|Origin||Ishpeming, Michigan, US|
Da Yoopers are a traveling comedy show and musical group from Ishpeming, Michigan, United States. They are known primarily for their humorous songs and skits, most of which center on life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The band's name includes the term "Yooper", slang for residents of that part of the state, and the use of "da" instead of "the" is typical of the Yooper dialect. Da Yoopers have released twelve studio albums and two compilations, all on You Guys Records. Many novelty songs from other groups are often incorrectly attributed to them including "Da Turdy Point Buck" and "Grandma got run Over by a Reindeer". The group's members are Jim Bellmore (guitar, bass guitar, vocals, songwriting, production) and his wife, Lynn Bellmore (née Anderson) (keyboards, vocals), along with Jim "Hoolie" DeCaire (drums, vocals, songwriting, production). The original band lineup in 1985 consisted of Anderson and DeCaire, along with Joe Potila (guitar, vocals, songwriting, production) and Jim Pennell (bass guitar, vocals), with a number of membership changes ensuing throughout the band's history.
Da Yoopers was founded in 1975 by Jim "Hoolie" DeCaire and Joe Potila, two songwriters from Ishpeming, Michigan. After unsuccessful attempts at getting songs cut by other artists, they began recording as Da Yoopers in 1985. The band's original lineup consisted of DeCaire on drums and Potila on guitar, with both men also handling songwriting and production duties; completing the initial lineup were keyboardist Lynn Anderson and bassist Jim Pennell. They were originally known as the Joe Arkansas Band. The band took their name from the word "yooper", a term for people of the "U.P.", an abbreviation for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and "Da" came from the Yooper dialect pronunciation of "the". The band toured throughout Michigan's Upper Peninsula for several years, before recording their first album, Yoopanese, in 1986 on their personal label, You Guys Records.
A second album, Culture Shock, was released a year later. This second album featured several comedy songs, including "Second Week of Deer Camp" and "Rusty Chevrolet" (the latter a parody of "Jingle Bells"), both of which became local hits, including considerable regional airplay throughout the Midwestern United States and on Dr. Demento's radio shows.
By the release of Camp Fever, the band's third album, Joe DeLongchamp had replaced Pennell as bass guitarist. In addition, Lynn Anderson married Jerry Coffey, who joined as percussionist and occasional drummer. It also included the first song of the band's career not to be written by Potila or DeCaire, as DeLongchamp wrote the title track. Yoop It Up, their fourth cassette, was released in 1989.
Yoopy Do Wah, released in 1991, was the band's first album on compact disc, released shortly after Dave "Doc" Bradbury took over on bass guitar. Also that year, a compilation titled For Diehards Only was released, featuring a selection of songs from the group's first four albums. Da Yoopers' 1993 album One Can Short of a Six-Pack featured both regular and Christmas songs, including a parody of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" titled "Grandpa Got Run Over By a Beer Truck". Potila retired in 1995 and was replaced by Jim Bellmore, who also assumed Potila's former role as co-writer and co-producer with DeCaire. Also at this point "Cowboy" Dan Collins joined as rhythm guitarist and occasional vocalist. Bellmore's first studio appearance was on We're Still Rockin' that same year. Potila died in 2001.
Two albums were released in 2000: Jackpine Savage and Naked Elves in Cowboy Boots, the latter an album of Christmas music. Both Dan Collins and Jerry Coffey left shortly after Naked Elves in Cowboy Boots. Songs for Fart Lovers and Diehards II (a second compilation composed of songs from the first four albums) both came out in 2004, with the two-disc 21st Century Yoopers in Space following in 2006. This album also featured several guest contributions in both performing and songwriting. Lynn, who divorced Jerry in 2005, was again credited as Lynn Anderson on 21st Century Yoopers in Space, and married Bellmore shortly after that album's release. The last touring lineup consisted of the Bellmores, Lusardi, Symons, and DeCaire.
Lusardi died May 8, 2016. The band's 2018 album Old Age Ain't for Sissies! features the Bellmores and DeCaire as the remaining three members.
Symons died August 20, 2020.
Da Yooper's tourist trap not only contains merchandise, but two museums as well. The first museum is a mineral museum that contains various minerals found in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It also has exhibits related to the local mining culture. This museum is found inside of Da Yooper's Tourist Trap. The other museum is an outdoor museum that is more oriented towards humor. It contains such things as a large chainsaw, called Big Gus, a large rifle, called Big Ernie, and Da Two-holer (a very special outhouse). This comical museum has various other displays in which tourists are encouraged to see in order to understand the humor of the Yooper culture.
The band's membership comprises the following:
- Jim Bellmore: guitar, bass guitar, vocals
- Lynn Bellmore: keyboards, vocals
- Jim "Hoolie" DeCaire: drums, vocals
- Jim Boyer: sketch comedy
- Dave "Doc" Bradbury: bass guitar, vocals
- Matt Bullock: sketch comedy
- Dick Bunce: bass guitar, sketch comedy
- Steve Calhoun: sketch comedy
- Jerry "Cuppa" Coffey: drums, percussion, vocals, sketch comedy
- "Cowboy" Dan Collins: rhythm guitar, drums, vocals, sketch comedy
- Art Davis: sketch comedy
- Joe DeLongchamp: bass guitar, vocals, sketch comedy
- Chris Kukla: sketch comedy
- Jerry "Mungo" LaJoie: sketch comedy
- Pete "Casanova" LaLonde: sketch comedy
- "Billy Bob" Langson: sketch comedy
- Reggie Lusardi: bass guitar, vocals, sketch comedy
- Robert "Dill" Nebel: sketch comedy
- Jim Pennell: bass guitar, vocals
- Joe Potila: lead guitar, vocals, sketch comedy
- Mike "Mikku" Powers: sketch comedy
- Bobby Symons: drums
All albums released on You Guys Records.
|Yoopanese||July 4, 1986|
|Culture Shock||November 1, 1987|
|Camp Fever||August 1, 1988|
|Yoop It Up||August 1, 1989|
|Yoopy Do Wah||October 1, 1991|
|One Can Short Of A Six-Pack||November 23, 1994|
|We're Still Rockin'||December 10, 1996|
|Naked Elves in Cowboy Boots||November 14, 2000|
|Songs For Fart Lovers||February 10, 2004|
|21st Century Yoopers In Space||2007|
|Old Age Ain’t For Sissies!||May 15, 2018|
|For Diehards Only||April 16, 1995|
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- "Reginald W. 'Reggie' Lusardi". Mining Journal. May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
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- Da Yoopers' Official Website
- Second Week of Deer Camp
- Rusty Chevrolet
- Carlisle, John (August 20, 2017). "What's a Yooper? Michigan's Upper Peninsula tourist trap aims to define it". Detroit Free Press.