Howdy gang. So, it's officially been a year of making videos for Adventures in Nerdery so I've decided that it is time to retire Ukulele Guy. This will be the last video that I add to the YouTube channel and probably the last blog post as well. It's been a fun ride and I met lots of rad people, heard a lot of rad songs and learned a lot about Ukuleles. But, dry your eyes friend! I'm making more videos than ever over at Adventures in Nerdery so you should come check it out. In case you aren't convinced, dig on this video that explains what I do over there. I bet you are gonna like it!
Yeah, I get it. I understand that I pretty much dropped off of the face of the earth. But, it's only because I've been doing important work. That's right, I've been making a difference, y'all.
I've been playing VIDEO GAMES!
No be fair, I've also been crazy busy with work, my old heavy new wave band (VOLUMEN) had a reunion show at the last Total Fest, here in Missoula and I still occasionally play ukulele with Jerry in our novelty act.
But, fret not, ukulele-loving folk, because Jerry and I have been making recording our Tuesday video game sessions and the results are (sometimes) hilarious. Also, each week we switch instruments to play the theme song, so there is still some ukulele up in this piece.
Here, check out the outtakes for this week's episode and you'll see me playing my Kala Pocket Ukulele while Jerry pretends to play bass.
If that tickles your fancy, you should watch the full episode. Or, if 17 minutes is too big of a commitment (believe me, you won't regret it), then check out this 7 minute episode featuring Chicken Lady!
The premise of "Who's Better?" (that's the name of the series, by the way) is that we challenge each other (and occasionally a guest star) to a video game battle. The winner gets bragging steroid store rights for the week. I designed the contest because I figured it would just legitimize all of the Jerry-bashing I already do. But... so far it hasn't been going my way.
Ok, well, I hope you join us. I promise to keep putting ukuleles up in there.
First off, let me apologize for the total lack of posts for the past few months. It's true, I'm a lazy jerk. But, let's not dwell on it. I've got some exciting news and I want to share it right up in yer face!
See, I was working with some fellas on a Cure cover project (in which I played bass) and we wanted to do a show as a bit of a teaser before our real show. Dave, who was the man behind our Cure cover band, asked if I wanted to do some ukulele stuff to open the show. Now, I've played many a show with different bands (playing either bass or guitar), and I've played ukulele in front of lots of folks around the campfire, but I don't think I'd ever played a ukulele "show" at a bar or venue. So, I was pretty stoked and nervous.
I said yes to Dave but immediately decided that the ukulele project couldn't just be me. I needed a band! So, I turned to my buddy Jerry (who had once accompanied me on drums around a campfire "show" in the recent past) and asked if he wanted to be a part of this here thing. I sent him links to the songs that I wanted to do and also showed him this Weird Al video to give him some ideas for drums.
Next thing I knew, I had both a drummer and also a drummer who used a suitcase as his drumset. Total magic! We practiced a total of two times and decided that was enough preparation. We hadn't really decided on a name for the band, but we are now known as "Shane Hickey and his Magical Ukulele.... and Jerry". I think you can probably see where that is going. Anyway, nameless and flush with two complete practices, we were now ready to rock the Bejeebus out of the VFW.
Apparently, though, Jeebus had something else in mind because our little town was crushed under a mighty blizzard that night. It turned out to be a mixed blessing, though. Sure, many folks didn't come down to the show because they didn't care to spend 2 hours digging their car out of their own driveway. But, the folks who made it to the show certainly didn't want to drive in those conditions again, so we had ourselves a captive audience! Thankfully, my foxy wife was onhand with her camera to record much of the show. Now you can feel like you were actually there!
Santa Claus Needed a Drink:
Trailer Park Moms:
Drank Too Much Today:
Punk rock Friends (are broke):
There was another song or two that evening but I can't post everything because there is still a chance that my Mom will read this and the other songs are pretty offensive. Heh.
You know how it is. You have some songs that are just touchstones. Every time you hear them they transport you back to a certain place in time or maybe just trigger your brain to release extra serotonin or something. Well, for me, one of those touchstones is Dance Hall Days by Wang Chung. If you aren't familiar, check out this video. Note, there are two videos for this song, but the following video is better for reasons listed below the video.
1. Gum-chewing violin player looking directly into your soul
3. Sweaters tucked into pleated pants!
4. You can almost hear the video director's instructions to the band. "Ok guys, I need you to look like condescending pricks who are laughing over some hilarious inside joke. Can you do that?"
Sadly, my video has none of that.
Here are my corrected tabs.
Wang Chung - Dance Hall Days tabs by Ukulele Guy Note: Except for the Chorus, play the F, C and G like so: F - 2030 C - 0033 G - 0232 F C G F C G F C G F C G [Verse] F C G Take your baby by the hand F C G And make her do a high hand stand F C G Take your baby by the heel F C G And do the next thing that you feel [Refrain]: (play single note) F C G We were so in phase F C G In our dance hall days F C G We were cool on craze (play chords again) F C C5 G When I, you, and everyone we knew F E A B C Could believe, do, and share in what was true [Chorus] F C G F C G Oh, I said Dance hall days love [2nd Verse] F C G Take your baby by the hair F C G And pull her close and there there there F C G Take your baby by the ears F C G And play upon her darkest fears [Refrain] [Longer Chorus] F C G F C G Oh, I said Dance hall days love F C G F C G Dance hall days Dance hall days love [3rd Verse] F C G So take your baby by the wrist F C G And in her mouth an amethyst F C G And in her eyes two sapphires blue F C G And you need her and she needs you F C G And you need her and she needs you F C G And you need her and she needs you F C G And you need her and she needs you F C G And you need her... and she needs you [Refrain] [Chorus] F C G F C G Oh, I said Dance hall days love F C G F C G Dance hall days love F C G F C G dance hall days Dance hall days love F C G F C G dance hall days Dance hall days love
I can't believe I haven't made a video with my Kookalele or Surfalele yet. Blasphemy! In my defense, I think I was waiting for the new strings to come in. But, I couldn't resist it any longer. So, here is a quick video that shows you 3 out of the 4 "Kooky Ukes" from Swagerty. Don't hold your breath for the 4th one (The Lil' Guitar). I saw one on eBay recently and it was like $600. Oof.
Oh yeah, I apologize for the crazy noise during parts of the video. That is what it sounds like when someone (in this case, my foxy wife) runs the vacuum cleaner in the room above my office.
Oh yeah, if you don't recognize that song, then you should check out this madness. And, if you like the look of these title sequence then you should totally start watching this show. It rules!
As you probably all know, I'm an unabashed Stephin Merritt groupie. Magnetic Fields, Gothic Archies, you name it. I like it all. I just can't get enough of his gloomy pop melodies. So, of course I was going to buy the new record, Obscurities.
This was right around my birthday, that I went looking. And, sure enough, when I tried to purchase the CD, Amazon warned me that someone might have already bought it for me. Eh?! Huzzah! Turns out it was my sweet peach of a wife. Anyway, the whole record is pretty good, but two songs, in particular, really stand out. The first is the more electronic version of "I don't believe you" (a folkier version having been released on the "I" record). The second highlight of the record is a previously unreleased song called "When you're young and in love". And, that's the song I can't get outta my blasted head. So, I attempted to exorcise it through ukulele video.
Since I couldn't find any chords for this song already posted out there, I came up with the following arrangement. The only questionable chord in there is Dm7. But, I didn't have the CD handy when I did this so I couldn't really compare it. When I listen to it again, I'll update these chords if that Dm7 sounds goofy.
When You're Young and In Love by Stephin Merritt Tabs by Ukulele Guy C - 0003 G - 0232 Am - 2000 Em - 4432 F - 0201 Dm7 - 2213 C G You can teeter on the brink of a precipice Am Em Ov'r an infinitely deep abyss F C And somehow not even notice this G When you're young and in love C G You can grow a little older every day Am Em Watch your stupid life wasting away F C Somehow everything is a-ok G When you're young and in love F But when you're not, C The poisoned fangs of time G Become quite plain F When you're not, C It almost seems a crime Dm7 G Not to go insane You can whirl and twirl on the world's carousel Hurdle round and round, and feel quite well Never even knowing you're in hell When you're young and in love You can know the world has nothing left to give Be condemned to die, content to live, And be happy--if and only if, you're young and in love But when you're not, The poisoned fangs of time Become quite plain When you're not, It almost seems a crime Not to go insane You can teeter on the brink of a precipice (A precipice!) Ov'r an infinitely deep abyss (A deep abyss!) And somehow not even notice this When you're young and in love You can grow a little older every day (Old, every day!) Watch your stupid life wasting away (Wasting away!) Somehow everything is a-ok When you're young and in love
I just randomly stumbled across this video recently. It looks like it was also featured on NPR, so I'm not sure how I missed it there. Anyway, it's Lisa Hannigan (who I might need to learn more about). She has an amazing voice and she's Irish. So, that's a win/win. Oh yeah, and she plays ukulele!
I guess they filmed this video in Dublin and they did it in one take. Once you see the video you'll see why she might have been reluctant to do a second take. It seems like they start off having the different paint represent different instruments but then it sorta goes haywire. Anyway, it's a nice little song, even if the ukulele isn't the main component.
I'd like to consider myself as a fairly nice guy. I mean, I'm not a totally sociopath at least. I honestly want other people to be happy and whatnot. But, all that said, I can definitely tell you that as I age (poorly) I find that I have less and less tolerance for douchebaggery. Odd... for some reason my spellcheck is telling me that douchebaggery isn't a word. Clearly this thing is faulty.
Anyway, despite all of my best intentions. I often find myself writing "mean" songs. Some of the oldest Volumen songs (and nearly all the PWT songs) are mean to some person or other. I guess I just can't help being an asshole. But, on the opposite side of it. It never hurts to take yourself less seriously, right? I mean, I'm more than willing to have it thrown right back in my face.
So, why all the setup? Well, being a "weirdo" into "weird music" I have lots of "weird" friends (surprisingly enough). Well, I love all of those weirdos and the weirdos that they introduce me into in other town. But, in my journeys and tours (especially in Seattle and Portland) I've noticed a particular kind of (slightly disingenuous) weirdo. So, I attempted to document this character in song. I probably should have written another verse or two, but you know how I roll. I'd rather just blast a song out and then never look back. So, let's blast away, shall we?
If you feel like playing along. Here's the tabs. NOTE: In my head the parentheses are a call and response type of thing. So, I'm hoping my brother will sing those parts for me if we manage to play this live ever.
Portland Man by Ukulele Guy
A He got tight pants (high waters) C white belt (doesn't matter) D He got a squiggly design on his v-neck shirt C D7 5 o'clock shadow and his feelings are hurt A He's got principles (I believe him) C LAST YEAR HE WAS ALMOST TOTALLY VEGAN D He heard about your favorite band before you did C D7 you read it in mojo (he already knew it) twirly C A He's a..... Portland man twirly C F G Portland man He's a..... Portland man twirly C D7 A He's got lady friends (ad infinitim) C longboards (oh, he'll ride 'em) D he knows a little place that has the best soy latte C D7 he's got perfect hair, and glitter on his body He rocks facial hair (with irony) he digs mp3 piracy his cigarette brand? (american spirits) you like his messenger bag? don't get near it chorus He's a... C E7 adorable hipster, but he's gaining weight F G because that pabst blue ribbon tastes so great
Well, if you ever wanted to know what Dead Puppies sounded like when it was being performed by a traveling minstrel on a lute. I can help you out. Well, I don't actually have a lute, but I assume it sounds much like my 6-string ukulele.
What's that? You don't know what Dead Puppies is? Holy crap. Didn't you listen to the Dr. Demento show on the radio, growing up? What's that? You don't know what the radio is? Freaking kids today and your fancy interwebs and whatnot.
Here's a live version of Ogden Edsl rocking Dead Puppies. I dunno about you guys, but I totally want to hang with these dudes. Maybe it's the beard talking.
And here is my bathroom version of Dead Puppies.
This song is just one of those touchstones for me. I can't explain in. In fact, my brothers and I are working on a ridiculous requirements for our funerals. For example, the other brothers have to have Coolio hair, or everyone at the funeral must listen to 3 hours of my old 4-track recordings.... etc. Well, I'm pretty sure Dead Puppies is going to need to be played at my funeral and my ghost will ensure that everyone is singing along.
So, the night before I went on a little mini-vacation to Wisconsin, I got my 6-string Aquila string set in the mail. So, I strung up my new OU-26T 6-String Tenor Ukulele so I could show you guys how it sounds with the proper strings on there. I think you'll agree that the sound differences between my 6-string tenor uke and my low-G tenor uke are pretty dang dramatic!
If I don't seem as perky in this video, it's because my wife and two boys had been gone for over a week at this point. So, if you have kids, then you know how that goes. It's like 2-3 days of late nights, beer, bad movies and video games and then the rest of the days are spent moping around the house. I honestly missed the sound of the boys screaming at each other. Heh.
Also, I'd thank you to not look up my shorts during the whole video.