If you spin things back twenty years, 1996 was a strange time for me. It was the year I moved back to Illinois from Iowa, a time of self-discovery and a year before I met the girl who I'm married to today. Thing is, despite being released formally in '96, NERF HERDER's self-titled debut was very much a part of the 1997 soundtrack for me, and just as it was for many, it was fueled by a little single called "Van Halen." Commentary on David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar aside, the band garnered my immediate respect for having a STAR WARS-inspired name at a time when the Original Trilogy was just coming back into theaters as the infamous "Special Editions," and the boom of the Pop Culture "Con" was still just a few years off. Over the years, I amassed a sizable collection of NERF HERDER CDs, and after becoming a parent, frontman Parry Gripp has remained part of my daily soundtrack, not always due to his work with NERF HERDER, but as the man behind a host of televised kid's music - from Disney Junior's DJ Shuffle (which I premiered here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine back in 2014) to The 7D, and even the MARVEL SUPER HERO SQUAD, for which he composed the theme. Now NERF HERDER is back with a new album, their first since 2008, and it's damn good.