Da Yoopers

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Da Yoopers
OriginIshpeming, Michigan, US
GenresComedy
Years active1975–present
LabelsYou Guys
WebsiteOfficial website
Members
  • Jim Bellmore
  • Lynn Bellmore
  • Jim "Hoolie" DeCaire
Past members
  • Jim Boyer
  • Dave "Doc" Bradbury
  • Matt Bullock
  • Dick Bunce
  • Steve Calhoun
  • Jerry "Cuppa" Coffey
  • "Cowboy" Dan Collins
  • Art Davis
  • Joe DeLongchamp
  • Chris Kukla
  • Jerry "Mungo" LaJoie
  • "Billy Bob" Langson
  • Pete "Casanova" LaLonde
  • Reggie Lusardi
  • Robert "Dill" Nebel
  • Jim Pennell
  • Joe Potila
  • Mike "Mikku" Powers
  • Bobby Symons

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".[1] 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.

History[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3] They were originally known as the Joe Arkansas Band.[4] 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".[5] 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,[3][6][7] including considerable regional airplay throughout the Midwestern United States and on Dr. Demento's radio shows.[8]

By the release of Camp Fever, the band's third album, Joe DeLongchamp had replaced Pennell as bass guitarist.[9] In addition, Lynn Anderson married Jerry Coffey, who joined as percussionist and occasional drummer.[3] 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.

Early 1990s–present[edit]

Yoopy Do Wah, released in 1991, was the band's first album on compact disc,[3] 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.[2] Bellmore's first studio appearance was on We're Still Rockin' that same year. Potila died in 2001.[10]

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.[11]

Lusardi died May 8, 2016.[12] 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.[13]

Tourist Trap[edit]

Da Yoopers Tourist Trap features the world's biggest chainsaw, Big Gus, as well as other intentionally gaudy museum items and merchandise.

Da Yoopers also own and operate a gift shop near Ishpeming called "Da Yoopers Tourist Trap", located in Ishpeming. This gift shop features various Upper Peninsula-themed merchandise.[6][14]

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.

Members[edit]

The band's membership comprises the following:[15]

  • Jim Bellmore: guitar, bass guitar, vocals
  • Lynn Bellmore: keyboards, vocals
  • Jim "Hoolie" DeCaire: drums, vocals

Former members[edit]

  • 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

Discography[edit]

All albums released on You Guys Records.

Albums

Album Release
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
Jackpine Savage 1999
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![16] May 15, 2018

Compilations

Album Release
For Diehards Only April 16, 1995
Diehards II 2004

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Da Yoopers Musical Comedy Show". Da Yoopers Official Website. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Da Yoopers". The Country Today. June 14, 1995. p. 24. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Weber, Barry. "allmusic Da Yoopers: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved July 21, 2007.
  4. ^ Dave Tianen (November 29, 1987). "Area fans say 'yah' to U.P. Band's music". Green Bay Press Gazette. pp. Scene 1. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  5. ^ Binder, David (September 14, 1995). "Upper Peninsula Journal: Yes, They're Yoopers, and Proud of It". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
  6. ^ a b Piirto, Jane. "Da Yoopers Deconstructed". A Location in the Upper Peninsula. Retrieved July 21, 2007.
  7. ^ "Da Yoopers Sing U.P. 'Classics'". Ludington Daily News. Associated Press. December 29, 1987. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  8. ^ Joe Blevins (December 3, 2015). "Beer, Guns, and Rusty Chevrolets: The Comedy Music of the Upper Midwest". Vulture. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  9. ^ Kloss, Gerald (July 30, 1989). "Let's Hear it for Da Yoopers, Once". Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  10. ^ http://www.genealogybuff.com/mi/marquette/webbbs_config.pl/noframes/read/52
  11. ^ Suzanne Weiss (August 19, 2010). "It's music to your ears". Manitowoc Herald Times. pp. B1, B2. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  12. ^ "Reginald W. 'Reggie' Lusardi". Mining Journal. May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  13. ^ https://www.miningjournal.net/obituaries/2020/08/robert-symons-2/
  14. ^ Maller, Pete (July 15, 1992). "Da Yoopers' Store Offers a Yoo-nique Tourist Experience". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
  15. ^ "Da Yoopers Biographies". Da Yoopers. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  16. ^ http://dayoopers.com/oldagecd.html

External links[edit]