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A musical group hailing from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Da Yoopers has had 35 years of flying under the radar.
Founded in 1975 by Jim DeCaire (drums), Joe Potila (guitar), Jim Pennell (bass) and Lynn Anderson (keyboards), the band achieved local success before self-releasing the album Yoopanese in 1986. Its followup, Culture Shock, accounted for two of the band's Signature Songs: "Rusty Chevrolet" and "Second Week of Deer Camp." Both songs received regional airplay on several radio stations throughout the Great Lakes region, and even appeared on Dr. Demento shows. Subsequent albums didn't produce nearly as much regional success, but the band continues to perform and tour to this day.
The band is known for singing songs primarily dealing with rural life in the Upper Peninsula, including topics such as drinking beer, hunting, dealing with long winters, drinking more beer, eating Swedish and Finnish food, and more beer. Live shows include acting from stagehands, who dress up in various costumes and perform skits between songs. They also own a "Tourist Trap" museum outside of their home base of Ishpeming, Michigan.
- Yoopanese (1986)
- Culture Shock (1987)
- Camp Fever (1988)
- Yoop It Up (1989)
- Yoopy Do Wah (1991). First release on CD.
- One Can Short of a Six-Pack (1994)
- For Diehards Only (1995)
- We're Still Rockin' (1996). First release after Joe Potila was replaced by Jim Bellmore.
- Jackpine Savage (2000)
- Naked Elves in Cowboy Boots (2000)
- Songs for Fart Lovers (2004)
- Diehards II (2004)
- 21st Century Yoopers in Space (2006)
- Jim Bellmore (guitar, vocals)
- Lynn Bellmore (formerly Lynn Anderson, then Lynn Coffey) (keyboards, vocals)
- Jim DeCaire (percussion, vocals)
- Reggie Lusardi (bass guitar)
- Bobby Symons (drums)
Former (official) members:
- Dave "Doc" Bradbury (bass guitar, vocals). Left shortly after Bellmore joined.
- Jerry "Cuppa" Coffey (drums, congas, vocals). Lynn was married to him from the late 1980s to the mid-2000s.
- "Cowboy" Dan Collins (rhythm guitar, vocals). First appeared as a backing vocalist on Culture Shock but became an official member shortly before We're Still Rockin'.
- Joe DeLongchamp (bass guitar, vocals). Replaced by Doc Bradbury before 1991.
- Jim Pennell (bass guitar, vocals). Replaced by Joe DeLongchamp.
- Joe Potila (guitar, vocals). Left around the release of For Diehards Only.
Former sketch comedy actors who didn't contribute instruments included Jim Boyer, Steve Calhoun, Jerry "Mungo" LaJoie, Pete "Casanova" LaLonde, "Billy Bob" Langson, Robert "Dill" Nebel and Mike "Mikku" Powers. Dick Bunce started out as a sketch comedy actor but occasionally played bass on some songs.
- Album Title Drop: Culture Shock is title-dropped on "Yooper Talk".
- The Alleged Car: The subject of "Rusty Chevrolet" and "My Car Won't Go".
- American Accents: Their name is based on the Scandanavian-Canadian hybrid accent common to the upper Midwest. Sometimes they exaggerate it, but most of the band members really do talk that way, eh? Ya, you betcha.
- Anti-Christmas Song: "Rusty Chevrolet". They also recorded several of these on Six-Pack and much later, a full Christmas album of them.
- Anti-Love Song: "Happy Birthday Fungus Face".
- Ass Shove: The resolution to "Diarrhea":
I'll take a cork and Super Glue
Pound it in there with my shoe
And then I'll be all through
- The Band Minus the Face: Joe Potila.
- Big Eater: Present in several songs, most notably "Pizza in My Shorts" (family who eats a lot of pizza) and "Meathead" (eating a lot of meat).
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: In one skit, the wife of a man who has run off somewhere threatens to "give him a vasectomy with a rusty chainsaw" if he ever returns.
- Distinct Double Album: 21st Century Yoopers in Space.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Jim DeCaire's son, Jesse, got a lead vocal on one song from Yoop It Up while he was still a child. Jesse played guitar and drums on several albums as a guest musician (starting with We're Still Rockin') before becoming the sound tech.
- "Cowboy" Dan Collins sang backing vocals on Culture Shock and One Can Short of a Six Pack before becoming an official member.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Yoopanese has two serious songs outside the band's typical themes ("My Shoes" and "Critics Tune"). It also has a parody of "On the Road Again" titled "Road to Gwinn", one of only three parodies ever done by the band. It is also the only album besides Yoopy Do Wah not to include skits.
- Everything Is an Instrument: Parodied on We're Still Rockin', where DeCaire's credits include "broom" and "coffee".
- Fake Radio Show Album: Starting with Culture Shock, every Potila-era album except Yoopy Do Wah used a fictional radio show called "YOOP Radio" as a Framing Device, with relevant skits interspersed among the songs. Come One Can Short of a Six-Pack, the skits were even included on the track listing. Camp Fever has a Story Arc where all of the YOOP staff are at the deer camp while an inexperienced DJ (played by Jerry Coffey) substitutes. This trope was brought back for Jackpine Savage.
- Fat and Proud: A recurring trope, seen in songs such as "Beer Gut" and "You're My Porky Babe".
- Forgotten Anniversary: The subject of the "Anniversary Song".
- Garfunkel: Bobby Symons. He just plays drums; he doesn't sing or participate in the skits. In fact, he doesn't even play on In Space.
- Neither Jim Pennell nor Doc Bradbury did that much besides play bass, for that matter. At least Lusardi participates in the skits and sings occasionally.
- Gasshole: Just about every album has had at least one reference to farting. Then there's Songs for Fart Lovers...
- Hot Skitty-On-Wailord Action: "Chiquito War" describes a "chiquito," a cross between a chicken and a mosquito which was bred through rape.
- In the Style Of: "You're My Porky Babe" is in the style of Sonny and Cher.
- Innocent Innuendo: "My First Time Ever" sounds dirty, but it's really about milking a cow.
- Listing Cities: And countries, in "Christmas Is Everywhere".
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Diarrhea", despite its subject matter, is performed as a straight-up love song. At least until the fart solo.
- Naked People Are Funny: "Naked Elves in Cowboy Boots".
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: They've done traditional folk songs, polka, country and rock, just to name a few. This genre-hopping gets turned Up to Eleven on We're Still Rockin', where every song is done in a different musical style.
- Nobody Loves the Bassist: Played straight with Jim Pennell and Doc Bradbury, averted with Joe DeLongchamp and Reggie Lusardi.
- Rearrange the Song: They re-recorded "Diarrhea", originally from Yoop It Up, for a music video compilation. This re-recording appears on "Songs for Fart Lovers".
- Revolving Door Band: See above.
- Rhyming with Itself: "Last Frontier", the first track on Culture Shock, rhymes "fall" (the season) with "fall" (the verb).
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Jim Bellmore does this often. A notable example is "My First Time Ever", done in the style of a barbershop quartet with Bellmore performing all four voices. He also likes to contribute a bass harmony to his own lead vocals (e.g. "Yooper Snow Rocket").
- Signature Song: "Second Week of Deer Camp" and "Rusty Chevrolet".
- Something Completely Different: "When One Love Dies" on Yoopy Do Wah, a straight-up serious song about a deceased lover. The album itself may be an example, as it was the only one after their first not to include skits.
- Step Up to the Microphone: They are all over this trope. Most of the vocals have been Potila, his successor Jim Bellmore, or occasionally Jim DeCaire. However, almost everyone who's ever been in the band has gotten to sing lead:
- Lynn generally gets the lead whenever they write a song from a female perspective. Except for "Ridin' da Cotton Pony", however, any song that called for a husband-wife duet paired her with DeCaire instead of Jerry Coffey...
- ...perhaps because Jerry himself rarely sang. He got lead on at least two other songs mentioned below, and was a lead character in the skits that formed the Story Arc of Camp Fever (the first album on which he was a member).
- Take a guess as to who sang lead on "Yooper Cowboy Dan". And yes, that was the only studio cut on which he got the lead.
- Joe DeLongchamp got lead on "Camp Fever" (which he wrote) and "Drinking Resort".
- Several guests have also contributed over time:
- At least three local musicians got lead vocal on different tracks from Culture Shock.
- Glenn Adams sang on Camp Fever. He contributed to several other albums as a narrator and skit performer.
- As mentioned above, DeCaire's son Jesse sang on "Yooper Kid". He also got a couple turns on lead vocal on Naked Elves in Cowboy Boots.
- Songs for Fart Lovers and 21st Century Yoopers in Space also feature several guest musicians on lead vocals (most notably Kim Lenten, who sang the re-recording of "Diarrhea" from the former).
- This trope has also been invoked by the depature of former members. Generally, if Potila sang it, Bellmore now sings it live, but there are exceptions:
- "Fishin' wit Fred" was a duet between Potila and DeCaire. When they perform it live, Lusardi does Potila's lines. This is a notable variation, as Lusardi rarely sings.
- The band performed "30 Pound Diaper" in concert for several years before it appeared on an album. Jerry Coffey initially sang it live, but Lusardi now sings it. He also sings the studio version on In Space.
- Jerry also sang lead on "Super Dooper Yooper Love Machine" from the album Jackpine Savage. After he left, Bellmore sometimes sang this song live.
- Cowboy Dan replaced Potila on "Diarrhea" for live performances. As mentioned above, Kim Lenten sang a re-recording of it, but Bellmore now sings it live as well.
- Stylistic Suck: Invoked in a newspaper article, where DeCaire said that Joe DeLongchamp rarely got to sing because DeCaire thought that his voice was too good for most of their songs.
- Take That, Critics!: "Critics Tune".
- Toilet Humor: Not just the Fart Lovers album, but also "Diarrhea", "Lonely Yooper" (character hides in an outhouse during an affair and gets crapped on), etc.
- Volleying Insults: "Mental Monkey" is a string of these between a brother and sister (sung by Jim D. and Lynn).