Dan Zanes (Dan Zanes and Friends, the Del Fuegos) Talks with Bill Sherman (Sesame Street, Hamilton) for The Talkhouse Music Podcast

Two kings of kids music compare notes about their craft, about music and about living life.

Dan Zanes has long been one of the biggest names in the still-exploding genre of so-called “kindie-rock” — music made especially for kids. As the leader of the Grammy-winning Dan Zanes and Friends, he’s made over a dozen hugely popular and acclaimed albums and played concerts for adoring audiences all over the world.

And Bill Sherman has not only won a Tony, a Grammy and an Emmmy, he’s the music director of the iconic children’s show Sesame Street. As a songwriter and orchestrator, he’s responsible for the music you hear on the show, and works with the many musicians who drop in and sing: stars like Janelle Monae, Ed Sheeran and Will-I-Am, and many others. But perhaps more impressively, Sherman is one of the driving forces behind such magnum opuses as “Glory of Cookies,” “Grover Can Do It All” and “Guacamole: the Musical.”

In the mid to late ‘80s, Zanes led the scrappy and beloved New England roots-rock band the Del Fuegos. Here, Zanes talks about how he went from playing in a rock band that, as Spinal Tap keyboardist Viv Savage once put it, had a good time all the time to making wholesome music for kids, and how it helped him rediscover what he loved about making music in the first place.

Sherman discusses how Sesame Street music is made — with a lot of care, for starters — and what it’s like to work with the many stars who drop by the show… and lots of other stuff you’ve probably wondered about music at Sesame Street.

So these guys certainly had a lot of interesting things to say about making music for children, but they also had a lot of interesting things to say about making any kind of music. Like, why — and how — do you make music in the first place?

A note to parents: while the music these guys make is rated G, some of the language here is definitely PG.

With his band Dan Zanes and Friends, Dan Zane has toured the world, sharing handmade 21st-century social music with enthusiastic crowds of kids and kid sympathizers. From thrift shop basements to Carnegie Hall, from Brooklyn to Bahrain and beyond, the Grammy Award winner has been introducing new songs and reconnecting people to songs that have always been there, and still are — although people may have forgotten about them. You can follow him on Twitter here.   Bill Sherman is the Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning Music Director of Sesame Street. Currently, he is producing the original Broadway cast recording for Hamilton as well as the upcoming album from the band McLovins. Check out his site: www.popmusicmisery.com. (Photo credit: Jeff Zorabedian)