US Muscian Cory McDaniel has song about Wuppertal Elephant

The following article about "Elephants fallin Wuppertal," is a translation from German newspaper in Wuppertal,WZ Westdeutsche Zietung published on March 29, 2009

by von Valeska von Dolega

One of the most famous representatives of Wuppertal is without a doubt Pina Bausch. Alas, not her, but another Grand Dame of the city has just been celebrated in song during the Mettmann Bluesweek: Tuffi.

"I found her story/history fascinating," explained Cory McDaniel, who is known in the music world as one half of the blues duo The Tremors. During a performance in the valley a few years ago, the American was told that a girl elephant had been put in the Schwebebahn for advertising purposes and had "survived a spectacular fall." And that stuck with the guitarrist at home, which is in Wyoming , USA . So the guitarrist did what musicians do in such a case: he composed a piece about her. "The song is only 2-1/2 weeks old."

If his songs are usually in the tradition of Muddy Waters or Paul Butterfields and or remind of Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits, then "Tuffi" turned into a "real circus act with a happy ending," as the composer admits smiling. "The melody is a 3/4 rhythm, a little like a waltz - and highly entertaining." Even the first few notes remind not of heat-flickering (?) Southern cotton fields, but of a circus tent.

Consequently amused was the audience in the Mettmann Stadtwaldhaus, where Cory McDaniel and bass player Dale Bohren performed together with Kent DuChaine. The performance of "Tuffi" was a world premiere, which earned a lot of applause. "The song will definitely make our new CD," promises Cory McDaniel, whose favorite animal continues to be his "cute, little dog" despite all sympathy for Tuffi. He also used his stay in Germany to follow Tuffi's path -- to float in the Schwebebahn above the Wupper valley.

Here is the original article in German.
Uraufführung: Ein „Tuffi“-Song aus Wyoming

von Valeska von Dolega

Der US-Musiker Cory McDaniel hat ein Lied über Wuppertals berühmte Elefantendame geschrieben.

Cory McDaniel erntete Applaus für seinen Song. (Foto: Simone Bahrmann)

Wuppertal. Eine der berühmtesten Repräsentantinnen Wuppertals ist zweifelsohne Pina Bausch. Aber nicht sie, sondern eine weitere Grande Dame der Stadt ist jüngst auf der Mettmanner Blueswoche besungen und gefeiert worden: Tuffi.

„Ich fand ihre Geschichte faszinierend“, erklärt Cory McDaniel, der musikalischen Welt als die eine Hälfte des Blues-Duos The Tremors bekannt. Dass ein Elefantenmädchen zu Reklamezwecken in die Schwebebahn verfrachtet wurde und „einen spektakulären Sturz überlebte“, wurde dem Amerikaner bei einem Gastspiel im Tal vor ein paar Jahren erzählt. Und ließ den Gitarristen auch zu Hause, das ist in Wyoming , USA , nicht mehr los. Also tat der Gitarrist das, was ein Musiker in solchen Fällen tut: er komponierte ein Stück über sie. „Das Lied ist grade zweieinhalb Wochen alt.“

Sind die Songs Cory McDaniels sonst eindeutig in der Tradition von Muddy Waters oder Paul Butterfields zu sehen und knüpfen an Leonard Cohen oder Tom Waits an, so ist „Tuffi“ eine „echte Zirkusnummer mit Happy End geworden“, wie der Komponist lachend bekennt. „Die Melodie hat einen Dreivierteltakt, ist ein bisschen wie ein Walzer – und höchst unterhaltsam“. Schon die ersten Takte des Liedes erinnern nicht an hitzeflirrende Südstaaten-Baumwollfelder, sondern an eine Zirkuskuppel.

Entsprechend amüsiert haben sich auch die Zuhörer im Mettmanner Stadtwaldhaus, wo Cory McDaniels und Bassist Dale Bohren zusammen mit Kent DuChaine auftraten. Die „Tuffi“-Premiere war eine Welturaufführung, die ausgiebig beklatscht wurde. „Das Lied kommt auf jeden Fall auf unsere neue CD“, verspricht Cory McDaniel, dessen Lieblingstier trotz aller Sympathie für Tuffi sein „kleiner, süßer Hund“ bleibt. Seinen Deutschland-Aufenthalt nutzte er übrigens auch dazu, auf Tuffis Spuren zu wandeln – also ausgiebig mit der Schwebebahn über das Wuppertal zu schweben.

The Tremors will perform at the Mettmann (Germany) Blues Week.

The Tremors will make their third appearance at the Mettmann Blues Week as part of the festival's 20th Anniversary Celebration this year. For information about dates, location and times clik on Tours.

Cory McDaniel to play solo tour

In mid August, Cory McDaniel will make a reunion tour of the great Northwest. McDaniel was a guitar legend in the Seattle area in the 1960s. He will play solo and with a number of former band mates. Check the Tour page of for dates and performance information.

Tremors to join Spencer Bohren for June tour

June 11-15,2008, the Tremors will join Spencer Bohren as his band at the Roots 'n' blues food and Music Festival in Parma, Italy. See our Tour page for information on dates and places.

Cory McDaniel to play solo Thursdays

Tremor Cory McDaniel has begun playing a solo Thursday at Elixer's above 303. See the Tour page of this site for details.

'They made the whole place swing'

Thursday, April 7, 2005 8:27 AM MDT

Susan Anderson

"When The Tremors from Casper, Wyoming entered the stage they made the whole place swing," said one reviewer of the band's appearance last month at Mettmann Bluesweek in Germany. Cory McDaniel, Dale Bohren, and Paul Lange are back -- playing to a hometown audience on Friday, April 26, with a special performance that's part vaudeville, part celebration of their 16-year history together. "An ARTCORE performance should be something more," says bassist Dale Bohren, "and this is about the art itself, the steps we've gone through to become who we are." The band started in the '80s with the three Casper natives. Then through the next 10 years, they tried adding a drummer, a horn section, a keyboard player and many guest singers at various times. "About three years ago, we decided we were best just as ourselves, as the trio," says Bohren, "and that's when our music began to take off again." Fans and reviewers in Germany applauded the trio in March. "Finest Blues made in Wyoming," headlined one article that went on to say, "The band's refreshing manner infected the audience." Still another article, calling them "one of the Bluesweek's most successful acts," described their enthusiastic reception when they brought their instruments to a high school to tell the music students about American blues, jazz, scat and folk music. McDaniel says the warm reception abroad made them a better band. "When the focus is really on you, you have to play better," he says. This second trip to Europe had a dramatic beginning. The trio arrived after 18 hours of traveling to find their instruments hadn't made it. They had to rise to the occasion, and they did. "We showed up with no equipment, I had one harmonica in my pocket," says McDaniel. "We drove straight from the airport to the gig, they brought us a guitar, we hadn't slept for 20 hours, and we powered through it - played everything in the key of 'A.'" They got rave reviews for that performance, and returned to their hotel to find five donated guitars and two amps. "It was heartwarming," says McDaniel. Silly and sublime In the Casper concert, the Tremors will take the audience through the band's years together, with guest artists from the past, and the kind of mix of old and new songs they have always performed. Highlights are the sometimes rowdy, often profound original lyrics and music by soloist and guitar player McDaniel. "I've Changed," "You've Gotta be Nice," and "Carry the Word" show the range of his writing, from the silly and salacious to the wise and sublime. Then there's the vaudeville part. After two CDs and two successful European trips in the past few years, The Tremors must feel like celebrating. Because scattered throughout the wild mix of bluesy songs on April 26 will be juggling, an Elvis impersonator, two child performers, baton twirling, a singing groom and "other surprises." The concert is at 7:30 p.m. on April 26 in Durham Hall at Casper College. Tickets are $9 adults, $8 seniors, $6 students, $4 for children 12 and under, and may be purchased at the door or outlets Hill Music Company, Flower Gallery, The Shade Tree, Sophie's Espresso and Sonic Rainbow, and in Douglas at Mullinix & Co. For more information, call ARTCORE at 265-1564. Fair Warning: The author of this article is married to the bass player in The Tremors band, but she tried to write with reasonable impartiality.

Cory McDaniel performs solo debut in Germany

by Robin Beaver
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 1:33 PM MDT

The Tremors' Cory McDaniel rarely performs as a solo act. In fact, he says, he might play as a single for only about an hour or so every other year. You may have seen him at the Beartrap Summer Festival, for example.

So when he was invited to Germany in December to play on his own at the Mettmann Bluesweek festival March 7-12, he was surprised.

McDaniel, Paul Lange and Dale Bohren of The Tremors have been invited regularly to the celebrated Mettmann blues fest since 2001, but this year, promoter Wolfgang Pieker needed to fill a solo slot.

McDaniel agreed, and to his added surprise, he was presented as one of the headliners, along with Stefan George, Eddie Martin, The Charlie Morris Band, Kat Baloun and Nina T. Davis, and Colin Earl and Dave Peabody.


If he experienced any uneasiness once onstage, it was fleeting.

"I didn't know what to expect," he says. "The Tremors are well loved in Germany, but I didn't know how it would be to perform as a solo.

"The coolest thing was, at the very first gig on Tuesday, I looked out and knew half the people, because we had been there three times before and they became our fans. I feel like they're my friends. The audience response was wonderful. I felt warm. It was moving."

Once again, McDaniel came away feeling that "Germans really understand the music."

In the blues genre, The Tremors play "some pretty obscure stuff," but in Germany, "they know you're playing a Tom Waits song or a Leonard Cohen song," he explains.

On a broader scale, Germans have a deep appreciation for this country's music, art and movies. It's so heavily influenced, says McDaniel, that you see American jargon on their posters.

One particularly heartwarming aspect of this festival stands out in his memory, and that is all of the young people in the audience -- many more than usual.

"Keep playing this music, or it'll be lost," was his advice to the youth of Germany.

Lost in music

The fans loved McDaniel's clever way of including the other Tremors' musicians when he was onstage, he says. Propped up near him were enormous photos of Bohren and Lange.

When performing with The Tremors, McDaniel cues off of Lange's harmonica and Bohren's bass.

"If those parts aren't there, I think, 'What's the next verse?' When Dale's harmonies are not there, I can get off course. We've played so long together that I get lost without them," McDaniel says.

His biggest challenge, then, was rearranging the music and wondering, "How do I arrange this so there aren't empty spaces?"

But McDaniel loves arranging more than anything, and it came easily.

To him, music is all encompassing and is like meditation - a place in which he can get "completely lost."

As a solo act, he stuck with almost all of The Tremors' originals -- music that McDaniel wrote. But he included pieces that they don't get to play a lot, he says, such as Cohen's "I'm Your Man" and "There is a War."

'Sensationally good'

One report in the Mettmann WZ mentions that "The Tremors' style showed through everywhere in (McDaniel's) show at the Stadtwaldhaus: rhythms rooted in traditional U.S. blues were mixed with modern arrangements and melodies full of variety. To the joy of the fan community, well-known Tremors' pieces could be heard as well as his own compositions."

Said Bluesweek organizer Pieker, McDaniel was "sensationally good," and added that although not all musical solo tours are successful, "with Cory McDaniel, you can be sure of an aura that was present at the Tremors' shows of the past."

McDaniel usually saved the tune "BIG White Lies" for the encore.

The trio's new album of the same name is due to hit music stores this spring.

For more information about The Tremors, visit

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