be Heard

"The Very Hip Hipwaders"

The Hipwaders found themselves at the forefront of hip children's music last month when they were invited to play at Kidzapalooza, the kids' music festival that is a part of the larger Lollapalooza concert held in Chicago.

It's easy to see why they caught the attention of organizers. The Hipwaders make instantly irresistible pop-rock tunes in a style that ranges from early 80's Elvis Costello to the 21st century power pop of the Candy Butchers. They mesh their influences into a consistently appealing sound.

Their second CD, Educated Kid, was released this week. It's even better than their first, which received a rave review from us last summer.

Singer Tito Uquillas puts a fresh spin on a few classic subjects, like dinosaurs, siblings, math, toys, and animals. He has a unique and pleasing voice that my kids both immediately recognized when I first played the CD for them. Some of the lyrics border on, gasp, educational, but are always imaginative and fun. We're all well versed on the Dewey Decimal System now after listening to The Hipwaders' funky take on the subject.

Both my kids say there's not a bad song on the disc. Have a listen to the two tracks below, which the band has also made available for downloading on their MySpace page. A definite must-have for kids of all ages. - A Family Runs Through It


Still working on that hot first release.



Tito Uquillas - vocals/guitar / Nick Baca - drums/vocals / Hal Imbrie - bass/vocals

Listed as one of "25 Best Bands for Kids" by TimeOut NY Kids (2012)

Renaissance art had Michelangelo; Romantic poetry had Keats; detective fiction had Chandler; swing had Sinatra; Metropolis had Superman. Kindie music has the Hipwaders, a California trio who specialize in perfectly written and performed anthems for the kiddies. Quite simply, they are a great power pop band that just happens to play music for children.

Rob Smith, POPDOSE

"They played like they were in front of 50, 000 people, even though they weren't," says Hyams, a Los Angeles record producer who persuaded Perry Farrell to add a children's stage to Lollapalooza three years ago. "People really love them, more so than other acts we've had in the past...The Hipwaders have as much value as Pearl Jam. They are a tight, focused group of musicians."

Tor Hyams, Lollapalooza co-promoter (SF Chronicle 9/2/07)

Fronted by songwriter, Tito Uquillas, The Hipwaders issued their first children's music album, "The Smile Project" in 2004. The album received a Parent's Choice Award that year.

In addition to other venues, The Hipwaders honed their chops performing frequent shows of up to 4hrs in length at the Jelly Belly Candy Factory in Fairfield, California.

"The Smile Project" was quickly followed up in 2005 by "The Hipwaders", the band's official debut. The band was nominated by XM Satellite Radio as one of the best new kid's' music acts of 2005 and the album earned another Parent's Choice Award for the band in 2006.

In 2007, The Hipwaders were invited to perform at the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago.

The band released their next album, "Educated Kid" in September 2007, and the title track quickly went to #1 on XM Satellite Radio Kids Channel 116 and the band taped a live performance at the XM Satellite Radio's "Rumpus Room" in Washington DC. The album finished in the top 5 of the 2007 "Fids & Kamily" critics poll.

The Hipwaders received an enthusiastic response at the 2008 Rock & Blues Festival at the Snowbird Resort in Utah and received 2008 Children's Music Web Awards for both of their albums.

     In 2009, The Hipwaders released their EP, “Goodie Bag”, for which’s Warren Truitt had called, “One of the best kid’s albums of 2009, so far.

  "A Kindie Christmas" was released in the Fall of 2009 to critical acclaim and was awarded a NAPPA Honors award in 2010.

"'Wake Up'... may just be the best 2 minutes of rock-n-roll Christmas tunage ever" - Jeff @ Out With the Kids

By invitation of organizers, the band appeared at the "KindieFest" family music industry showcase in May 2010.

The Hipwaders' 2011 album, "The Golden State" - helmed by engineer/producer Willie Samuels (Green Day/Kronos Quartet) was awarded a NAPPA Gold Award and received many glowing reviews.

September 2014 saw the release of The Hipwaders 6th album, "Year-Round Sounds" which  received a NAPPA Silver Award.

The Hipwaders' music can currently be heard on NBC, History Channel, MTV, Planet Green, TruTV, Current TV, Animal Planet, VH1, Discovery Health, TLC, The Style Network, PBS, Super Station, E!, Womens Entertainment, OLN, Bravo, HGTV, CMTV, and the Travel Channel.

Band Members