Why the switch from humorous, upbeat full band covers in Me First to the laid back, ukulele infused covers of Uke-Hunt?
Why does the caged bird sing? I know why the caged bird sings. But seriously, I believe the people can still find humor at my expense in my new outfit. Laugh with me, at me, through me; I will try to remain upbeat.
What do you consider when you’re figuring out what song to try to cover next?
Is this the one that will finally launch me into superstardom? Will this slightly altered version of somebody else's song make the people see in me what I've seen in myself all along? Will the original artist or his or her living heirs sue me into destitution?
What song has been the most fun to learn on the ukulele so far?
David Watts, by the Kinks was a lot of fun to learn and play.
I heard you picked up the ukulele first as a teenager, but really got into it when you had to learn an R Kelly cover – is that true?
Honestly, I never touched the uke as a teen. The first time would have been to play R. Kelly live. It just kinda branched out from there.
What was it about the instrument that got you hooked enough to form this project around it?
The name of the band came first. Luckily, I had been playing a song or two during Gimmes sets, and had a songbook or two. It's definitely a fun instrument to learn and play on.
The bass player tends to be the butt of a lot of band jokes, (ex: Q: What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians? A: A Bass Player.) – were people surprised that you put down the bass for the ukulele?
Any likeminded jokes made at your expense in the beginning stages?
No jokes, just drooling gibberish from the drunken denizens of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf when we hit the outdoor busking scene.
For beginners who haven’t gotten far enough with the instrument to check out your book/website, do you have some basic advice people who are feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to play for the first time?
For people looking to learn some cool stuff, I'd suggest picking up some songbooks by Lyle Ritz. Especially the orange one. Everything's broken down into simple, easy to read charts.
How does touring as Uke-Hunt compare with all the touring you’ve done in the punk scene over the years?
Touring with this band is kinda like starting over, with all of the good, bad and ugly that entails. Smaller, more open-minded crowds, played to in more intimate settings. Kinda nice, actually.
Do you think that The Aquabats should write a new song about you and your ukulele loving/teaching ways now? That last song is a bit dated now..
I would like Personal and the Pizzas to write a song about Spike, the pizza-maker. It's my "real" job, and I can make a pretty mean pie. That'd be pretty current. I still haven't heard the Aquabats song, so cannot comment on its quality or accuracy.
GO SEE UKE-HUNT AT CALL THE OFFICE IN LONDON ON JUNE 1ST OR AT THE BOVINE IN TORONTO ON JUNE 2ND!!!