In search of Puddles
March 12, 2014 10:10 PM   Subscribe

Let Me Live That Fantasy. "In search of Puddles, the saddest clown of all, whose voice — along with Lorde’s music — made him an Internet star."
posted by homunculus (31 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
(not puddles the clown from South Africa.)
posted by stbalbach at 10:59 PM on March 12, 2014

This is terrific! When I first saw the Royals video, I looked all over for information about Puddles, but couldn't find much. Now I know. This is exactly the backstory I had hoped he would have!
posted by Tsuga at 11:10 PM on March 12, 2014

I had never seen Puddles before, but this sounded interesting. So I read the article, and clicked to see the videos.


Thank you very much for sharing it!

(the article is grand too -- whenever I read Grantland, I always love it -- I just wish they weren't like 90% sports. Because I just don't care about sports... but some of their articles are so good they make me wish I did.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 11:38 PM on March 12, 2014

If you get a chance, see him live. We caught him in ¡Caliente! at Teatro Zinzani a couple years back and he absolutely blew the doors off the place with Lonely Guy.

Here's a little promo interview Big Mike did for the show.
posted by calamari kid at 11:43 PM on March 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah, great article and all that, but cheers for putting royals back in my head.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:50 PM on March 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

This guy's covers sound like Richard Cheese songs.

That's a compliment... I think?

No, yeah, that's a compliment.
posted by Old Man McKay at 12:30 AM on March 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I heard the Puddles version of Team before I actually heard the original, and now whenever it comes on the radio I kind of expect to hear a clown.
posted by pemberkins at 2:53 AM on March 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Puddles actually turned me on to Lorde. I'd only heard the rather boring Royals until his cover of Team. A bunch more videos later and it turns out that Lorde and Puddles are really great.
posted by postcommunism at 5:21 AM on March 13, 2014

I also see a lot of similarity with Richard Cheese as they both have the same "surface, schtick-y, funny ha-ha persona" but they add something to the songs that give them more depth and feeling. When they want to. The "Team" cover I thought would have been better if he stuck to the sad thing. That's also my very least favorite Lorde song.
posted by bleep at 5:52 AM on March 13, 2014

I've probably watched Puddles' version of Royals 200 times, and I still never get tired of it. Mike Geier has created one hell of a fun character!
posted by newfers at 6:06 AM on March 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm glad someone's doing something interesting with that terrible song.
posted by codacorolla at 6:07 AM on March 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

A lot of their other covers are hit and miss (a bit more miss than hit). "Sweet Child O' Mine" translates right into New Orleans Jazz. "Blurred Lines" makes a great translation into bluegrass which has the perfect mode for that sort of thing. Irish Tenor Daft Punk doesn't seem to click.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:43 AM on March 13, 2014

Actually, I think a sad clown cover of "Get Lucky" might work better.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:50 AM on March 13, 2014

Speaking of doing unspeakable things to "Royals," for the extremely limited subset of people who are both passingly familiar with Lorde and who also happen to be Vampire: the Masquerade folks with a sense of humor, I present this goth parody.

Click "Show more" for lyrics: But every film's like: bat caves, absinthe, silver in the bathroom // blood dolls, ball gowns, recitals in the grand room ...
posted by adipocere at 7:34 AM on March 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

You know, that Mike Geier fellow that helps him find puddles also has a pretty good band and a great voice as well... He does great covers with his band Tongo Hiti (briefly mentioned in that puddles article) - well worth the listen to, as well as other projects of his such as Mike Geier and Kingsized. Here's an awesome interview with Mike where you get to learn about him. Here's another awesome interview with him where you get to hear what he'd eat it could only be one more thing, and

The National Anthem - Mike Geier Acapella
In the Ghetto - Mike Geier and Kingsized
CC Rider / Burnin Up/Little less Conversation/ (and so much more) - Mike Geier and Kingsized
Baby it's Cold Outside - Big Mike's Christmas Extravaganza (a duet with Yeti)
I have no idea what this is called but its awesome - Big Mike Geier with Joe Gransden's Orchestra
Feeling Good - The Usual Suspects featuring Big Mike Geier
James Bond Medley - Kingsized with Mike Geier
Princess Cruise - Tongo Hiti
Werewolves of London - Tongo Hiti
The Glory of Love - Tongo Hiti
Suspicious Minds - Tongo Hiti
Sail Away - Tongo Hiti
Dancing Queen - Tongo Hiti
Kentucky Rain - Tongo Hiti
These Dreams - Tongo Hiti
Roxanne - Tongo Hiti
St. Elmo's Fire - Tongo Hiti
I want you to want me - Tongo Hiti

Lastly, here's a very worthy Hallelujah.

Ultimately, its a good thing that Mike Geier is 6'8" so he's not confused with a 7' clown doing an amazing lounge act.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:43 AM on March 13, 2014 [9 favorites]

I like Lorde's version of this song better than Puddles's, but I like the Russian police choir's version of "Get Lucky" better than Daft Punk's.
posted by escabeche at 8:06 AM on March 13, 2014

I get tired of the Internet, how it's all the same old stuff of me, me, me. And then something like Puddles comes along, and I'm all like, wow! Thanks for the link!
posted by jasper411 at 8:12 AM on March 13, 2014

This version of You Don't Know Me is my favorite Puddles video. He's really an amazing performer. There's something just so complete about the Puddles character.
posted by neroli at 8:18 AM on March 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I sent this to my wife and got the reply: "It's a man in a clown suit covering Lorde. I don't get it."

Sometimes I wonder how we ever wound up together.
posted by slogger at 8:24 AM on March 13, 2014

Great article and a good example of clever, responsible journalism that gives you facts in a delicate way that respect its subject's wishes.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:25 AM on March 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

I keep smiling at all of this, because Mike Geier has always been the guy with the amazing voice who sang the hell out of Elvis songs during the annual Elvis Death Day celebrations at the Star Community Bar in Little 5 Points in Atlanta.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:05 AM on March 13, 2014

I highly recommend catching his band Tongo Hiti at Trader Vic's Atlanta just to see Mike assault drunk foreign businessmen with an uncomfortably physically close version of 'My Heart Will Go On'.

And sometimes a head massage.
posted by rock swoon has no past at 9:20 AM on March 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

The clown car is a Subaru, of course.
posted by ovvl at 9:41 AM on March 13, 2014

Puddles delivers a rare performance of My Heart Will Go On that doesn't suck with the aid of Monkey Zuma.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:56 AM on March 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I hate clowns. You know how hate isn't the opposite of love? Yeah. Hate. I'm a natural-born coulrophobe. The two combine to generally make me an entirely unwilling clown-puncher - clowns who surprise me get punched, with no forethought on my part. Otherwise, I avoid them and their imagery assiduously.

Puddles somehow circumvents this whole thing. I don't know how or why. But he does. I think I could handle seeing him perform.

And good on Mike Geier for pursuing art so relentlessly. He's really got that hidden empire thing down pat. I hope he gets a good living from it all.

AND I'm so grateful for how the Grantland article was written. Heckert did a splendid job with every part of the experience. He knows how to handle surreal with the right amount of care vs. nonchalance.

Great post, homunculus!
posted by batmonkey at 11:17 AM on March 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by Space Kitty at 11:26 AM on March 13, 2014

Puddles somehow circumvents this whole thing. I don't know how or why. But he does. I think I could handle seeing him perform.

I agree. I think it's because he's the anti-pushy when it comes to clowning. Many clowns try to force the joke. "This is funny! See! It's a hundred-year-old gag in that guy's face! It's funny!"

Puddles comes in with a suitcase and a lantern (Diogenes?). He spends a minute fixing the microphone because it is set too short. He spends another minute staring at the audience winding himself up to say something. He gestures to the pianist, who gives him a lead in. No wait, he's not ready. He stares at the audience, and gestures again.

And then he sings.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:05 PM on March 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

"This is the craziest thing I've ever seen!!!" Five minutes of poking around ... oh, wait, I think my brother-in-law knows him.
posted by lagomorphius at 12:23 PM on March 13, 2014

He is an old character, who speaks of a purer time.
posted by Scram at 9:10 PM on March 14, 2014

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