Search for song titles, background info on our music, and more:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mini-tour wrap-up

Booker Dee (Chris Johnson) and I returned from a two-week trip late last Friday night. We played public shows in Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida, and visited friends, school audiences, and a radio show along the way, stopping also in Tennessee and West Virginia.

We made this jaunt primarily to play two public shows at the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa, FL on May 14th. I grew up in the Tampa area but I've never brought the whole band there so I was very excited -- and nervous. Otto von Dee (Ely Levin) and Moby Dee (Ari Dolegowski) were unable to make the two-week trip but flew down special to play these shows.

By anyone's estimation, the shows went well. We had good-sized crowds of kids and parents, most of whom had never seen us before. They got up and down and did all the interactive nonsense that's part of every DDDs show and many many people stayed after to ask us questions, catch up, have us sign stuff, etc. I got to see old friends and was proud to show off our wonderful band. Ultimately, though, these concerts were just two more shows out of the hundred or more I play every year. It wasn't until the next day, Sunday before last, that I really felt that unique thrill that professional live performers like us only get every once and while.

We played as part of the service at Thonotosassa United Methodist Church, a church where my stepfather Dennis is the pastor. Booker Dee / Chris, as you might know, has a day job as a church choir director and has asked the Dees and other musicians we play with regularly to join him on occasion to flesh out the tunes during the services he music directs in Jersey City so it made sense for us to stop by and help Dennis out. To be honest, though, we didn't really think of this church stop as one of the official Gigs (intentional capital "g") of the tour, just a fun, nice thing to do while we happened to be in Thonotosassa (a ruralish suburb of Tampa near the University of South Florida).

As it turned out, this gig / not gig was by far the most meaningful stop on the tour for me. Not for any religious reasons. Although I like church as a place to go, I'm unsure about what I believe and... I don't want to go into that right now. What made this such a powerful event was the unique enthusiasm of the congregation, a mostly elderly group that stood up to dance with us on "Tub-Tub-Ma-Ma-Ga-Ga;" sang "He's Got the Whole World," "Great is Thy Faithfulness," and other hymns loud enough to drown out the band; and gave a standing ovation to "Shalom Aleichem," an old sacred Jewish tune that Moby / Ari led. I should mention that Ari is the driving force of one of the grown-up incarnations of the Dees, a band specializing in klezmer and swing primarily for synagogue and other Jewish audiences. We wanted to make sure to share who we truly were with this small church: four friends from different religious and cultural backgrounds who have somehow figured out how to create lots of great music together for years.

This trip made me question whether we should even bother playing for the general public anymore. I'm being dramatic -- I'm not saying we're going to stop doing public shows. But on this trip it was the school audiences (in Lexington, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Atlanta) and that one church group that really made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile. I came back resolved once again to figure out a way to bring our music to new audiences, audiences who we we'll never reach via expensive public concerts, television shows, parenting websites, magazines or any of the other outlets that I spend so much of my time (mostly unsuccessfully) pursuing. Ever since I formed the Dees, I've wanted to be a service-based band, one that not only shares our music as widely as possible but also gives voices to people who aren't usually heard. How to do that better I don't know. Ideas?

Blah blah blah

Lloyd (Ulysses S. Dee)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Our mini-tour: (almost) complete itinerary

The Deedle Deedle Dees are hitting the road next week for a mini-tour. I say "mini" because most of the shows we're playing are going to be smaller-scale two-man gigs featuring me and Booker Dee (Chris Johnson). In addition, we're not going to be doing the relentless schedule of gigs we usually do on these trips (18-25 gigs in two weeks...). Instead, we'll be spending much of the trip rehearsing -- and writing -- tunes for the new album we're going to start tracking with Dean Jones on Memorial Day weekend. We'll also be playing several two-man shows -- a handful that are open to the general public, but most of them at schools, day care centers, retirement homes, churches, synagogues, and other spots that have asked us to come.

We'll send videos from most of our stops featuring new tunes, tunes we're working on, and songs we just feel like singing in a particular place. As always, check our YouTube for the latest.

There will be at least two full-band shows on this trip and these are going to happen in Tampa, FL (my hometown) at the Glazer Children's Museum. Dees Otto von and Moby (Ely Levin and Ari Dolegowski) are flying down special for these. I've never brought the whole band to the place where I spent the first 18 years of my life -- I can't wait.

Here are all our appearances that are open to the public. When we list a city without a venue it's because we'll be there for school shows or other stuff that's not open to the public (radio tapings, etc). But if you see that we're playing in your town or near it -- and you'd like us to play at your kid's school or another venue, send me an e-mail and maybe we can make it happen. My e-mail is thedeedledeedledees AT yahoo DOT com.

Tuesday, May 10
Lexington, KY - Lexington Public Library
Two-man performances by Ulysses S. Dee and Booker Dee
Two shows: 9am, 10am

Wednesday, May 11
Knoxville, TN

Friday, May 13
Tampa, FL

Saturday, May 14
Tampa, FL - Glazer Children's Museum
Two FULL BAND shows: 11:45am, 3pm

Free with museum admission

Sunday, May 15
Thonotosassa, FL

Monday, May 16
Jacksonville, FL

Tuesday, May 17
Atlanta, GA - Imagine It! The Children's Museum of Atlanta
A two-man performance by Ulysses S. Dee and Booker Dee
Free with museum admission

Wednesday, May 18
Chattanooga, TN / Athens, GA

Thursday, May 19
Decatur, GA - Little Shop of Stories

Saturday, May 21
Virginia / Maryland

see you soon!

Lloyd (Ulysses S. Dee)