Uke til U Puke
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|Uke til U Puke|
|Origin||New York City, New York, USA|
|Members||John Derevlany-Vocal, Soprano Ukulele
Robert Moritz - soprano, baritone, and flying "V" ukuleles
Martin Kihn - bass
Stacy Morze - vocals, drums
David Plakke - saxophone
|Past members||Gideon Kendall
An early 1990s ukulele punk band, Uke til U Puke has been credited with pioneering a form of punk rock ukulele playing. Founded by John Derevlany and Robert Moritz, the band achieved a cult following for their efforts to over-amplify tiny four-stringed ukuleles, and then smash them mercilessly during performances. They are featured in the recent documentary Rock That Uke.
According to their website, Uke started when friends John Derevlany and Robert Moritz wanted to "make really loud music on tiny instruments" so they settled on the miniature acoustic guitar from Polynesia, the ukulele, Utilizing a unique tuning method and really big amplifiers. the duo signed up for an Open Mike performance at the downtown Manhattan campus of Pace University, Despite a lukewarm response from a somewhat befuddled audience, Derevlany and Moritz say that the ukulele is the future of music. After weeks of debate and a brief test-run as The Ukes of Hazard the band was formerly christened Uke (Til You Puke). Citing commercial accessibility concerns, Derevlany and Moritz changed the name two days later, so that the group's official name is Uke til U Puke. On June 1, 1991, Uke (Til U Puke) makes its formal debut at McGovern's Bar on Spring Street in the SOHO district of New York City. Over the next two years, McGovern's will become a hotbed of new musical activity with UTUP and the shock rock band Life in a Blender, at its increasingly popular vortex.For the show, Derevlany and Moritz don what will become a UTUP trademark, two matching long jet black wigs. The performance also features a gyrating, dyslexic go-go dancer named Debbie and a purportedly, five song set list. No record remains of which tunes were actually played, but it has been proven that "The Cereal Song (You're My Recommended Daily Allowance Of Love)" and their hallmark speed-ukulele cover of Tiny tim's "Tiptoe Thru the Tulips." The show also marks the first time that the band smashes their ukuleles on the floor during an encore, which has become their trademark.
Playing several shows at McGovern's to test their expanding collection of original material and custom-built ukuleles, most notably, a sparkling green creation with red light up flames, UTUP hones its act for the first Blowhole Theatre (a spiritual precursor to today's Dog & Pony Show). Headlining are UTUP and The Very Pleasant Neighbor. It is at this show that Derevlany and Moritz meet ukulele chanteuse Robin Goldwasser and Very Pleasant Neighbor frontman Gideon Kendall. After elaborate negotiations, Goldwasser joins UTUP. on baritone ukulele and cello. A month later, Kendall joins the lineup playing a drum kit made from discarded pickle buckets and a circular saw blade. Rhythm section complete, the band goes into the studio to record the first Uke (Till U Puke) demo. The cassette features "The Cereal Song", "Tiptoe." "Schnauzer Puppet", and "While My Ukulele Gently Weeps."
Over the next month, the UTUP foursome tours across the continental United States playing 27 shows in 25 cities. The expanded set list now includes 14 original compositions—including the anthemic 'Flipper's Got a Gun (But I've Got a Tuna Net)" and the tender 'Fuckin' Place' -- as well as the soon-to-be UTUP trademark covers of AC/DC's "Back in Black" and Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Uke", With solid radio support behind them. they say that while Heading back to New York City on Sunday, September 14, for a sold-out homecoming gig at McGovern's the following evening, the 1986 UTUP K Car strikes a possum in the middle of a road outside of King of Prussia, PA, sending the auto into a nearby cornfield. Derevlany and Moritz are rendered unconscious. When they awake, Goldwasser and Kendall are gone and presumed dead.
Moritz set out to restaff the UTUP rhythm section. After a prolonged search, he locates drummer Stacy Morze, Morze joins the band. Filling out the bottom end, classically trained flautist Martin Kihn sits in on bass.
They started playing again. They covered Lynyrd Skynyrd's classic 'Freebird', during which Moritz emotionally whispers into microphone "This one's for Robin and Gideon, wherever you are."
The final months of 1992 show case the creation that would become a staple to their live shows: the world's first hard-bodied Flying "V" electric ukulele.Custom- built by Moritz and Eric Westerlund, the Flying 'V" redefines the band's sound with a fuzz-tone roar previously unattainable via the acoustic constraints of the old soprano instruments. Immediately following the performance, the band takes-up residence in Manhattan's Dubway Recording Studios to produce their first album Pure Speed, Pure Ukulele, which features the song "I'm a Passive Aggressive Guy." Morze sings lead vocals on the Power pop "Get Away from My Boyfriend."
The band broke up in 1993, when during a live performance, a very intoxicated Derevlany began to beat his crotch-level ukulele against his crotch in a rhythmic motion to simulate sexual intercourse. In his intoxication, he removed his penis from his pants and began to play his ukulele with it. Moritz, totally disgusted with this display, removed his own ukulele, destroyed Derevlany's amplifier with it, and stormed offstage. There have been numerous fan attempts at a Uke til u puke reunion, but the riff between the two co-founders seems unable to be mended.
- "While My Ukulele Gently Weeps" - Derevlany/Moritz
- "The Cereal Song" - Derevlany
- "Get Away From My Boyfriend" - Moritz/Morze
- "I'm a Passive Aggressive" - Derevlany/Moritz
- "Tiptoe Thru the Tulips" - Arranged by Derevlany/Moritz