K-I-D-E-O! We are Kideo!

So sang Ace Manners, Buddy Goodfellow and PJ Styles every Saturday morning in the early ’90s. Their show, Kids Can Rock and Roll, was a mainstay of weekend watching for me growing up, airing every Saturday on country cable.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, country cable refers to the few channels that came in even if you didn’t have real cable like the rest of the civilized world.

Instead, you got CFPL, TVO, OMNI, CBC, and Global.

The latter was where I came to love Kideo. In an age of increasingly lame Saturday morning cartoons (White Fang, anyone?), Kideo was a welcome rock and roll break.

Colourful personalities

Here were three colour-coded guys in wigs, masks and makeup that wrote and performed rock music, singing positive songs about being a kid, playing by the rules, and the challenges of being small, afraid of the dark, or just fitting in.

Kids Can Rock and Roll was released in 1986 and still holds up.
Kids Can Rock and Roll was released in 1986 and still holds up.

Ace Manners (the blue one), was all about being polite.

True to his name, you could always expect an “if you please,” or “thank you very much,” at the end of every sentence.

PJ Styles (the red one) was the wild man of the group (typical drummer…). PJ was all about doing everything, “in styyyyyle.”

On the bass was none other than the perpetually-optimistic Buddy Goodfellow.

Buddy was easily confused but always cheery.

Rocking on

I watched their show religiously every week, though by the time I really got into them I was probably a bit too old for their music. But the thing was – they were great musicians.

Ace could shred. Buddy could slap and pop. PJ was actually a pretty heavy drummer.

More than that, if you were a bit too old for the messages in their music, they shared insights on what goes into being a band. The episode that cemented my love of Kideo was their breakdown of the work that goes into recording an album.

Kideo's lyrics were fun, encouraging and educational. This is the back cover to In A World of Black and White, released in 1989.
Kideo’s lyrics were fun, encouraging and educational. This is the back cover to In A World of Black and White, released in 1989.

Second only to that was the ‘backstage’ look at Kideo in the studio and on stage.

Ace talked about guitars – from nuts to frets down to the bridge.

PJ walked viewers through his drum kit from the hi-hat all the way to the low toms.

Buddy talked about tuning a bass (he was years before his time).

The search

I hunted down a couple members of the band, but was unsuccessful in securing an interview. I can fully understand if they want their true identities to remain secret, or if they’ve just moved on plain and simple.

I was disappointed, but after my disastrous day with David Leibe Hart, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. At least I can still listen to their albums online.

It did nothing to diminish the fact that Kideo ruled my Saturdays and in general. If anything, I appreciate what they did even more.

The power of rock

Combining music and positive messages is nothing new. Fred Penner and Sharon, Lois and Bram did this daily on television.

But Kideo was different. They harnessed the power of rock and roll to convey a message and in doing so, made some really cool music. The effects are dated – that ’80s guitar chorus and massive drum reverb is omni-present in just about everything – but their actual musicianship was something else.

The only place to find Kideo now is in grainy videos on youtube.
The only place to find Kideo now is in grainy videos on youtube.

Kideo could have easily been an awesome mainstream rock and roll group, but instead they used their talents to encourage kids to be good citizens using rock, funk, and blues.

No matter where the members of Kideo ended up, their message is as true today as it was when it was written – Kids Can Rock And Roll!

I’ll end this article with the Kideoath:

We will share a common goal

We will show both young and old

We won’t stop ’til all are told

Kids can rock and roll!

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