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Verve Pipe finds family music isn't kid stuff

of the Oakland Press

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Michigan’s film tax incentives have had an impact on The Verve Pipe’s Brian Vander Ark.

“It’s kind of odd seeing all these (movie) people walking around Grand Rapids,” says Vander Ark, 44, who also acts and is filming a drama called “House of the Rising Sun.” “It’s weird not being the most famous person in Grand Rapids anymore — that’s what (stinks),” he adds with a laugh.

He always has the music to fall back on, of course, both on his own and with The Verve Pipe. The group, in fact — which had a Top 5 hit with “The Freshmen” in 1996 — has opened new vistas for itself with last year’s release of “A Family Album,” a children’s album sporting songs such as “Wake Up,” “Cereal,” “Suppertime!” and “Go to Sleep Now.”

Vander Ark says the move has been a breath of fresh air both creatively and for the band’s “relationships with each other.”

“It’s that something different we’ve been needing for a while, I think,” Vander Ark explains. “It’s great to have a few drinks as a band and sit down and come up with ridiculous lyrics and, ‘Remember when were kids and did this and this and this .. , ’ and then the next day, ‘Wow, we told a bunch of goofy stories last night.’

“The alcohol as an impetus maybe isn’t a good idea, but the idea that we were able to have those memories and share them and turn them into (a song) serves some kind of purpose other than trying to outdo ourselves, as usual — which we do tend to lapse into if we’re not careful.”

The Verve Pipe and Crashing Cairo perform Friday, Dec. 10, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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