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The Ooks of Hazzard: A nine-person ukulele cover band addresses MGMT's 'Kids'

September 24, 2010 |  2:58 pm

In Friday morning's Los Angeles Times, writer Daiana Feuer profiled the nine-person ukulele collective the Ooks of Hazzard, who transform songs from the likes of Radiohead, Sublime, Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd into singalong uke ditties. Based in Venice Beach, the Ooks uploaded to YouTube their cover of MGMT's 2008 hit "Kids" the same weekend that MGMT played Coachella, and it brought the uke players worldwide attention. You can watch the clip above and feel nostalgia for both April 2010 and exactly two years ago this month, when MGMT's original was released as a single.  

The Ooks have an interesting backstory, Feuer wrote:

The ukulele's vibey magnetism guided the band members to the same Venice jam session, where they found each other earlier this year. "You ever get nine people together of all different walks and talks? It gets pretty interesting," Marshall says.

Hildebrand, Diaz, Marshall and cajón player Dave Botkin are surfers from Venice and Santa Monica. Nick Deane is a bit goth. He and Meredith MacArthur come from the theater world. When the Ooks formed, Jay Ponti was leaving on a spiritual quest. He took his soprano uke to India and traveled nomadically, playing ukulele. "He brought back the juju in time for our first show," Hildebrand says. Danny Kopel is the patriarch on accordion, and Timm Freeman, "a well-rounded Northern California biker type," plays bass uke. 

The Ooks of Hazzard perform at the Autumn Lights Festival at Pershing Square in downtown L.A. on Saturday evening.

-- Randall Roberts