Oakland, California singer/songwriter Ira Marlowe was performing a free kids' concert for a local non-profit when it first happened. "Play it again!" the kids yelled, "Play it again!" Surrounded by a horde of five-year-olds in the gym of a center for at-risk children, Marlowe launched into his song, "Ghost Story" for the third straight time. He'd already played "Haunting School", his only other spooky composition, twice. "That's when I first discovered how many kids love anything scary, spooky or gross. The edgier stuff holds their attention, challenges them; it doesn't seem babyish." Marlowe soon went to work on an entire CD collection of songs that go bump in the night: THE CHILLS-Creepy Songs for Courageous Kids, just released this September on his Brainy Tunes label. "I think I've finally found my true calling," he says with a grin. Marlowe describes The Chills as, "An imaginary band of monsters, each a little different, each bringing something ghastly to the table. Think of them as an undead version of The Village People." The truth behind their birth is more like Marlowe-as-mad-scientist: working late hours, assembling his creature in the dim light of his garage/studio, playing almost all the instruments himself. While Marlowe was a little surprised at the appeal of spookier kids' songs, he was even more surprised to find that no one else seemed to be writing them. "There's a whole growth-industry of scary books for kids: Lemony Snicket, J.K. Rowling, the Goosebumps series, Twilight.... There are scary movies and scary video games, but when I Googled 'scary music' all I found were compilations with 'Monster Mash' and 'Purple People Eater", songs written forty years ago." So he set to work. To be sure he was on the right track, he posted in-progress songs on the Brainy Tunes website, inviting Facebook friends around the world to test them on their children. "My songs about 'The Blob' was preceded by some funny dialog. Kids loved that," says Marlowe, "So I added numerous little scenes. Kids loved 'The Boogerman,' so I made him even more, uh, vivid." Parents liked the educational aspects of the songs, sprinked with adult-level vocabulary. But the main thing Marlowe learned from his online focus group was that he needn't worry about making the songs too scary. "Kids are tough these days," he laughs. "All I kept hearing was, basically, 'Bring it on!'" While children don't seem that scared by the scary songs, early responses to The Chills show parents expressing relief. "My Facebook friends keep saying that once kids enter kindergarten, there's already social pressure to stop listening to 'baby music'," Marlowe explains. "Kids start moving toward what older kids are listening to and that can mean metal, rap and punk, a lot of which is not exactly suitable for that age, at least lyrically. The Chills are just dark and edgy enough to seem cool to kids. And, of course, they rock!"