Rockabye Baby! — which transforms timeless rock songs into beautiful instrumental lullabies — will release “Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions Of Van Halen”on November 8.
Rockabye Baby! was created by Lisa Roth, sister of VAN HALEN lead singer David Lee Roth, in conjunction with CMH Records. The label turns popular rock songs into lullabyes — songs from artists like PEARL JAM, BLACK SABBATH, GUNS N’ ROSES, METALLICA and JOURNEY, just to name a few.
“It’s more for the parent than the child but it calms the child at the same time,” Lisa Roth told Forbes magazine.
She added, “When I knew I’d really hit something right was when I saw an interview of Kirk Hammett of METALLICA talking about playing it for his child, and he said that it works.”
Click on the video below to hear more from Lisa Roth about Rockabye Baby! and how a psychic predicted her fate, despite her resistance to jumping into the music industry.
“Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions Of Van Halen” track listing:
01. Runnin’ With The Devil
02. Hot For Teacher
04. You Really Got Me
05. Jamie’s Cryin’
08. Feel Your Love Tonight
10. Beautiful Girls
11. I’ll Wait
12. And The Cradle Will Rock…
13. Dance The Night Away
Q : What inspired the creation of Rockabye Baby! ?
Lisa Roth : Having shopped for many a baby shower gifts, I was quite dismayed by the lack of parent friendly music choices out there. Out of frustration I wanted to create a lullaby series that parents could relate to, something familiar and enjoyable, yet gentle enough for the littlest rocker in the house.
Q : How do you choose which bands to turn into lullabies?
Lisa Roth : As far as picking the artists, we first and foremost keep our audience in mind — the parent/music fan who’s hip, has a good sense of humor, and wants to share their favorite artists with their own cherub rockers. We have a rotating poll on our web site where the general public votes, and we stick very close to the outcome of that data. Also, here at Rockabye Baby! , we are all music fans, with very broad tastes, so we often vote on our own personal favorites. Unfortunately, time and time again, we forget to consider whether a chosen artist will lend itself to our lullaby palette, thus the production challenges that ensue! It’s the most rewarding when we choose a band that is the absolute antithesis of a lullaby, like GUNS N’ ROSES or METALLICA , and we successfully transform it without losing the original attitude of the band. We often joke that Rockabye Baby! is the anti-lullaby lullaby series! So ultimately our series tends to reflect that reputation.
Q : What if some of the material is inappropriate for babies?
Lisa Roth : There are no lyrics on these CDs, only instrumentals, so the subject matter is rarely an issue. That said, it is the so-called inappropriateness of the subject matter in the original songs that lends the irony to our series, and it’s the irony of our series that makes everyone smile. You can’t help but chuckle at the idea of lullaby renditions of AC/DC . It is our goal to entertain the parent as well as the little ones, and our series accomplishes that in spades. As we all know, the themes of many of our favorite rock songs revolve around sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Our recent GUNS N’ ROSES album has attracted attention because we did “Mr. Brownstone” , which is a heroin song. But again, that’s the great thing about our series — it’s only instrumentals, and if I’m not mistaken, music alone does not have the power to turn infants into drug addicts. In fact, many of the rock ‘n’ roll icons who sang about these questionable themes, like THE BEATLES or THE ROLLING STONES , were once seen as symbols of the end of civilization, but today they are parents and grandparents themselves. In fact, Steven Tyler wrote the liner notes for our AEROSMITH CD, and couldn’t wait to share it with his grandchild. We have, however, considered song titles inappropriate in the past. There have been a few off-putting titles that we felt would be tasteless printed on the back of our CD packages, so we chose to avoid those songs.
Q : What do you hear from parents about some of the racier stuff?
Lisa Roth : We’ve received an enormous amount of positive, appreciative feedback from parents. Our audience tends to understand and appreciate the humor and joy behind our lullaby series. Again, Rockabye Baby! was created as much for the parent’s enjoyment as it was for their babies. Of course, there will always be someone whose purpose in life is to create a fuss out of nothing, even a lullaby series, but we welcome the publicity!
Q : What are some of the challenges to creating soft versions of hard songs,
whether it’s the material, the rhythm, etc.?
Lisa Roth : Believe me, it’s not easy turning TOOL or NINE INCH NAILS into a lullaby! Creating a new lullaby CD can take anywhere from three months to a year and a half. We have several producers who deconstruct the original and put them back together, so to speak, using our Rockabye Baby! palette, which consists of instruments that create the perfect balance of what we call “clunk and tinkle.” It is also a challenge to get the right tempo and softness without losing the attitude of the original. We often direct the producers to play the instruments as if a sleeping baby were next to them in the studio. Then the listening team — me and my co-workers Aretha and Leo — sit and listen to each and every note of every song over and over, making copious notes for the producer. Each song goes back and forth between us and the producers an average of three to eight times before we approve it. It can be quite a grueling process for all. The quality of our recordings means a great deal us.
Q : What are the qualities that make a successful lullaby?
Lisa Roth : I think we’ve produced a successful lullaby when we strike the perfect balance between clunk and tinkle, tempo, softness, easy recognizability, and it entertains mom and dad while simultaneously soothing the little ones. For me, I know it’s a success when hearing it makes me smile that smile you made as kid when you were caught with your hand in the cookie jar. And it has to make me laugh. When you hear a heavy rock song composed of fairy dust you can’t help but laugh.
Q : Have any of the artists been harder to turn into lullabies?
Lisa Roth : A lot of heavy rock artists compose in minor chords, and minor chords are very hard to translate into a lullaby without sounding scary. But after years of trial and error we have our bag of tricks to offset the spookiness. For example, BLACK SABBATH , which we are working on now, has a lot of minor chords versus the melodic compositions of COLDPLAY or U2 . When we get the difficult ones right it’s completely satisfying.