Interview with Ukulele Death Squad

Original article by Gabrielle Zgrajewski (Scenestr).

With a self-described style of “hardcore ukulele”, Ukulele Death Squad are back to take part in this year’s Adelaide Fringe festivities following their sell-out Fringe show last year.

On a high after the release of their first single ‘Not Afraid’, a Mariachi-infused rock ballad that is rich in story and saxophone as well as ukuleles of course, Ukulele Death Squad wrap up two years of global touring, bringing it back to the heart of where the band started.

The band began life as a project at 2017 Adelaide Fringe. “I got in touch with Julian [Ferguson] and we were jamming things out to see how it would sound.

“Then our bass player friend [Eammon Burke] wanted to get a bass ukulele; we realised that since ukuleles are quite small, a bass is quite important to fill more sound. So we got him involved too, then when we went on tour we took on Ruben [Legge] our saxophone player to play on tour and at festivals,” the group’s lead ukulele player, Benjamin Roberts says.

At Fringe, the band will present three very different shows as the group strives to create a hub for the humble ukulele. “We’ve toured the world over the last two years and we’re going to make Adelaide the centre of the ukulele universe this Fringe season,” beams Benjamin.

“Ukes are a global phenomenon and there’s no reason why Adelaide, which has such a vibrant music scene, can’t be the centre of it all.”

Their first stint this Sunday (3 March) invites all to come and enjoy Fruke Fest – a day full of ukulele, offering free entry for children. “There will be workshops running, kids entertainment too and kids workshops as well as performances from local ukulele groups, as well as interstate and overseas acts.”

The band have two further Fringe shows: a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds tribute show named ‘Come Sail Your Ships’, followed by their ‘Fifty Shades Of Uke’ night.

“We are doing a tribute show with songs from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, which is our interpretation of the band, so we will play his songs.

“’Fifty Shades Of Uke’ will be all of our original tunes and having a bit of fun in a high-energy show.”

Ukulele Death Squad will also appear on the Sunday at WOMADelaide.

Ukulele Death Squad 2019 Shows
Sun 3 Mar – Fruke Fest @ Carclew (Adelaide Fringe)
Sun 10 Mar – WOMADelaide (Adelaide)
12-14 Mar – Come Sail Your Ships @ Grace Emily Hotel (Adelaide Fringe)
Sat 16 Mar – Fifty Shades Of Uke @ Regal Theatre (Adelaide Fringe)