San Diego’s Mrs. Henry turned to puppets when live gigs were no longer possible.
The virus got so serious, so quick, that they ended up playing only one show of their projected spring tour. What’s a meticulously-planning band to do when they suddenly can’t play live?
In the case of San Diego’s Mrs. Henry, the answer crucially includes puppets.
“The process is pretty fascinating,” comments Blake Dean and Dan Cervantes, on the puppet segments of their new “Medicine Show” webcast. “We all get on a group phone call and each of us has a microphone going into a recorder. We ad lib and improv off of each other like a Christopher Guest film, following an outline and making sure we hit certain plot points to move the story along. Then our isolated high quality audio gets edited and sent to the puppet lab, where each member of the band gets their individual words acted out with a puppet.”
“It is a long process. There is a time lapse video of the puppeteering for episode two where you can see a clock in the background burn through 21 hours in less than a three minute video.”
Mrs. Henry caught a lucky break — they’d already mastered video technology through filming their guest-star laden tribute to the Band’s “The Last Waltz,” which they premiered last year at the Oceanside Film Festival.
The “Medicine Show,” with nods to the old Band song “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” and the actual medicine shows (performing troupes gathered around a snake oil salesman) that inspired it, will feature puppets, to be sure; but also videos from local folks in lockdown, plus Mrs. Henry and various musical guests getting together remotely.
Dean and Cervantes merrily offer a mix of truth and lies, about upcoming episodes: “We unite the greatest rock n roll band in the universe starring our friends in Earthless, the Blank Tapes, Howlin Rain, Warish, Ulysses from the UK, Howlin Jaws from France, and beyond.”
“Jody teaches the Green Orb guy to tap dance. Twizzlers, Ballast Point and Whistle Pig sponsor our show for free booze and licorice for life.”
“You’ll have to watch for the truth,” they sign off.