Amber Nash’s uke videos are a regular UkeTube highlight. She’s now put together two albums with her band Ukebucket: an album of covers, Covered, which you can download for free and an album of originals, Bad Ukulele, which you can buy on CD Baby. Amber was good enough to allow me to subject her to some routine enquiries.
Ukebucket are a geographically scattered band. How did you get together?
Well, I’ve known Rikk since we were kids. He and my brother were in the same preschool class and were best buds growing up, so he was always around. When I was about 16 or 17, I was in a community theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Rushville, Indiana, and I enlisted Rikk to play lead guitar for the pit. I drove us back and forth so we got to know each other and we started jamming. We’ve been great friends since then. I met Barry…well…honestly, I can’t remember really how I met Barry. Sometime in college, which might explain why I don’t remember. I think he knew one of my roommates and we just kind of came together and started playing. Barry, Rikk, myself, and countless other random individuals have been jamming since we were all in the early years of college. Talk of an album has been bounced back and forth for several years, but we’ve only been really serious about it for the past year or so.
Why’s the album called ‘Bad Ukulele’ when it’s obviously very good ukulele?
Why, thank you! The name of the album is good proof that all three of us are pretty ridiculous. We really had fun making the music, recording, making the art, and just hanging around. I think I was just doodling and ended up with a rough idea of what the cover art is now. I remember that the phrase, “bad ukulele”, at the time, was kind of a running joke. I would say it often as a way to make excuses for my amateur playing:) I’m a second grade teacher, so I thought the ukulele in the corner was pretty cute. In all honestly, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. It’s just a combination of randomness, quirkiness, and a hearty passion for self-deprecation.
Do you ever get the chance to break out the uke at school [as a teacher rather than student]?
Yes! I do! The kids really like it. It’s a chance for me to get more comfortable making things up off the top of my head and a chance for the kids to be around live music. Last year we wrote a couple songs together. It was pretty cute.
How come everyone’s favourite Ukebucket song, Pig Latin, didn’t make it onto the album?
It’s so crazy how the songs that folks seem to like are the songs that I wrote in ten minutes. I should work with that. The songs on “Bad Ukulele” are pretty old, with the exception of a few. Most have been around for as much as 3 or 4 years, we just never really did anything with them. We wanted to finish this thing because we had been talking about it for so long. I think the only really new song on the album is “Who Are We” which was a part of Project 52. I’m currently working on more of a “solo” CD. “Pig Latin” will definitely be included on that, as well as other Project 52 songs. It’ll be more of a simple sound, mostly just me and a ukulele, and some harmonies.
What can we expect from Ukebucket in the future?
Well, because of the physical space between band members it’s difficult to perform together. We’re going to continue to send music back and forth, visit each other, jam, record, and so on. I’m going to work on a solo album which I had mentioned in the previous question. We are currently really focused on purchasing better recording equipment (for me, anyway) so that what we send back and forth can be more easily edited. Once those ducks are in a row, the Project 52 songs will be more collaborative. I did want to mention that Project 52 has dwindled as of late. Life happens, but it started out and remains a mostly personal project, to kick my butt into gear when it comes down to composing music. I’ve got several songs to hammer out, and they’ll make an appearance when the time is right. So, in the future, expect better quality and more frequent updates on the MySpace and YouTube site, a solo album, and, if everything goes well, a winter album consisting of mostly original tunes.