Wednesday, March 06 2013 00:00

Toddler Jukebox: SUPERNOVA - AGES 3 AND UP (1995)

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It's been a very long time since I did a "Toddler Jukebox" column here on The Rock Father, but now the time has come to dust it off as a regular feature. When I did the first couple, I had an actual toddler in the house, but with Addie now a preschooler and Finn still an infant, I'm questioning the use of "toddler" in the name. The original concept was that Addie would grab a CD from the archives here at Rock Father HQ and I'd be forced to listen to it as an opportunity to revisit some songs from days long since passed. While I might still have the kids pull random selections on occasion, I'm looking at this as a way to revisit the past through my little ones - some pre-Fatherhood rock explored with a new generation. What better way to start then with an album called AGES 3 AND UP?

Calling Cynot 3... Rock Father HQ to SUPERNOVA... are you there, Supernova? 

supernovacoverReleased by California pop punk outfit Supernova (the original Supernova - the one that sued the CBS show "Rockstar: Supernova" and won) on Amphetamine Reptile Records in 1995, AGES 3 AND UP should've been a huge record. At least, I thought it should've been a huge record.

Pop punk with a groove (see the bassline on "Invasion"), AGES 3 AND UP is a nearly-perfect record filled with memorable, undeniably-catchy songs rooted in a science fiction background. The band came with a full-blown sci-fi mythology itself (think THE AQUABATS!, MAN OR ASTROMAN?, etc.) and was said to hail from the tinfoil-obsessed plant of Cynot 3. They were the total package, from the spacesuits to the artwork, right down to the "flying" tour van. I personally caught the band live as they made their way through the Midwest in '95, squeezing into a packed show in a basement club called "The Underline" in Davenport, Iowa. This was the kind of show where there was no "real" stage, and the fans and band were packed in on the same level. I also seem to recall wearing a tinfoil hat and pogoing along while singing "Chewbacca" - the STAR WARS ode that was featured on the soundtrack to Kevin Smith's 1994 film, CLERKS.

18 years later, and a tattered Supernova sticker that I purchased at that show remains on the front grate of my well-traveled Peavey "Supreme 160" half-stack here in my office.
If it weren't for one track on the album ("Hippy"), AGES 3 AND UP could be considered completely "Family-Friendly." A closer listen reveals that it's sort of "Kindie Rock" before the Kindie genre really existed. There's songs about "Vitamins," "Oreo" cookies, "Math," and "Drool." It makes perfect sense that during a resurgence of Supernova, the band appeared on a 2007 episode of YO GABBA GABBA! performing "Up & Down" from the AGES 3 AND UP album.
So where are Supernova now?

Almost one year ago (March 7, 2012 to be exact), I fired off an email to an account that should've been Drummer Dave Collins via their official site. I was seeking information on rumors of a new album. I never heard back, and then the site disappeared. A few months later, Supernova frontman Art Mitchell popped up on a couple episodes of THE AQUABATS! SUPER SHOW! on The Hub.  
As I revisit the three Supernova CDs I have here in the archives, I'm crossing my fingers that Supernova is out there somewhere... plotting a triumphant return... a reinvention by simply being themselves. There's a whole new generation to tap into.

Supernova - AGES 3 AND UP is available for download on iTunes

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James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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