Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview with a Ukulele Bigwig - Aldrine Guerrero lists the origins of the term "bigwig" as coming from around the years 1725–35 and to mean an important person or more specifically, "person important enough to wear such a wig".  I'm hoping that we'll be able to score a series of interviews with notable ukulele players that are indeed important enough to sport such wigs; let's call them wigs of awesomeness.  So to kick off the first of the series, we have here an interview with Aldrine Guerrero, one third of the team (along with Ryan Esaki and Aaron Nakamura) that brings you Ukulele Underground (, and the face of many ukulele lessons, tutorials, and stellar music performance videos that are to be found on the internet.  If you play the ukulele, you've probably heard of him and may have read lengthy bios about the ukulele wunderkind and his many accomplishments as a musician, teacher, teenage heartthrob, and all around cool dude.  
Let's get started, shall we?

UCB: If you could invent a salty snack, what materials would you use, what would you name it, and how many varieties would you offer?  would there be a shrimp option?

AG: I would call my salty snack "Aldy juniors".  It'd be 2 balls of macadamia nuts covered in dark salty chocolate with small thread-like laces of sea salt all around it. I'd offer it as "plain lumps" or "with seaweed"
Shrimp isn't an option but I heard they go well with a single shrimp in the middle.

UCB: Au natural, more seaweed please!  If you had a chance to play a recurring character in any 80s sitcom, which would it be and why?

AG: The Hogan family. I'd play Hulk Hogan... well... for obvious reasons *flex*
I'd bodyslam the hell out of Mrs. Toole (if you know what I mean... hehe)

UCB: Huh huh, you said "Toole"... Okay so you're walking down the street and approach an intersection.  The light turns red but there are no cars.  Do you cross the street anyway or do you press the button and wait?

AG: The question is invalid, I never "walk" anywhere. That's what chauffeurs are for.

UCB: Point taken, answered like a true ukulele bigwig.  Well done, sir!  
How many marshmallows can you fit in your front left jean pocket before it becomes uncomfortable to walk?  How about the right jean pocket?

AG: On the left, it'd be about 3. I would hate for the marshmallows to ruin perfectly good denim. On the right, 376. Helps me with my pimp walk, WHAT UP?!

UCB: If you were at a zoo and could adopt any animal, which would you adopt and what would you name it?  The catch is, the animal has to live with you in your house and not in a cage or outside in the yard.  oh and you would have to dress it as your twin everyday. Take your time with this question.  It's not to be rushed.

I'd adopt one of those zoo workers (those filthy animals) and name him Eduardo. Dress him up like me and have him clean up after me >:0

UCB: My middle name is Eduardo, will you adopt me?  No? okay fine.

What color are my eyes?

AG: The color of of beautiful (quasihomo)
A rabid fan..... and Pikachu

UCB:  Awww, go on. Well, thanks very much for the interview Aldrine.  Your life is as interesting and colorful as your stack of Pokemon game cartridges.  Thanks also for being such a generous and upstanding member of the ukulele community.

For further reading, please check out the inimitable Aldrine Guerrero and his ukulele prowess at these following websites:

Stay tuned for more interviews from other ukulele bigwigs.  Please leave any comments and suggestions for future interview subjects below.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gear Review - Soprano Gig Bag from Mainland Ukes

I've never done a ukulele review before because I never felt confident that I could accurately explain how any particular uke sounds or feels.  The best I could probably do for a uke review would be to say "It's great!"  or maybe "Not shitty. I recommend this thing." A review that's not exactly helpful for anyone.  I'll leave ukulele reviews to pros like Ken Middleton and Deach.

Soooo, I thought I'd try to give a review of this ukulele gig bag (aka soft case, aka uke satchel) that I bought from Mainland Ukes a few weeks back.  I've had a chance to use it on several occasions where I had to take my ukulele on the go.  So far, I love it!  It's way lighter than my previous hard shell case and I like the ability to sling it over my shoulder and be discreet on public transit without having to constantly field questions about the contents of my uke case.  I mean, it looks like a old timey frontier canteen or maybe a designer colostomy bag so nobody will ever ask what's in it.  They wouldn't dare to!

"You can put your uke in there"
(click photo for larger image)
The gig bag has somewhere between a quarter and half inch of dense padding which makes the uke feel very secure when the bag is zipped up.  There is a block of foam inside that is designed to support the neck although i'm never sure those things are necessary.  If you sit on this case, there's no saving that neck!  The rubberized plastic handle of the gig bag is comfortable to grip and feels balanced when you hold it as you parade up and down the sidewalk.  The front pouch is spacious enough for storing your Flip camera, mini tripod, tuner, and 8.5x11" music sheets if you fold them in half.  Might be good for a hip flask and a few packs of cigarettes if you roll like that.  The single padded shoulder strap can be concealed by a zippered flap as seen in the photos below.  The gig bag is available in this teal color as well as black.  Mike from Mainland says it sells for the special homeboy discount price (for UU and UCB) of $17.95.  Note that this isn't the same gig bag that is currently available on the Mainland website.  I believe this one is better because of sturdier padding and the addition of a shoulder strap (oh and the color. teal is always better).  Please contact him at if you are interested in purchasing one.

"Like a transformer but way less violent."
(click photo for larger image)

Also, these gig bags are surprisingly versatile.  In a pinch, it can be used as a lunch bag, diaper bag, sassy purse for that blind date, knitting needle storage, grocery bag for salami shopping, etc.

"so many uses!"

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Game On

In 5 short weeks, it'll be time again for The Liver Olympics. I know everyone's been training hard & will come with their game faces on.

I refer, of course, to Adellapalooza 2.0.

It's been 3 years since the first installment- the fist time that any of the UCBers met live & in person. I will never forget that first day (though most of the first night is a blur. The last thing I remember is Russ saying
"This Alize is too sweet. Let's dilute it with vodka!" ). At that time, the ukulele community was considerably smaller- UU was in its infancy- collabs were still a new, novel thing. It seemed crazy to be getting together- completely unreal.

I was looking at some of the pictures this morning & I think what struck me most was "Shit. My house has not changed in 3 years. My crap is all still in the same places."

Nothing could compare to that first visit, but I know this one is going to be equally awesome. I finally get to see Klevin & Grumpy in my native environment, and take them on the 30 second tour of my hometown. Some overdue collabs will be recorded, the 2 other Asian people that live in this county will no longer feel alone, and I get to spend time with the best freaking assholes in the world.

3 years almost to the day. I cant remember the exact date of the first event, but I know it was mid November. It feels like much longer. The craziness that has ensued since then...

I have been consumed by jealousy over the last two get togethers that I wasn't able to attend, and I can't explain how much I'm looking forward to this. I've become quite the Suzie Q Homemaker lately- I have a garden, and I'm doing cross stitching... it's sort of bizarre. I enjoy it, I'm happy... but it's time for a good ole fashioned throw down. Time for the word "balls" to be heard in 20 second intervals, time for impromptu songs & nicknames. It's time for "Seriously, Russ & Booze? Another Neil Young song?", it's time for "Just drink it, you pansy". It's time for inappropriate behavior in public, and gay overtones. It's time.