Specks Bar & Grill

(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas, we’re here in Topeka at Speck’s Bar and Grill, 21st and Seabrook, the old Seabrook Tavern. The reason we’re here, and what we want to share with you, is something so special that happens every Sunday night for kids. If they’re big enough to walk and talk, they get up in front of a microphone and it’s just one of the most wonderful family events I’ve ever seen.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas, at Speck’s Bar and Grill. With me is Debbie Harrod, who is the owner here. On Sunday nights you know, this neighborhood bar, there’s nothing really spectacular about it, it’s just a great neighborhood bar. But on Sunday nights, something really special happens here, and Debbie why don’t you tell us about that. (Debbie) Its all ages, open jam and Kyler Carpenter does the jam with the kids and he is wonderful. It’s no cost to anybody, so anybody can come do it. Anybody can come watch. And Kyler and I, we were sitting around one day and we were thinking about doing birthday parties for kids and then we’re like, you know what would be fun and it would be free for the kids, is have an open jam for them. And Kyler works at the library and so he knows a lot of kids. And it’s really been fun the last year and a half because we see them grow and how much they come out of their shell. And they bring other kids. And it’s just so exciting to watch them change. (Deb) It’s exciting to watch it, it really is. And when we come like right now during the summer months, you’ve got it outside. You know in the winter, everybody is just crammed here in the bar and it’s great. And when she says all ages, you mean all ages. Because if they’re old enough to walk and talk, they can get up in front of the mic. (Debbie) Yes they can and Kyler is good about getting them up there. Sometimes they do their ABC’s you know and sing a variety of songs. We’ve added a little bubble pool, so they can do bubbles and we have chalk and snow cones free for them. Just all sorts of family fun. (Deb) Well, I hope you keep doing it for a long, long time because it’s just spectacular. Starts at 5 o’clock on Sundays and it’s just the best thing in town, the free snow cones, dollar hot dogs, I mean, yeah, very family friendly. (Debbie) Yes and it’s family involved in doing it. My son sits out and does the hot dogs. My niece brings her kids and does the snow cones and even brings the snow cone machine. And so everybody just pitches in to have fun for the kids. (Deb) Well, I have to say we had our grandkids here a couple of weeks ago or something and I was watching the kids last night, all the little girls and the kids and they’re just having fun with bubbles. When my grandkids came they dove into the pool, there was water splashed everywhere. It was total chaos, but they had a ball. (Debbie) Well, that is very good Deb to hear and you know, none of this would be possible without Kyler. Kyler is a big part of it. (Deb) Well, we’re going to talk to Kyler, you know the Pied Piper of Kansas, as I call him. Deb, we thank you so much. (Debbie) Thank you and I’m glad you enjoy it. (Deb) Oh we do, we do. We’ll be right back, stay tuned.


(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas and I have with me Skylar Kendall who is one of the stars of the Sunday night jam at Specks. And Skylar you are 12 years old? (Skylar) Yep. (Deb) So, how did you get involved with this jam and I know that you’ve got a history with Kyler Carpenter, so how did that get started? (Skylar) Originally I was doing jam sessions with Kyler at the Classic Bean and one day he invited me to come out here and check things out. So, I brought my bongos and all that good stuff, ukulele and yeah, we had a nice little jam session. At that point, it was a lot smaller scale than it is now, so actually we had it in, in that room there, so we hadn’t moved outside yet. (Deb) So, what…how long have you been playing and what instrument did you start with? (Skylar) I’ve been playing piano since I was about three and started ukulele and melodica fairly recently. (Deb) Now tell me about that melodica, because I think that when Kyler saw you first walk up with that thing, he thought it was just a toy and he thought oh, this is going to be nice, you know a little kid with his toy and you totally blew him away and everybody else. (Skylar) Well, firstly it’s a reed instrument, it’s just a little keyboard, you blow into it and that’s what the tube’s for, you press any keys that you’d like so, that’s pretty much all there is to it. Just play whatever you want on there. There is sort of a limit of how many keys you can hold down unless you can breath really hard. It’s a fun little instrument. (Deb) So, what does this jam mean to you? Do you look forward to this every week? (Skylar) Yes, I do. Really fun chance to get out there and jam with other people. Do some music. (Deb) So, what is your grand plan? What are you going to be when you grow up? (Skylar) I have no clue, probably a musician. At the moment I am doing electronic music under the name Cosmic Manta you can find it on Sound Cloud. (Deb) Say what? You are like… you’ve got music on line? (Skylar) Yes, I do. Cosmic Manta. I don’t know where that name came from, but… (Deb) So who home schools you? (Skylar) It’s my parents. It’s mostly done online and then they help me if I need it. So, it gives me a lot more time to work on projects and all that good stuff. (Deb) So, are the projects, is that primarily music or other things? (Skylar) Mostly. I do some other animation under the name Pair Cartoons. (Deb) Oh my god. So have you ever had your IQ tested? (Skylar) Yes. (Deb) And what is it? Something astronomical? (Skylar) I wouldn’t know, but…(Deb) They wouldn’t tell you? (Skylar) 145.  (Deb) Grandma is over there. 145? (Skylar) Yep. (Deb) Oh boy. Well, you know IQ is not the measure of everything, you know that doesn’t always measure talent and you’ve got that in spades. And Skylar we love coming out to see you every Sunday. Thanks so much. (Skylar) Thank you for having me here. (Deb) And one of these days folks we’re going to say you remember this episode because you’re going to be saying, “Hey, we remembered that kid!” Something big that he’s going to do. You’re going to say, “Hey, I remember seeing that kid on Around Kansas.” We’ll be right back.


(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. Josh Hoover’s with me and Josh comes from a musical family legacy or something. It’s like everybody in his family is just incredibly talented. And Josh is the new generation in that trend and he is here, a regular at Speck’s. Josh, good to have you with us. (Josh) Thanks for having me; I always like to be here. (Deb) So, tell me about how you got acquainted with Kyler and how you got involved with this jam. (Josh) Well, I started about six years ago; I met him at the library. And he brought me up to do an open mic thing at the library and he had me MC there. And then he had me out to a Classic Bean gig and it was about six years and ever since then he’s been inviting me out to do things and been a real great guy. So, one day a year and a half ago, he invited me up to this thing with a guy playing and Courtney was there and it was kind of his show. And then the next Sunday they said why don’t you come back and we’ll try doing a jam thing and it just kind of went off from there. And we’ve been doing it ever since. (Deb) So, tell me about how it feels to you when the kids who are three, five, like Skyler 12 or something, when they come, how does that make you feel to be involved in that? (Josh) You have these 8,7,6 year olds getting up there. Doing, you know, amazing music, I was like, they’re getting a way better head start than I did and that’s just really quite an amazing thing to see. So young and so talented, getting up there and doing amazing things is really nice. (Deb) So, people can find you on Facebook? (Josh) Yeah, You Tube and Facebook. There’s not a lot there right now, but the sites are up if you want to go follow and like it, it’s YouTube/Josh Hoover and Facebook.com/thatjoshhoover. It’s all going to be the same. (Deb) All right. We’ll be looking for it. And with me is Andrew Barber and Andrew is that drummer guy, the local drummer boy. And he is a regular here at the Speck’s jam every Sunday night and at your Dad’s jam? (Andrew) Yes, I’m there every Thursday night, over at Lazy Toad. I’m there every Thursday night and I try to pop in just about every jam around Topeka I can get my hand on. (Deb) Well, Andrew grew up in the music business. And Andrew’s Grand Daddy was one of the most famous DJ’s around, Red Barber. And then of course, Uncle Harsh Marsh, Marshall Barber, famous DJ. And your Dad Charlie is a well-known, well-respected musician. So, you really had no choice did you? (Andrew) Pretty much. He pretty much got me playing, really at the start of, around 3rd grade. I got my first drum set in 4th grade actually and then kind of started playing with him and Mark Toelkes from Mark and the Sharks, played with all them guys as a wee little lad and had my first live gig at the age of 12 and it just kind of exploded from there. (Deb) Well, playing with Mark and the Sharks, you got some great exposure with some really good musicians early on. (Andrew) Very much so. Actually I label those guys more as father figures to me. If it wasn’t for them there’s no way I would be where I’m at now with my music career. It was great, great, great exposure as a young person. And I see the same thing along with this Speck’s jam here on Sunday nights. I see all these young, extremely talented musicians come in. And it’s very heart warming to see them brought in to a great music community that’s built around the Topeka area here in the past couple of years. (Deb) That’s absolutely right. Andrew thanks. And we can find you on Facebook. (Andrew) Yes, just andrewbarber on Facebook and then also MoKan Lighting Siding on Facebook, Queen’s End Revenge you can find me on that as well. (Deb) All right, we’ll be right back with more of Around Kansas.

(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas we’re still at Speck’s where the music’s still going on out on the patio. But in here with me I’ve got Justin Fowler with Slow Ya Roll and Justin, great job as always. (Justin) Thank you very much, thank you. (Deb) So, you’re a full time musician, what are you doing at this jam on Sunday night? (Justin) Hanging out, playing music. Sunday’s usually the day off, so we’re playing Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then Sunday, most of the time I’m here. Some days it is a little rough. Or some days we’ve got a show. But yeah, it’s good. I like playing…I actually started coming earlier, when the kids are playing and stuff cause I really enjoy kind of, watching them. Skyler who was on here, I help him with the keys and musical things as well. So, it’s kind of cool. Yep. (Deb) Well, that’s pretty awesome to watch you; you’re obviously really good. And to watch you with the kids is really something special. Thanks for doing that. (Justin) Yeah, it’s fun, it’s fun. (Deb) OK, so we can follow you guys on Facebook? (Justin) Facebook, Twitter, Slow Ya Roll, slow ya, you know it’s kind of urban. And then r-o-l-l. Yes, check us out on Facebook. You can see some music, hear some music. Reverb Nation Lawrence, Kansas, you can request of song on KJHK, go ahead and do that right now. (Deb) All right. (Justin) So, it’s good. What do you want me to say? (Deb) That’s good. Thanks Justin. (Justin) Sorry, I’m not used to this. (Deb) You better get used to it, you’ve got a lot of interviews ahead. (Justin) I hope so. (Deb) With me is Jake Hodge and Jake is just an incredible performer. And on Sunday night at Speck’s after the kids get through, Jake takes over and it becomes more of an adult jam later on in the evening. But you also spend a little time mingling with the kids too. And there’s a little transition period in there where you give them the benefit of your wisdom and years. (Jake) Something like that. Not sure how much wisdom there is, but a few years in the business. (Deb) So, Jake you’re really, really talented. You’ve got to watch for Jake. Tell me about your life and what you do with music. (Jake) My life and what I do with music these days, lots of my time and attention comes to Speck’s here. I love doing this. And so everything I look forward to every week. It helps you grow when you play with other musicians. And so that’s like this last year is really built me up a whole lot. And then other than that, just playing around town, bars and coffee shops. Mostly the quieter places because generally I play music by myself, guitar and acoustic. But recently, especially with the way the jam’s been, I’ve been always trying to bring people in. And there’s a few people around town that I can get, like Charlie Barber bring in musicians on when you have gig, you know you share the stage, because you make each other better, built each other up. (Deb) Wonderful, well keep us posted. So can we follow you on Facebook and keep up with you that way? (Jake) Yes, you can. If you just look up Jacob Hodge on Facebook, there’s a page that you can just like. And if you want to be my friend you can look up Jacob B. Hodge, I guess. (Deb) We want to be Jake’s friend. Yes we do. (Jake) Come be my friend. (Deb) You are going to love Jake. You got to look for that; you’ve got to look for the album. We’re here for you honey. (Jake) Cool. Thank you. (Deb) We’ll be right back.


(Deb) Welcome back to Speck’s and with me is Kyler Carpenter who hosts the jam every Sunday night. Kyler’s day job is with the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. And Kyler how long have you been at the library and talk a little bit about what you do there. (Kyler) I’ve been at the library for about 15 years. I get to… do a lot of programming there at the library with story times and I get to book all the acts for our Wednesday Block Buster during the summer. We have every Wednesday outside performers from around the state. Jugglers, musicians, magicians come in and perform for the kids. And so it’s afforded me the opportunity to develop relationships with some really talented entertainers from around the state. That’s been a real blessing for me in my life and just getting to know other performers. And watching their shows and taking little things from what they’ve done. I’ve seen so many shows over here. I get to take a little bit of something that they do and combine it all into some of the things I do. It’s all fair game, right? (Deb) Well, Kyler is like the Pied Piper of Topeka and Kansas in general, the kids just follow him around. At Wheatstock, at Ward Meade or the Apple Festival, whatever event-if the kids are there and Kyler’s there, they’re just following him around everywhere. And what you guys have put together at Specks with the kids and the musicians is just amazing. And it was so much fun last night visiting with again, just like you said, musicians from around the state. Well, this community is so blessed to have you and so are the kids. You know, we were interviewing… we talked with Skylar and with Josh Hoover and you know you’ve really encouraged so many kids. They are exceptionally talented, but even the kids that aren’t exceptionally talented, there’s a real value in their getting out and playing and singing and talk about that. (Kyler) Years ago when I was younger, Stewart Yoho sold me a guitar. He sold me a guitar. This guy and he let me make payments on that guitar. He also sold me a little sound system and let me make payments on that sound system and that meant so much to me. And I thought if there is anyway I can do that for somebody, and more people. So, that’s one thing that’s really inspired me to want to just do whatever I could to help younger musicians that didn’t have the money to get a guitar or something like that. Hey I can help you with this kind of stuff. Once that child hears the applause when they’re done, it’s like a fever that you want to have again and again and again. (Deb) And that’s what is so great, because it doesn’t matter what the kid does, like Debbie said they get up and do their ABC’s, everybody applauds. (Kyler) Yea and you can just see, one night we had a girl get up there and when she was done, she had that mic in her hand, she said, “This feels really good. I am so glad that I got up here and did this.” And she sat there for 30 seconds telling us how much she loves just the fact that she had gotten past any nervousness and went ahead and grabbed that mic and got up there on stage and sang and it made her day. (Deb) We’ve got to go. Thanks so much for watching Around Kansas. (Kyler) My pleasure Deb, thank you.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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