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`CRAIG & CO.’ TO OFFER REAL-LIFE MUSICAL MESSAGE

SHARE `CRAIG & CO.’ TO OFFER REAL-LIFE MUSICAL MESSAGE

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and many of the other familiar Disney cartoon family will introduce Walt Disney Records singer/song-writer Craig Taubman and his band Craig & Company to Utah audiences next weekend.

They'll rock 'n' roll at Snowbird on Saturday, July 17, singing songs about real-life issues for children - and parents.Singing children's songs comes naturally for Taubman, a father of two. "I grew up loving rock 'n' roll, I grew up loving kids and I grew up . . . well, I never quite grew up," Taubman said. Craig & Company will perform songs from its latest album, "Rock 'n Toontown," Taubman's sixth recording aimed at kids, his third with Disney.

Taubman was inspired to do concerts for children when his wife, a director of a preschool, invited him to the school to sing and teach music to the children there. Every day is an inspiration for Taubman, who said he gets a lot of his ideas from his children.

"I have always felt that music speaks louder than words, and I feel that music touches people - and that's the spirit," he said in reference to one of his songs, "Voice of the Spirit."

"I know that music is a very, very, powerful medium. It just touches people." He said there is energy, excitement and happiness about music, adding that, "you can't put that in a box."

Taubman also said he doesn't plug in a cassette during his performances. "There's a band that is with me (and) they all love children, and I think that comes across on stage."

Although Taubman is in competition with Barney and Big Bird from Sesame Street (in children's popularity), he considers himself in a different category.

"I'd rather be compared to Guns 'N Roses for children; I don't know why anybody would really compare me to Barney," he said, adding that rock is more inspirational "as opposed to cutesy fantasies." Taubman is "more into talking about getting your first haircut, being the youngest kid in your family, car trips and how boring they are."

Taubman believes in teaching children through his songs, as in "Recycle Rex," and says that Rex, the character in the song, could be the new environmental spokesperson for the '90s. Taubman says that when he was writing the lyrics for the song he didn't realize what he was getting into. "I was just oblivious," he said, adding that children should be aware of their environment when they are young, so they can continue to work for a better environment when they are older.

And he says he isn't alone. "I've also found that recently a lot of mainstream artists are getting involved with this thing. (And a lot of people are saying) let's wake up and save our environment - and, hey, let's wake up and save our kids."

Taubman said being a children's entertainer has provided quite an education. "I've learned a lot about honesty, that you can't fake a kid out, that kids are honest, that they'll tell it like it is - and it's a wonderful thing. What they're feeling is what they're feeling. It's so wonderful. So, I try to be honest in my writing - that's what's gonna hit. That's what's gonna make a difference."

He also tries to help kids learn about themselves and others through his lyrics. After the Disney company asked him to write about special kids, he received some surprising responses from his fans. "It is very surprising - when you least expect it, you touch somebody. Taubman added that sometimes after a show, a child will come up to him and say, for example, "Hey, thanks for writing that song about my sister, she's different." Or, "My brother is different, he's learning disabled." At one time a youngster said, "My dog is different, he only has three legs."

"Special kids are special kids - but all kids are special," he said. But what he wants his music to teach most of all is to "celebrate life, to enjoy life and go for it. Just make every day an event."

Performing with Craig & Company will be Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. "Rock 'n Toontown" debuted on cassette and CD in May as part of Walt Disney Record's Music Box Artist Series. Other songs featured at the concert will be, "Do Bullies Have Mommies," "Excuse Me," and "Get up."