Ok, let’s just get this out of the way, Dr. Marc Dauer is a hair replacement specialist. He deals with eyebrows, heads of hair, etc. But in his free time he’s also a musician, a pretty damn successful one too who goes by the name Doc Dauer.
His first record for kids, “The Body Rocks,” is a 17-track collection of songs and skits that turn the organs of the human body into playful characters. It builds on Schoolhouse Rock, as well as his label-mates They Might Be Giants (whose Grammy-winning Here Come the 1, 2, 3′s could be the prequel for Body Rocks), explaining the matter-of-factness of science in a weird, fun, and occasionally gross way that kids will not only laugh at, but understand.
But Marc Dauer is also a musician in his own right. He plays and sings in a band, Jukebox Junkies, as well as being an award-winning composer for film (American Pie) and TV (90210). And the guest talent on the record includes Minnie Driver, Guster, and Liz Phair–the latter singing on half the songs. We asked him about singing about pee, his other career, and how he felt about the singer of “Girls, Girls, Girls” singing on a kids’ album.
Kveller: Did your parents want you to grow up to be a doctor?
They certainly encouraged me. I definitely had a dual influence–from my father being a physician and my mother being an artist. I was inspired on both sides of the brain. As a kid, I used to go to work a lot with my father, on summer and weekends. I would help out in his office. I guess it sprung from there.
What got you excited about the human body?
My overall interest in science, and my interest in the profession. I do practice hair restoration surgery. I was an ER doctor for many years, and then 6 or 7 years I transferred over to hair rest, and I really enjoy it. It’s personally satisfying, and it’s artistically based. I create eyebrow patterns, hair patterns.
Do you think there’s anything particularly Jewish about wanting to know about our bodies, and the reasons that it does the things it does?
I think our knowledge of the human body probably reflects on our wonder of the amazing beings that we are. And that, in and of itself, is probably faith-based. You have to ask yourself: How could something as complex as the human body come about, how can it exist? And that probably has something to do with faith, for some people.
You have a song called “Pee Keeps Our Insides Clean.” There’s a stigma about thinking that the human body is gross, especially things like skeletons and muscle tissue. What made you want to write about it?
That was part of my goal with the album — to take some of these things that kids may think are gross and explain what they really are and what their purpose is. To inject some understanding into what we think about our bodies…for kids and for adults.
Certainly kids like saying “pee,” and that’s part of the fun of that particular song. They also like singing the song “Food Gives Energy to Me and You,” because it has the word “poo” in it. But I’m also trying to make it okay to say, you know, certain slang words. It’s okay if you’re using them to describe bodily functions, in the context of learning about the actual function.
When I was 14, Liz Phair was my favorite singer. Mostly I liked that she spoke about all the stuff that nobody else would — she had lyrics like “I take full advantage/of every man I meet” and “Every time I see your face/I get all wet between my legs.” Were you concerned about putting her on a kids’ album? Are you afraid that your kids are going to say, “Ooh, I want to hear more,” and then start rocking out to “F*** and Run”?
Liz is my scoring partner, and we’ve scored a number of TV shows together. She’s such an amazing presence and a great singer that it seemed natural to ask her to help out with this album. Also her father’s a physician–a well-known immunologist, and she has her own experiences.
Liz brought something very special to the album, as she does with everything. I wasn’t concerned with some of her own song topics, just because this is a completely different project from what she usually does, and Liz has many different components to her own artistic personality. This allowed her to branch out in a different way.
All the guest singers are really close friends of mine, and people whom I’ve worked with in other contexts. I asked if they wanted to be involved, and they all offered up their services.
You’re in a successful band, and you score music for TV and films. What drove you to kids’ music?
It sprung from my dissatisfaction in a lot of kids’ music that was out there. A lot of artists are dumbing down their music in order to make kids’ records. I thought that kids were more sophisticated than that — they appreciate more complicated music, but I wanted to write lyrics that would appeal to them. I wanted to make an album that would teach kids something and yet would entertain them and would give them musically sophisticated songs as well.
Do you have kids of your own? Did they help out?
I do, I have three — 12, 9, and 7. They were definitely good sounding boards. I would bounce songs off them and have them critique them. They’d say they wouldn’t like something, and it was back to the drawing board.