It’s a year ago I responded to Jim’s email to the Seattle Ukulele Player’s Association mailing list. The mail said that they were looking for a female vocalist who could play the uke, and I thought maybe I could do both of those things well enough to audition. Pete, our obtrusive percussionist, joined about a month before that and while the Castaways have existed in some incarnation or other for longer, it’s the flaming cocktail of rock and roll insanity that the five of us create together that makes us a Real Band (™).
365 days since that first rehearsal. The Castaways are growing more teeth, and look out, it’s time to ukulele proof the house, we’re mobile.
But for now, our year by the numbers.
- Strings broken on stage: 3
- CDs produced: 1. It’s called Sixer, and you can get it at a show.
- Arenas rocked: 1. Well, it was the Key Arena steps. We think it counts.
- T-shirt runs: 2. Ed’s trademark skull and ukulele crossbones for the guys, Pam’s ukulele angel for the gals. Get one at a show.
- Roadies: 1. Greg. We miss him, still. Whatever with college.
- Times Mark has told Pam to “deal with it.”: 2.
- Times Pam has responded, “Okay, but I’m adding this to my list of grievances that I’ll air on my tour meltdown.”: 2
- Times Ed has said, “Save it for Barstow, Diva.” 2
- Times Jim and Pete have asked, “What’s with Barstow?” 2
- Times the band has been to Barstow: 0
- Sets of strings Mark has tried on his U-bass: 2. He likes the fat rubbery ones. They’re black.
- Poster art featuring Pam, the wandering band member: 2. And in one, she’s on a milk carton.
- New ukes acquired: 2, a Lanikai for Jim, a Kamoa for Ed.
- Solutions tried to protect Pete’s hands from cajon wear and tear: 3. The latest? Finger sweaters.
- Bottles of Bader Cellars consumed: Unclear.
- Times Jim has said “It’s okay, nobody noticed,” into a live mic after an obvious gaffe: 5
- Bar Mitvahs played: 0. What? We gotta save something for the future. Plus, we played a wedding party at the Museum of Flight and that was awesome.
- Times the guys have said, “This doesn’t happen in other bands…” Too many to count.
- Times Pam has said, “I don’t know any different. This is my first band.” Too many to count.
- Times “This is my first band” is not funny: 0
- Total shows on our calendar from a year of ukulele rock and roll: 32
- Shows at which someone looked at us with that trademark ukulele double take: 32
- Times the ukulele double take came from a cop in full uniform: 3
- Facebook fans: 283. You guys are awesome. Thank you for making it a great year.
Image: Ukulele Cake by Neatly Sliced via Flickr (Creative Commons)