Is There Anything Better Than a Sad Clown Singing Pop Songs?
Puddles, the sad clown
David Stuart Photography
Now's the chance to use that old-fashioned monogrammed hanky that's burning a hole in your dresser drawer or just grab a cheap box of tissues - - whatever suits you best for sopping up tears mixed of both laughter and desolation - - and spend the evening with Puddles Pity Party. Known as the "sad clown with the golden voice," Puddles is the stage name of Big Mike Geier, a multi-talented singer, actor and performance artist whose 6-foot, 8-inch stature, appropriately twisted sense of humor and majestic baritone voice command a room.
The Lynchian sad-sack clown has been steadily collecting fans over the last couple of years. His operatic version of the popular Lordes' song, "Royals," has become a much-shared YouTube video. And then there was that time that he punched the lead singer of the Eels right in the kisser. The whole thing turned out to be a gag between Puddles and Eels' front man Mark Everett that included fake blood and manufactured hostility; the event definitely created more intrigue about the giant clown. The intimate, cabaret-style show features Puddles delivering his unique versions of sad pop anthems and probably having a little fun with the audience in ways that only freaky, maudlin clowns know how to do.
For instance, when asked about how his diverse career has evolved into this current incarnation, the crestfallen clown keeps an air of elusivity by simply stating, "I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who once said, "Your destiny is the mileage on your shoes." I've been getting around a lot these past few years and the Pity Party just grows and grows."
Incidents like the fun stunt with the Eels guy have certainly helped the buzz about Puddles but ultimately, that kind of thing is just a bit of spirited icing on the cake. What's primarily causing a stir is Puddles' haunting voice -- the ornament that crowns the whole intriguing package. His show largely involves cover songs and it seems there are no artists he can't properly pay homage to, gloriously. It's always cringe-worthy when someone takes on a Leonard Cohen tune but when Puddles does his "Hallelujah," it's as if Cohen, himself, handed him the torch of all that's beautiful and sullen. His bottom tones are enveloping and his opera style is truly prevalent in those moments when his singing is quiet and minimal while simultaneously exuding power and breadth. Other artists he covers include Billy Idol and Metallica.
It's not all sadness with this fella, he is enjoying that fact that people are coming to see him. "My mee-maw has often said life is a series of disappointments. Most of the time she is right, except in this case," he says. "The affection I feel from the Party People warms my heart."
Puddles and George
David Stuart Photography
For Puddles, the show is a way for he and the audience to convene in celebration, honoring the all the good and bad that exists. "The show is really a party. It's you and me and sing-a-longs and moving pictures and refreshments. We all get down, all of us." He hopes attendees take home "a little surprise and a lot of fellowship."
His towering stature combined with the historically mysterious, chaotic clown constitution may be a little intense but with Puddles, there's nothing to fear. His heart, full of a gamut of emotions, is in the right place. "I'm a hugger, not a mugger. I'm a real person. I'm someone's kid. And so are you. It's a sad and beautiful world and we're all in this together."
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