Da Yoopers are revered by
growing legions of trolls
A nine-member music-and-skit
Da Yoopers plan to spring some
new tunes on Grand Rapids audiences as well as a special tribute to the
Hey, if "trolls" living
down in da Lower Peninsula figure it's too cold here in da winter, try
Ishpeming in February or early March, eh?
"The U.P. is closed
for glacial repair," Jim "Hoolie" DeCaire quipped recently by phone from
Da Yoopers Tourist Trap on U.S. 41 west of Ishpeming, in the heart, or
more accurately, the left armpit, of the Upper Peninsula.
"It's subzero and
stuff. They had to cancel the ski meet Sunday because the skiers were frozen
crouched in mid-air. It's gotta be 20-below."
DeCaire pauses to yell at a store
employee about the temperature.
"Oh, he don't know,"
"His brain is froze."
So begins a guffaw-filled
conversation with the head honcho, the beer-praising frontman, the chief
jester for Da Yoopers, the U.P.'s most celebrated crew of plaid-shirted
entertainers who've made the eight-hour trek to Grand Rapids for eight
performances at this weekend's Sport, Fishing and Travel Show at the Grand
DeCaire, 57, has made
a career out of Da Yoopers, along with giant chainsaws, flatulence and
deer-camp jokes, rock collecting and wacky "Yooper innovation machines,"
which fill up Da Yoopers Tourist Trap and museum - an attraction touted
as "one of the seven wonders of Yooperland," complete with "two flushing
toilets" visitors actually can use for free.
A true Yooper in every
respect, DeCaire peppers anecdotes with expressions such as "fer cripe's
sake" and speaks with real reverence about a local fellow who may sport
the world's biggest beer gut.
"He's like Buddha,
he's like a god to us," DeCaire said of the owner of the rotund belly featured
in a photo on Da Yoopers' Web site. "Holy cripe."
Da Yoopers themselves
are revered by growing legions of fans who appreciate their U.P. spoofs
and slapstick comedy bits. (The nine-member music-and-skit outfit, by the
way, made the trip south to Grand Rapids in a "caravan of rusty vehicles.")
Already boasting nine
albums of side-splitting tunes with names such as "Smelting USA," "Gimmie
Another Beer" and "Deer Hunting Son of a Gun," DeCaire said the band has
started its 10th titled "Da Yoopers Songs for Fart lovers," slated for
release this summer.
songs," DeCaire insists. "We've got one called, 'If She Farts On The First
Date She's A Keeper," I think this one's going to go over real well."
Da Yoopers plan to
spring some new tunes on Grand Rapids audiences as well as a special tribute
to the chubby.
"Everybody in the
band is overweight, so we kinda play to the overweight. They're kind of
like short people; they get overlooked," DeCaire argued. "We just like
So, unlike beer
and munchies, what keeps Da Yoopers going after all these years, playing
fund-raisers, "convention-type things for plumbers," casinos and sports
"I enjoy being
with those guys," offered DeCaire, who sings, but doesn't play an instrument.
"I've got guys in
their thirties that have been working for me right out of high school."
And one of his funniest
chums, Dick "Dick-e-Bird" Bunce, never fails to leave everybody in stitches.
"He's even better
now that he's got all his teeth pulled," DeCaire explained. "You outta
be in a bus with these guys for eight or nine hours. They need a date.
They talk about women all the way down and say stuff like, "If only I had
a girl friend." Finally, one approaches them at a bar and they run. They
panic. Honest to God. They say, 'I've gotta go take a shower.' "
Showers aside, Da
Yoopers have a solid following among trolls-Yooper-speak for Lower Peninsula
types-in West Michigan.
"They like us down
there. We get tons of people from the Grand Rapids area. We're one of the
only bands that draws a full range of people, that can have a father and
son listen to the same album."
Of course , Da Yoopers
remain hometown heroes, favorite sons and rulers of the roost in the U.P.,where
snow can fly well into the spring, leaving even natives a bit restless
about the long winters.
"I was a mexican in
an earlier life," DeCaire surmised. "I'm 57, and I still haven't adjusted
to it. I dream about dancing around a cactus with a margarita in my hand."
Cripes. A beer will
have to do.
Gags from north of "Da Bridge"
With nine albums in
da bag and another one on da way, Da Yoopers have belched out some classics
since the mid-1980s. The song titles alone are enough to leave listeners
laughing in their beer. Here are a few to request this weekend when you
catch their act:
"Beer, Beer, Beer"
"She Loves To Fart"
"Da Couch Dat Burps"
"Grandpa Got Run Over By a Beer Truck"
"Happy Birthday Fungus Face"
"I Tink My Beagle's Gay"
"Rusty Chevrolet (a true Yoopers' classic)"
"The Second Week Of Deer Camp (a true
"Why Do Girls Think I'm Scary"
"If I Could Fart Like My Dad"
Story - John Sinkevics - The Grand