Children and Italians love Sugar Free Allstars. They’re a band even a mother could love for their witty lyrics, infectious grooves and goofy subject matter. This local two-man band is taking the kid’s music scene by storm. This weekend, they’ll play alongside "They Might Be Giants” at Jiggle Jam in Kansas City, Mo. Early in June, their first kids concert DVD, "Getting’ Funky With the Sugar Free Allstars,” will release. And this summer, they’ll embark on a 56-show library tour. "When we play kids’ shows, they’re usually 40 to 45 minutes long. ... They kick the door in, and they’re ready to rock,” said Chris Wiser, the band’s founder and front man. He plays organ and sax, and sings lead vocals. Rob Martin, aka Dr. Rock, plays drums and sings backup. The main difference between playing children’s gigs and grown-up gigs? "The audience members’ average height,” Wiser said. Sugar Free Allstars hasn’t always been a kids band. They started out in 2003 as a three-man band playing original tunes such as "He’s Okay (The Spider Song)” at local clubs and music festivals. When fans started telling them that their kids loved the music, an idea sparked that the younger-than-10 set could be an untapped market for their music. "I wouldn’t say it was a fluke. It wasn’t something that we set out and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to be a really successful kids music band.’ It was like, let’s put out an album and write songs the way we do, just change the subject matter,” Wiser said. So they wrote and recorded "Dos Ninos” in 2007, the same year they released their third "grown-up” album, "Return of Dos Machos.” "We never had to differentiate between albums for kids and adults. We had been saying ‘adult albums,’ but we were like, that’s maybe not the best connotation,” Wiser said sheepishly. Since then, "He’s Okay (The Spider Song)” and "Bathtub Boy” have received national satellite radio airplay on Kid’s Place Live, formerly XM Kids. For two weeks last fall, "Bathtub Boy” even made it to No. 1 on the station’s "13 Under 13” program. So, where do the Italians fit in? Last fall, the band took an 11-day rock ’n’ roll tour of northern Italy, playing in clubs and other venues around the area. They’ll return to Italy by popular demand in fall. "People who have seen our shows know that a big part of it is the entertainment aspect, just the goofiness, the silliness, the banter between us and the crowd,” Wiser said. "But our Italian is not the best.” "You can’t do the comedy show in Italy,” Martin said. He always had wanted to see Europe on a "rock ’n’ roll dime.” "The fact that we did really well and they liked us, besides the fact that the entertainment aspect wasn’t there, made us feel really good,” Wiser said. "It was like, hey, I guess our music does stand up. So, now we joke with people that kids and Italians really dig us.” To buy the new DVD, find a library tour stop near you or learn more about the band, go online to www.sugarfreeallstars.com.
Sugar Free Allstars Library tour
The Sugar Free Allstars will launch a 56-show library tour this summer, visiting libraries in Oklahoma and surrounding states. Here are Metropolitan Library System tour dates: June 15 →10:30 a.m.: Ralph Ellison Public Library, Oklahoma City. →1 p.m.: Capitol Hill Public Library, Oklahoma City. →3 p.m.: Midwest City Public Library. June 16 →9:30 and 10:30 a.m.: Bethany Public Library. →1 p.m.: Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, Oklahoma City. →3 p.m.: Southern Oaks Public Library, Oklahoma City. June 17 →10:30 a.m.: Del City Public Library. →2 p.m.: Warr Acres Public Library. June 18 →9:30 and 10:30 a.m.: Edmond Public Library. →1 p.m.: The Village Public Library. →3 p.m.: Belle Isle Public Library. June 19 →10:30 a.m.: Harrah Public Library. →1 p.m.: Choctaw Public Library. →3 p.m.: Nicoma Park Public Library.