Thursday, August 1, 2013


It was a rainy Seattle night. Ando Ehlers, musician extraordinaire was skipping home from his favorite coffee shop after he had played one of the happiest ukulele sets he's ever performed. He decided to skip through an alleyway when a strange man carrying an accordion case, wearing a dark robe and a mask of a goat stepped in front of him. He pulled out a knife, and threateningly yet calmly said, "You wanna dance, Ehlers?" Ando was stunned. He shook his head in agreement. The man continued. "Well... I wanna polka."

This probably isn't exactly what happened, but I have a feeling that something almost as strange prompted Ando Ehlers to play the type of music that he does. He calls it Death Polka, which is pretty much a cross between punk rock, bluegrass, and polka. If pirates were still around, he'd be booked year round, going from port to port playing singing tales of "Whiskeydick" and letting everyone know that "This World Can Suck My Cock". This isn't to say that the more refined of us won't enjoy his set either, as his musicianship is really quite amazing. Ando Ehlers is the real deal, he's dynamite! Too much?

What is Ando Ehlers, where are you from, and how long have you been
playing death polka?

Ando Ehlers is a punk rock accordion-playin’ fool from Seattle WA who loves nothing more than to sing and scream his guts out on stage while people dance, get offended or have fun heckling him. All about a good time! Death Polka had its first performance in 2009 so I guess that makes it 4 years or so at this point.

 Some of your songs are recorded with a band. Is that you or other

I play accordion and ukulele on my records. Otherwise I’ve had some good friends who have helped me out lending their musical talents to the Death Polka extravaganza!

 About how much time do you put in on the road each year?
Since I started touring with this project about three or four years ago I’ve been slowly increasing my amount of time that I spend each year on the road. This year so far I’ve been out for four months total, with a one month tour that I have coming up in the Fall. That’ll be five for this year and next year I’m hoping that I can stay out for six to seven!

This photo was taken in a transitional period of
Ando's life, when he quit his job as a kindergarten
teacher to pursue a career in Death Polka ((Probably) Not true).

Bears, beets, or Battlestar Galactica?
Battlestar, baby! Gaius Baltar is probably my favorite character from that show. I want to say why, but I truly don’t want to give any of the show away in case someone hasn’t watched it yet. If you haven’t watched Battlestar Galactica YOU REALLY SHOULD. It’s worth the crazy length of time that the series takes!

 You've played in Billings a few times before. Any fond or disgruntled
memories? Based on past experience, what  do you expect from
Billings/Richard Dreyfest?

Only fond memories of Billings for me! Every time that I have played there has always brought a good night to the table. From my experience people in and around Billings seem to enjoy making music, hearing music, drinking and having a fun time. I don’t find anything wrong with that! I’ve got a hunch that Billings is going to bring it the way that they always do when Richard Dreyfest rocks their socks all down the block. I’m just hoping that by the time I hit the stage on Friday night everyone isn’t too worn out from dancing all day to all of the other great bands that are playing!

Which world can suck your cock: Kashyyk, the World of Warcraft, This
World, or Disney World?

Did we forget to mention that Ando sings through a bottle of whiskey
during his set? Well, it's more like "into" a bottle of whiskey, to be
Kashyyk can suck my cock because I feel that Wookies are one of the most profoundly uninspiring creatures in science fiction history. Seriously, that costume is just a shag carpet rolled around a dude who grunts. Lame.

The World of Warcraft can suck my cock because I know that if I played that game (I would really like to) I would lose my job and do nothing with my life. I got the 14 day trial of that little demon and did not allow myself to play any further because I fell so far behind on my projects and personal life that I knew I would become one of those weirdo guys who never leaves his house and only talks about WoW because he plays it for 15 hours per day.

Disney World can suck my cock because it’s too expensive for me to go there right now. I want to ride the Dumbo ride, damnit! Ugh! Suck my dick, Mickey.

I play a song called “This World Can Suck My Cock”, there’s a little more story behind that one here on my website:

What is your favorite aspect of performing as a solo project?
Probably the fact that I can just hit the road and tour whenever I would like to. I’ve worked with a lot of band members, and to me the hardest part is coordinating schedules between each other for tours and shows. Can’t say that I don’t miss having a band, but there’s also no way I would have been able to do some of the shows/tours that I’ve been able to play if I was still trying to coordinate schedules with other people.

Lastly, what would you like to tell Dreyfest-goers who have never seen
your show before? What's in store for them?

They should expect zazz! Pyrotechnics! Naked people! Special guest
appearances by Ronald McDonald, The Energizer Bunny and the entire lineup of Jim Henson puppets! They should expect an accordion, a drunk guy yelling at them about misanthropy and his ex girlfriends, a ukulele with spooky tones cursing Kashyyk, WoW and Mickey Mouse! A stomp box that is demonically possessed and occasionally has been known to bite fingers off of people! Some of that is true. Some of it is…exaggerated. Just bring your dancing shoes, when Death Polka hits the stage the only rule is that you need to have fun!

...So maybe he's not as scary as "Death Polka" might imply, but hey, he called out the entire Wookie race! That takes serious audacity, even if Wookies aren't necessarily... real. And stuff. Regardless, check out Ando's set at & 7:30 on Friday, at Discontent Billings!

See you at Dreyfest!

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