The Path of the (Yodeling) Pickle

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The Path of the (Yodeling) Pickle

Yodelling Pickle by Archie McPhee

      Joe's Yodel (Joe J Thomas)

How did learning to yodel lead to Weird Al, George Takei, The Today Show and Gorillaz?

It all began in 2006, with a contest by the Seattle novelty company Archie McPhee.

They were searching for a yodel.

I was a singer, but had never yodeled. So I consulted the internet and found YodelCourse.org

After some free lessons, I submitted my contest entry and forgot about it.

… until 100 rubber chickens showed up on my doorstep!
Archie McPhee - Deluxe Rubber Chicken

I’d won the contest, and the prize was 100 rubber chickens, plus my yodel in a toy.

Now, the first toy (Feb, 2007) was not the Yodeling Pickle, but instead was the “Remote Control Hopping Yodeling Lederhosen” (with a knockwurst remote, of course):
Remote Control, Hopping, Yodeling Lederhosen

Then in April of 2007 came the now famous “Yodeling Pickle”:
Yodelling Pickle by Archie McPhee

In December of 2008, the Today Show with Cathy Lee and Hoda reviewed the pickle:
Yodeling Pickle - Kathy Lee Gifford
Kathy Lee Gifford sang with it and said “Nothin’ beats the Singin’ Pickle!”

Sales of the Yodeling Pickle were great, and soon they came out with other yodeling products (more on those below).

On December 26, 2010, the Grammy winning band “Gorillaz” album “The Fall” featured the yodel on track 15: “Seattle Yodel”:
Gorillaz - The Fall - Front Cover

You can download the whole album for free at: Gorillaz – The Fall (at Archive.Org)

      Gorillaz - Seattle Yodel

 
On August 5, 2011, Archie McPhee released their own video of the track:

On March 26, 2013: Archie McPhee announced “International Yodeling Pickle Day“!!!

On May 22, 2013: George Takei posted his comedic review of the Yodeling Pickle on Amazon:

My latest Wednsday Weview. This item was NOT what I thought it was. At all. http://amzn.to/14Rz5aU

Posted by George Takei on Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yodeling Pickle - George Takei + Weird Al Reviews

And on June 17, 2015: Weird Al Yankovic tweeted this (along with a review on Amazon)
“You can have my electronic yodeling pickle WHEN YOU PRY IT FROM MY COLD, DEAD FINGERS.”
Yodeling Pickle - Weird Al Yankovic

On June 2, 2017: Gizmodo posted an article on Gorillaz and the Seattle Yodel Track:

On July 16, 2017, George Takei included the Yodeling Pickle in a video review from Knowable:

Weird Products From Amazon

Because who couldn't use a yodeling pickle? via Knowable

Posted by George Takei on Sunday, July 16, 2017

 
My friends still report in when the Yodeling Pickle is on the local news… Expect more yodel in the future!

Other Yodeling products from Archie McPhee:

Gerkin for a living,
Joe “Yodelling Pickle” Thomas

 

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

 

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Ode to Obi-Wan

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Ode to Obi-Wan

(from “Star Wars: A Forced Musical”)

aired on the Dr Demento Thanksgiving show Nov 18, 2017 (click for info)

Illustrations by K. Woo
Lyrics and Voice by Joe J Thomas
Copyright 2017 Joe J Thomas, Joe’s Dump
www.JoesDump.com
Not a Quinn-Martin Production

~~~ Lyrics ~~~
Ode to Obi-Wan
(from “Star Wars: A Forced Musical”)
Written by: Joe J Thomas

Oh my father was full of midichlorians they say
That’s why the force in me is so hot
I’d go out in my speeder shootin’ womp rats all day
But now tell me what have I got?

If you’re gonna be a Jedi
You wanna have a dead eye
With a saber or blaster gun
But you gotta have a master
When you’re headed for disaster
Oh the man that you want’s Obi-Wan

He’s a guy who knew your father
But don’t you go and bother
Asking what dear ole’ dad become
Cuz you might be relater
To someone named Darth Vader
No you can’t trust that old Obi-Wan

Obi-Wan! Obi-Wan!
Did you know that he trained Anakin?

If you’re the type of mister
Who’d go and kiss his sister
And fly round with a guy named Han
Get your butt to Dagobah
You gotta train with Yoda
See the ghost of your friend, meet your paw in the end
But it all began with Obi-Wan

If you sneak into the Death Star
And your Jedi skills are sub-par
All your friends will be suffer-un
You could lose a hand to daddy
See a sarlaac eat a baddy
Have a trash bin squeezin’ your buns

You may meet in a cantina
With a ugly dude who’s meaner
Than a Wookie with fleas by gum
Or hear ghosts in your X-Wing
Say your nav comp is a bad thing
Never watch movies three, two, or one

Obi-Wan! Obi-Wan!
Get the heck out my head Obi-Wan!

If you’re knocked out by a Wampa
Or stuffed into a Ton-ton
Win a race on the Kessel run
Defeat an evil empire
Then dance around a campfire
Carbonite, Saber Fight, Ewoks might die of fright
Heck you might even see Obi-Wan

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

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Man of Collusion – Parody Song

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“Man of Collusion” (parody of “Land of Confusion” by Genesis)

~~~ Lyrics ~~~
“Man of Collusion”
(parody of “Land of Confusion” by Genesis)
Lyrics and Vocals by Joe J Thomas
———-
He’s cooking up a thousand schemes
Inspiring a million memes
But I can read his midnight tweets
I’ll bet his phone overheats

Now did you watch Fox News today?
They say the danger’s gone away
But CNN’s still ringing in my ears
Showing all the president’s fears

There’s alternate facts
Too many lies
Constitutional crisis
And not much truth to go round
Can’t you see this is a man of collusion?

Putin helps Trump with winning
Top secrets are what he’s giving
The Whitehouse is all on trial
His voters in deep denial. Yeah.

Hey businessman where are you now?
Off golfing like some well fed cow
Or hiding in your golden tower
You’re losing control of your power

There isn’t a wall
No health plan or tax
There’s obstruction of justice
But there’s not much truth to go round
When can we convict these men of collusion?

Kushner and Flynn and Sessions
Have gotten the Russian’s blessings
With Manafort, Page and Stone
Protected with Trump by Michael Cohen

Trump teases Kim Jong Un
He acts like a New York goon
This tiny brained orange hair villain
Is toying around with killin’ us

 

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

 

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Brown Derby Jump (cover song)

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Brown Derby Jump

This week I’m posting a cover version of “Brown Derby Jump” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.

I like to keep my singing chops on par, so I try to challenge myself with new material. On this song, I found the timing of the words and music to be very interesting.

Hope you enjoy it!

      Brown Derby Jump (cover song by Joe J Thomas)

 

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

 

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Music Monday!

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Music Monday!

Here at Joe’s Dump, we’ve got a lot of music going on…

So, to help keep it all organized and handy, we’ve added a new Music Menu Item (at the top of every page)

A few of the articles you’ll find there include:

… Plus: Personal Profiles, Politics, Parodies, and plenty more!!!

Music Trivia Two-fer

This week, I’ve also got two trivia stories about some surprising back-stories to popular songs.

First up: You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (duet by Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand)

Did you know that this famous duet came from a radio program director’s divorce?

Neil Diamond recorded the song first in 1977 as a solo, followed by Barbra Streisand’s solo version in 1978. This is where WAKY-AM/Louisville KY program director, Gary Guthrie, comes in. He spliced together a duet version as a parting present to his wife after their divorce. His version became so popular that the record label got Diamond and Streisand to record an official version that was released in the fall of 1978!

(Click here to read the full story on Wikipedia)

… and here’s Gary Guthrie’s mixed version on American Top 40:

And second: Mike Sammes – the backup singer for Olivia Newton John’s “Let Me Be There”

The bass part in “Let Me Be There” by Olivia Newton John is so prominent, I’d almost classify the song as a duet. Out of curiosity, I checked into who the bass singer was. His name was Mike Sammes, and his credits are amazing. He also sang backup on The Beatles “I Am The Walrus”, and for the TV show “Supercar”.

(Click here to read Mike Sammes full bio on Wikipedia)

… and here’s “Let Me Be There” for your listening pleasure:

Enjoy!
Joe

 

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

 

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The Hell of Diets!

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The Hell of Diets!

“The Hell of Diets!”
by Joe J Thomas

(a parody of “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed and Simon & Garfunkel)

Copyright 2016, Joe J Thomas, Joe’s Dump
All Rights Reserved
Not a Quinn-Martin Production

The Hell of Diets! (title card)
~~~ Lyrics ~~~
“The Hell of Diets!”
by Joe J Thomas Continue reading

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Singing Impressions

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Singing Impressions


A new demo from Joe J Thomas

13 Voices in 60 Seconds: Singing Impressions by Joe J Thomas

… and the LP Audio Version for those that want to hear more:

      Joe_J_Thomas-Singing_Impressions(long)

More information at: JoeActor.com
Singer: Joe J Thomas
Audio Producer: Mike Finkel
Voice Coach: Charles Ion

Copyright Joe J Thomas (JoeActor.com) 2016
All Rights Reserved
Not a Quinn-Martin Production

How This Demo Came To Be…

As a bit of background, I’ve been singing for several decades. Musical theatre, choir, stage performances with bands… Even traveled with an Elvis impersonator. All of it laid a great foundation. However, it had been a while since my last public performance. Most of my singing now is in the car or for the occasional animation audition.

So, I’d decided to brush up on my singing early in the year, and sought out a new vocal coach. Turns out there is a great guy who teaches at a local college and also gives private lessons.

After getting some of the cobwebs off and learning some new techniques, it was time to put my training to work.

In early August, 2016, I started working with my voice coach and an audio producer on the tracks for the finished demo. The idea had been rattling around in my head for quite some time, and I was already adept at several singing impressions. My voice coach was crucial in getting me to find the right placement for each singer and song.

I recorded a full or partial take of each song (vocal only), and sent the voice track and backing track to the audio producer. We’d also worked together in the past, so he was familiar with my voice and able to give precise feedback on what needed to be tweaked.

Once the base tracks were in a rough edit phase, I enlisted the ears of my wife, and several of my good friends. Each of their feedback went into my decision on which tracks made the final cut.

The last step was for my audio producer to assemble the tracks into a balanced, finished demo.

As a side benefit, I also picked up a lot of new knowledge and techniques.

Now… On to the next challenge!

See you in the booth,
Joe

 

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

 

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Ban Ki-moon Tune!

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Ban Ki-moon Tune!

Even an incomplete project can be a fertile testing grounds for growing new skills and fostering creativity. Here’s just one recent example from Joe’s Dump…

Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, didn’t have a song!
I couldn’t believe nobody had made one. Seemed like a shoe-in for a viral hit 😉

So, I created one for him – a parody of Herman’s Hermits “I’m Into Something Good”:

      Ban Ki-moon Tune! (Joe J Thomas)

Sometimes my initial goal gets expanded and leads to a more complicated project.
This time, I though I’d make a music video featuring a cartoon version of Ban Ki-moon!
Ambitious considering my level as an animator and the limitations of the software.

In the end, the video never came together… but I did learn some very valuable techniques for future projects:
Continue reading

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Singing For VO

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Singing for Voice Over

Singing offers a lot of tangible advantages to anyone in Voice Acting.
For those of you who sing, I know I’m preaching to the choir! (rim shot)

But how long has it been since you’ve had a refresher?
And if you’re in VO and don’t sing, why not?

Although I’ve been in many musicals, sung with choral groups, and even performed musical improv, it had been a few years since I really sang.

Time for a tune-up!
I recently started taking lessons with a new teacher, and it’s given me a renewed sense of confidence in my vocal abilities.

Here are just a few of the areas singing can help with:

  • Tone:
    The pitch of your voice… high, medium, low (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone Bass)
  • Breathing:
    Proper breathing allows you to better control your sound.
  • Timing:
    Learning musical rhythm can help in setting your pace for both segments of the copy and for the overall read.
  • Vocal Placement:
    Chest voice, Head voice, Throat, etc. Placement is especially useful in creating characters and accents.
  • Core Support and Strengthening:
    A strong core is related to your breathing, and can give you more power and energy in your voice.
  • Volume Control:
    Knowing when to sing soft is just as important as being able to belt out a tune. Having a solid control of your volume takes practice.
  • Conveying Emotion:
    Even in a language you may not understand, songs can elicit a great deal of emotion. Learning how to deliver that to your audience is directly applicable to VO work.
  • Communication of Ideas:
    Clear communication is another win for any voice work. Knowing how to form your words and phrases so that they convey ideas is the core of it all.

My friend Marc Cashman even has a chapter in his book “V-Oh! Tips, Tricks, Tools and Techniques to Start and Sustain Your Voiceover Career” dedicated to the concept of “Finding the Music in Copy”. Here’s a short excerpt:

“Copy or text is musical. It has ebb and flow and different keys. It has sharps, flats, rests, words that are held, chopped off, high or low, soft or loud, all the same emphasis or wild ups and downs, with dynamics and crescendos. Copy reads (or plays) like a story/song, with a beginning, middle and end.”

(Marc’s book is available on Amazon, or click here to order an autographed copy)

Sometimes, I’ll even sing the copy just to get a different feel for the way it flows.

Do you sing? If so, how long has it been since you performed or had lessons? It might be time for a refresher to tune-up your instrument!

To close, here’s a number that I’ve been working on.
It’s called “I Won’t Send Roses” from the musical “Mack and Mabel” – Enjoy!

      I Won't Send Roses (Joe J Thomas)

 

All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com

 

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Carving Meat Loaf

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Carving Meat Loaf

In honor of Meat Loaf‘s upcoming birthday on Sept. 27th (Happy Birthday Mr. Loaf!!!)…

Today I’d like to dissect his song “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad“.
Meat Loaf: Two Out of Three Ain't Bad
It’s a great rock ballad from 1977. Packed with deep emotions and hidden meaning, it strikes a chord in me every time I hear it.

But what if we look at it from a few different perspectives:

  • His viewpoint (he’s a romantic)
  • Her viewpoint (he’s a jerk)
  • Neutral viewpoint (psycho-logical)

Here’s how the song is seen in each of these cases:

Continue reading

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