Gustafer Yellowgold has hold over tykes

February 11, 2010

By Laura Clark


CC and I already thought Gustafer Yellowgold was charming on his latest DVD/CD set "Mellow Fever," but I'm not sure we were completely prepared for how awesome it was seeing him in person -- er, in sun creature.

We were invited this past weekend to a Gustafer concert at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, and CC couldn't take her eyes off the show, headlined by Gustafer illustrator/songwriter Morgan Taylor.

As I wrote in a previous post, Gustafer is the creation of Taylor, who has a 2-year-old son of his own. Taylor combined his love of drawing and music to create this friendly, Earth-loving creature from the sun who leaves his family to make his home in the chilly woods of Minnesota.

It's there where he becomes friends with a pterodactyl named Forrest Applecrumbie and an eel named Slim.

Taylor is a laid-back musician whose music is a clever dose of mellow kid rock.

In fact, when he first appeared at the mic, Taylor raised his fist to the crowd of shorties and their parents and said, "Are you ready to soft rock!"

Indeed they were.

The set list itself is connected to the short videos that appear on screen. These are the same videos we saw on the DVD, but Taylor injects much more presence on stage. He interacts with the kiddos and riffs on random quips from the audience. You can tell he loves the feedback, which is always positive.

"Anyone have any pets out there?" he asked before a song about Gustafer's eel, Slim.

"I have a zebra!" CC yelled. "At the zoo!"

(That's right, zoo security, that zebra is hers!)

Taylor even got a kick out of one toddler who stood next to him and pointed at the above screen during one or two songs.

"That's my brother," shouted the boy's older sibling. I wasn't sure if he was embarrassed by his little brother or just identifying a culprit who happened to be related to him.

It was a great time, and CC didn't want to leave. She even talked me into getting her a plush Gustafer doll (above right).

You know you've hit a home run when you get in the car with your child and she already wants to see the show again.

Hope to see you again soon, Gustafer!


Coming Attraction: Gustafer Yellowgold

January 27, 2010

By Laura Clark


Gustafer Yellowgold, that Earth-loving creature from the sun who's made quite an impression on the children's music scene, will be making his way to McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica on Feb. 7.

Actually, he and his other animated friends -- a pterodactyl named Forrest Applecrumbie, an eel called Slim and Asparagus the dragon, among others -- will appear on screen as his creator, illustrator/songwriter Morgan Taylor, and other musicians offer up tunes on his behalf.

If you're not yet familiar with Gustafer's world, it's a very charming and mellow one -- hence his latest DVD/CD collection "Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever," which hit shelves last March.

Gustafer is a little guy from the sun who left his family to explore the chillier environs of Minnesota. Once there -- he arrived via sunpod -- he met up with other animal pals.

CC and I had the opportunity to check out "Mellow Fever." The songs themselves aren't your average sugar-shock dose of kid rock. Instead, they're more thoughtful, definitely softer in tone and sometimes have hints of melancholy. In fact, "Butter Pond Lake" tackles the subject of missing home and family.

Talking to Ohio native Morgan Taylor on his way back from a show in Atlanta to his family's home in the Catskill Mountains, he told me he'd "always been a cartoonist" and began drawing Gustafer "before I knew who he was."

Morgan also wrote songs, "all in the first person, all in the fictitious realm." All of a sudden it clicked. This pointy-headed yellow guy, as he called him, was the character that connected his illustrations to the music.

"It was a wonderful accident that initiated the whole thing," he added.

The company behind Gustafer, Apple-Eye Productions, is made up of Morgan and his wife, singer/songwriter Rachel Loshak. They also have a young addition to the crew, their 22-month-old son, Harvey.

Their music, Morgan said, is like a "comfort blanket" for Harvey. "He really loves Gustafer's music. We never gave Harvey a pacifier, so Gustafer's music is his pacifier," he added.

That definitely helps out on the road, he said, where they travel everywhere together -- by car as well as by plane.

"It's nice to be able to be together, for Harvey to have full access to both of his parents," Morgan said. "That's rare, especially as a dad to be around my son so much."