For the Imagination Movers, before there was a band, before there was a TV show, there was the music.
“Music is the engine of the show,” said Rich Collins, who plays drums, guitar and bass in the Imagination Movers band. “In our catalog of more than 150 songs are cool hooks and driven melodies. If the songs were not any good, none of this would have happened.”
What happened was that in 2003 four long-time friends from New Orleans, La., started to write songs, form a band and come up with a concept for a children’s television show.
The Imagination Movers, which includes Collins, Scott Durbin, Dave Poche and Scott “Smitty” Smith, will appear for two shows on May 18 at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.
“We thought the kids’ marketplace could use a jolt of rock ‘n’ roll,” said Collins of how things began. “We wanted something with good educational content, live action and rock ‘n’ roll music.
“We had the idea for the show and the band at the same time,” Collins continued. “We became the band first; an independent rock band hired for birthday parties, benefits, etc.”
The band built a regional following and they independently made two CDs and a DVD.
“Two years into it we pitched the TV show idea to Nickelodeon, Disney and the Public Broadcasting Service,” Collins said. “Disney saw us and in 2005 we had our first meeting with them.”
But Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005 altered the band’s plans. Several band members lost their homes when the levees broke in New Orleans. Undaunted, they salvaged belongings, rebuilt homes and continued the Imagination Movers dream. The Imagination Movers live-action, pre-school television series premiered in September 2008 on the Disney Channel.
The TV show is set in warehouse and it promotes ideas and problem-solving while adding comedy and rock music with original songs like “What’s in the Fridge?” and “Clean My Room.”
“We are blue collar guys in a factory, but we’re creative, with a lot of motion and activity,” said Collins of the TV show.
Seventy-five episodes of the show have been filmed.
“We will probably not shoot any more,” Collins said. “They continue to air a couple of times a day. We are hoping to get an animated version going.”
The excitement of the TV show transfers well to the stage, according to Collins.
“We are a 100-percent live, rock ‘n’ roll band,” he said. “Dads, moms, 12-year-olds and 2-year-olds all rock out equally. We pride ourselves on the power of live music. It’s like Red Hot Chili Peppers for the family.”
And Collins imagines that the Imagination Movers will keep on rockin’.
“I don’t see any reason not to continue,” he said. “Maybe we’ll be the Rolling Stones of kid’s rock ‘n’ roll.