Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players


Justin Roberts


Justin (acoustic guitar/vocals/songwriter) grew up in Des Moines, IA where he would wander aimlessly collecting autumn leaves on his way to school sometimes showing up very late for class. He was quickly dubbed the “absent minded professor” by his kindergarten teacher. He was also a failed little league baseball player at Raccoon Valley where he was much more interested in the tickets you could exchange for snow cones than the actual rules of the game. Now he loves learning rules to games — especially board games and pinball machines. His first instrument was the piano, followed briefly by clarinet, and after singing the solo in a variety show at the Des Moines Civic Center, he was asked to join a rock band in 7th grade and learned to play the guitar. From there, music followed him everywhere he went, to college where he formed the post-folk band Pimentos for Gus with Mike Hallenbeck and Tracy Spuehler to preschool where he started writing songs for his students. The absent minded professor almost became a professor after studying philosophy at Kenyon College and religious studies at the University of Chicago. But instead, he jumped in his old Volkswagen and started singing songs about the alphabet and whales wandering in the desert.

Favorite Album : “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys
Favorite Movie : Being There (as a child, he thought he was going to see Inspector Clouseau)
Favorite Book : Cane by Jean Toomer
Favorite Food : Pizza (New York style – Sorry Chicago) or Cassoulet
Favorite Instrument: Cello

Liam Davis


Liam (electric guitar, vocals, producer), whose name was almost Thor, is ticklish just above the knees. He likes baseball and old-fashioned stuff like ice cream parlors and manners. One time in 5th grade, he split his plaid trousers in gym class and had to walk home at lunch to put on different pants. But then a few weeks later he hit a softball over the right-field fence and won a cheeseburger. Liam started playing guitar at age 11 and his fingertips hurt real bad, but he loves playing music for you.

Favorite Album — The Cars, The Cars
Favorite Movie — Amadeus
Favorite Book — Huck Finn
Favorite Food — anchovy pizza
Favorite Puppet — Willy the Whale


Gerald Dowd


Gerald (drums/vocals) was born and raised in the Boston area, moved to Chicago in the latter part of the 20th century, and has lived there ever since. He’s been a card-carrying NRFN Player since 2006. In addition to traveling the world with Justin and the gang, he has also played and toured extensively with Robbie Fulks, Frisbie, Nora O’Connor and many others over the years. Through it all, his wife and kids have remained surprisingly patient. Gerald’s other interests include movies, travel, and in why that person is driving in the passing lane without actually passing anyone. And though it may seem at odds with his chosen profession, Gerald particularly enjoys sitting for long periods of time without making any noise. At all.

Favorite Album : “Bring The Family” by John Hiatt
Favorite Movie : Spirited Away (*if child-friendly needed)/ Withnail And I (*if not)
Favorite Book : Autobiography Of Malcolm X
Favorite Food : enchiladas con Molé
Favorite Baseball Player : Clell Lavern “Butch” Hobson


Jacqueline Schimmel


Jackie (bass/vocals/band archivist), a/k/a The Stickler, has been playing bass with Justin and Liam for more than 20 years, and writing that has made her feel ancient. She loves performing for fans old and new and hopes to see you at a show sometime soon. When she isn’t on stage with the Not Ready for Naptime Players, she plays in the bands Sunshine Boys and Tiny Bit of Giant’s Blood, and practices law on the side. Her favorite Justin Roberts song is (still!) “Maybe the Monster”, but she thinks they’re all pretty swell.

Favorite Album – The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society
Favorite Movie – I can’t pick just one
Favorite Book – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
Favorite Food – Greens. And also candy.
Favorite Beatle – George

David Winer


In 4th grade David (trumpet/keyboards/percussion) began playing trumpet with the school band but he’d already been playing guitar on his own for a year. At 15 he studied trumpet at the Interlochen Arts academy and shortly thereafter quit the High School band program and continued to study music on his own. Since 2001 David has been composing music for commercial clients including; Google, Fiat, American Airlines, Chevrolet, Lexus, Lego, Gatorade and many others. David joined the Not Ready for Naptime Players in 2002 on trumpet and keyboards. In 2016. David produced Frances England’s Grammy® Nominated “Explorer of the World.” He also has had the distinct honor of playing Theremin with the Illinois Philharmonic.

Favorite Albums: The Art of Noise – Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise
Favorite Movies: 2001
Favorite Books: Remainder by Tom McCarthy
Favorite Food: Cheeseburger & Fries
Favorite Trumpet Player: Lee Morgan



Three-time GRAMMY Nominee

Nine-time Parents’ Choice GOLD Award Winner

Nine-time National Parenting Publications GOLD Award Winner

Horace Mann Upstanders Award Winner

EB White Read Aloud Award Finalist

“Roberts continues to craft masterpieces in miniature, equivalent to A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh.”


National Public Radio logo

“Hands down the best songwriter in the genre.”


USA Today logo

“Some of the most inspired and intelligent kids lyrics ever.”


Amazon logo

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