A sad clown with the voice of an angel
October 16, 2020 12:32 PM   Subscribe

... might be just what you need today. Puddles Pity Party.

Puddles mostly sings cover songs, has a depressed persona and refrains from speaking on stage or giving interviews.

posted by sjswitzer (32 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
There are some previouslies (see Related Posts), but I was reminded of puddles again today and it just hit the spot.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:38 PM on October 16

His Life on Mars just...destroys. Really gets me right here.

Royals, too. Man.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:42 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]

The first time I was aware of it, I watched “Royals” about 4000 times.
posted by Orlop at 1:02 PM on October 16 [8 favorites]

His mashup of the Who and Johnny Cash is something else.
posted by a complicated history at 1:03 PM on October 16 [12 favorites]

I'll never forget the first time I heard him. I was at one of Paul F. Tompkins' live variety shows in Los Angeles. Tompkins did a bit where he pretended to get a phone call and left the stage to take it. Then from the back, A very tall Pierrot clown slowly and quietly made his way through the audience to the stage. He proceeded to quietly unpack a suitcase and produce another smaller suitcase, and then another, nesting doll style, until he finally produced a box of tissues. Then he sang. There I was, sitting in the beautiful Largo at the Coronet theater, while this clown sang two beautiful sad songs and I realized that life had actually turned into a David Lynch movie. The entire show had been fun but that portion was absolutely magical.
posted by NotTheRedBaron at 1:04 PM on October 16 [35 favorites]

We've seen Puddles live a couple of times now, and he puts on a great show. I even got my picture taken with him. I agree completely about the Johnny Cash/The Who mashup, it is wonderful.
posted by briank at 1:11 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]

Beauty, melancholy, and absurdity all packaged together. Someone should arrange for Puddles to duet with Orville Peck.
posted by Eikonaut at 1:20 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]

Friends took me to see him, and I had no idea what to expect. They instructed me not to Google him beforehand and I'm so glad I listened to them. This is the song that killed me live.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:23 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]

Puddles is a nice success story.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:24 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]

His version of Suspicious Minds is without question the best cover of it I've heard.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:33 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]

His cover of 'You Killed My Love" led me to Glyn Styler...pretty cool!
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 1:36 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]

I'd never heard of him before sjswitzer's comment today in the Gilligan's Island post.
posted by MtDewd at 1:49 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that’s when I was reminded!
posted by sjswitzer at 1:55 PM on October 16

Puddles is the best. We’ve been to several shows. It is very cathartic.
posted by R343L at 2:30 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]

We saw him live a couple of years ago. He’s great. The show is full of belly laughs.
posted by oddman at 2:33 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]

This was my first encounter...
posted by jim in austin at 2:39 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]

My wife and I were so excited to see Puddles that we bought tickets 4 months ahead of time ... and then forgot to go!! Like two months later we realized!! Such a pity party was held.

posted by riverlife at 2:42 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]

His mashup of the Who and Johnny Cash yt is something else.
Also, don't miss the reverse. I learned about him here. I think I genuinely enjoy his work even more than I enjoy how much talking about enjoying his work makes my spouse cringe. But, both are a lot of fun.
posted by eotvos at 3:00 PM on October 16 [8 favorites]

I am another who loves Puddles. His cover of all the small things is just perfect.
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:06 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]

Badfinger's Day After Day has long been a fave. Puddles' version doesn't diminish it and that's saying a lot.
posted by philip-random at 4:14 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]

Puddles' version of 'Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again' with the ubiquitous chorus supplied by the audience is pretty wonderful.
posted by h00py at 6:42 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]

Puddles is great and everything he sings is gold but his version of Time > everything else.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:55 PM on October 16 [5 favorites]

I’m very much appreciating everyone posting links to their favorites here. Thanks!
posted by sjswitzer at 9:59 PM on October 16

I’ve found that I can’t sing unless I sing in character or as an imitation of someone else. I’m too self-conscious about my own voice and if I’m emotionally engaged in the song I get choked up. So it helps me to somehow stand aside from myself when I sing.

I’m not sure if that’s what’s happening with Puddles; it somehow seems related but also opposite. He somehow connects with the heart of the song and conveys it perfectly, despite or maybe somehow because the character distances the performer from the performance. I’ve wondered whether people into cosplay, etc. experience something similar.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:10 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]

Maybe 15 years ago, Puddles was something different but still breathtaking and haunting. I was at a Dresden Dolls concert in Atlanta and this GIANT man came out in an elaborate antebellum dress and a bald head and these burlesque dancers and absolutely rattled the rafters singing "I Who Have Nothing" . It truly was something precious and bizarre, l will never forget how he made me feel. I am so glad this persona works so well.
posted by stormygrey at 10:22 PM on October 16 [5 favorites]

Thanks for introducing me to Puddles, sjswitzer. Today was my first time, and you made it special.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:58 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]

I was passingly familiar with Puddles; he actually played here a couple of years ago. But definitely appreciate him more after this thread; the Johnny Cash/Who mashups in particular really pushed my buttons.
posted by TedW at 5:00 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]

Also, I'm guessing the omnipresent coffee cup is where the moniker "Puddles" came from.
posted by TedW at 5:16 PM on October 17

Faves are Dio - Rainbow In the Dark and Rainbow Connection.

But really, anything in the genre "Large Clowns Sing Songs About Rainbows By Petite Songwriters"
posted by alikins at 9:07 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]

Aw! I heard him sing Hallelujah before a Midlake concert at The Earl in East Atlanta a few years ago. What an incredible and wonderful surprise that was.
posted by Fritzle at 1:47 PM on October 18 [1 favorite]

Midlake is really great, Fritzle. Can I challenge you to do an FPP?
I’m collecting notes for a Giant Sand/Howe Gelb FPP, but it’s a daunting project
posted by sjswitzer at 5:25 PM on October 18 [1 favorite]

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