Tag Archives: uke

ukulele version of ‘teenage dirtbag’

yes, i have a history of bashing the mighty-but-tiny uke.
a brief history of our relationship:

the newest dangerous trend amongst teenagers: my first uke post, after exposure to the tiny troublemaker at a youth camp.
clarifying my ukulele position: pretty much what it says it is.
no ukes: the t-shirt i inspired!
rock that uke: an extremely snarky post reviewing a dvd about ukes and uke players. this one got some very angry responses from uke afficianados.

but, alas, i have matured. or i have been worn down. or i’ve seen the light. or something.

i’ve also been a fan of the little indie pop-punk band wheatus for some time now. so, when i discovered this video of the ukulele orchestra of great britain playing the only wheatus song that ever got radio play – teenage dirtbag – i felt my internal ukulele tectonic plates shift. an internal uke earthquake, resulting in a uke-tsunami of enjoyment.

so, here, without a hint of malice or even a tiny uke-string of snarkiness, i present this gem for your uke-sumption:

rock that uke

i’m sure this post will get me called nasty names on some uke messages boards somewhere (seriously, that happened last time — i found the incoming link; they were angry little uke-lovers).

my ukulele journey continues, thanks, in major part, to my good friend (and new ys vp of marketing), dave palmer. dave lived at my house for a few weeks while house hunting in san diego, and before he moved his family from nashville. as a thanks at the end of the first week, dave graciously gave jeannie a nice bottle of wine, and gave me, well, a dvd called “rock that uke“.

i thought i’d moved beyond this. but i’m sucked back in.

the whole thing started back in the fall of 2005, after i’d spent a weekend speaking at a camp for high schoolers, and noticed the rash of bad uke playing breaking out like marijuana joints pulled from pockets. i posted this completely tongue-in-cheek bit of alarmist humor: the newest dangerous trend among teenagers

this was early in my blogging life, and i was worried about offending people (ha!). in fact, it had become clear that i actually had offended some people. so, idiot that i am, i tried to use humor to diffuse the situation, with this follow up post: clarifiying my ukulele position

NUkes small3.jpgsome were not happy with this, other were enjoying it greatly. one of the latter was youth worker (and now friend) bobbie, who created this logo and custom ordered it on tshirts and stickers. i received the stickers (and still have one stuck somewhere), but never got the tshirt, much to bobbie’s frustration with the custom tshirt maker. i wrote about this part too: ooh, i inspired a tshirt

i was slightly moved away from nastiness by a shockingly gorgeous uke performance of george harrison’s while my guitar gently weeps, and linked to it in this post: i will give this inch

and, now, the dvd from dave. here are some random observations:
1. there’s a surprising amount of variety in uke-music
2. some of it is actually enjoyable to listen to
3. hardcore uke players, if this dvd is a fair representation, are a unique and quirky group o’ peeps. seriously. i mean, i like unique people; but many of these folk had at least three toes across the line of ‘circus side show freak’.
4. even with the most interesting and original and skilled uke playing, i can only take so much.
5. back to the freak-factor: i found myself with these kinds of responses, watching the stories of uke fanatics:
a. “oh, he just needs a job.”
b. “ok, that guy just seriously needs a date.”
c. “i would not choose that guy to represent my musical fetish in a dvd of my creation.”
d. “it’s like the island of misfit toys.”
e. “and, how is that electric uke band thing working out for you?”

all that said (or, written, as the case may be), i will now leave you with an amazing little video of the ukulele orchestra of great britain pretending they can’t decide what song to perform; but it doesn’t matter as long as they all have the same basic song structure.