ST. GEORGE – It seems like yesterday that St. George News reported on a group of guys from Utah, two from St. George, who came together to form The Piano Guys in 2011 and catapulted into overnight success on YouTube; of those, Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson, Paul Anderson and Al Van Der Beek are still going strong with nearly 3,700,000 YouTube subscribers.
In their latest release, published on YouTube Tuesday morning, The Piano Guys demonstrate their yet inexhaustible imaginations bringing a 1770s harpsichord into collision with a 1970s talk box in “What if the 1770s collided with the 1970s? – ‘I want you Bach.'”
Watch the YouTube here: What if the 1770s collided with the 1970s? – “I Want You Bach” – ThePianoGuys
In an accompanying write-up posted on their website, The Piano Guys muse:
What if J.S. Bach and Jackson 5 met up and just jammed? Would they jive? Can you dig it? These are the kind of far out questions we asked ourselves as we laid down these licks and cut this film. We decided to put together a gig with two wigs in dandy attire and two hep-cats in some funkadelic threads to see if it would fly. (Incidentally, Steve’s 1770/1970 alter egos are “Sir Reginald von Sharp” and “Scooby” while Jon’s are “Duke Johann van Keymeister” and “Phil.”)
True to form, the collective creativity of The Piano Guys led to a mashup of The Jackson 5’s funky “I Want You Back” with five illustrious themes written by J.S. Bach.
Viewers are challenged to catch all five Bach themes, according to their website, promising: “… winner gets a free disco ball…which will be faxed to you,” one of a few enticements included on The Piano Guys’ morning post with the “I Want You Bach” launch.
All the sounds you hear in the composition were created by the instruments shown – including the words “I Want You Back/Bach” simulated by a “talk box.”
Talk boxes were popularly used in the 1970s, but never with a cello, The Piano Guys state on their Web page giving a closer look at the elements of “I want you Bach”; they explain:
Here’s how it works: Steve plays cello notes through a micro speaker built into a foot pedal, the sound then travels through a tube and into his mouth where he shapes the notes into actual words. (Google “talk box” to learn more – it’s pretty groovy.) To our knowledge the likes of electric cello, grand piano, harpsichord, Baroque cello, talk box, and kick drum have never gigged together. Until now. It’s totally the battle of the 70’s – the 1770s and the 1970s…can you dig?
Phil is tickling the ivories of a custom-built hybrid grand piano, while Scooby shreds on a custom 5-stringed electric cello complete with a sidecar kick drum. Conversely, Sir Reginald is playing a circa-1700-replica Baroque cello (no “why don’t you fix it?” jokes, please), and Duke Johann is playing an actual harpsichord that was built and designed by Hale Centre Theatre. In fact, nearly everything you see in this video was provided by Hale Centre Theatre – from the sinking Piano/Cello platform down to the disco duds of Scooby and Phil opposite the Scarlett Pimpernel robes arrayed upon Johann and Sir Reggie.
- The Piano Guys success spreads worldwide: Debut album, overseas appearances, US tour 2013
- YouTube keys The Piano Guys into an audience of millions – 2012
- The Piano Guys Outscore The Harlem Globetrotters to Take Top YouTube Spot – 2011
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