Exclusive: Voices Behind ‘Glee’ Warblers Talk Rebecca Black’s ‘Masterpiece’ & More!
Since the introduction of the Dalton Academy Warblers this season on Glee, people have not been able to stop talking about their catchy covers and smooth voices. Not only have they been a hit on the show, they’ve smashed records too, as their version of “Teenage Dream” set the Glee record for single day sales, garnering a seriously impressive 55,000 downloads.
But who are the voices behind the blue and red jackets? They’re the Tufts University Beelzebubs!The Bubs is an all male a cappella group that consist of 12 guys whose history with the university dates back to 1963. While Glee has helped shine a spotlight on them, they were also part of NBC’s hit show The Sing-Off prior to their most recent gig.
Celebuzz caught up with three of the members — president Eli Seidman, business manager Evan Powell and historian Kent McCann — to chat about everything from how being in an a cappella group helps them with the ladies, similarities between the Warblers and themselves, and yes, even a possible collaboration with current internet fascination, Rebecca Black.
Were you guys fans of the Glee before being involved with it?
Evan Powell: I think some of the guys were, I actually hadn’t seen it since our first time.
Eli Seidman: There were some guys who were huge fans of it, who kind of freaked out then they heard that some talk was going on about it. I personally hadn’t watched it much until the first episode that we were on. We all just got together to watch it and it was a group of 11 dudes watching Glee, which I don’t think is their target demographic. The rest of the guys who were around just thought we were really weird because it’s twelve college-aged guys sitting and watching Glee. But it’s fun, we like it — it’s a fun show, it’s great for families. We have really young kids up to adults who just say that they really like the show and the Warblers, so it’s a great thing to be part of.
So have you had time to catch up on the first season in the meantime?
ES: I haven’t, but I think some of the guys have.
EP: Yeah until homework lets up, I don’t think we’re going to get a chance to backpedal and watch it, but we’ve been filled in. I’d like to think we know most of it.
Kent McCann: My mom went out and bought all the DVD box sets. When I go home for summer break, I’ll have something to keep me busy?
ES: Who needs an internship?
Are your meetings as intense as the Warblers’?
ES: [Laughs] Not nearly, at all. They put us to shame, they always looks really spiffy and everything seems to be made from really solid oak wherever they are. I wish you could see where we are right now because the room has been in our possession for awhile, I guess that’s the best way to put it.
KM: We look like hoarders basically.
ES: Yeah it is not very pretty.
So, it’s not glamorous?
ES: Not in the slightest. It’s like what you would expect a room to be if 12 college dudes lived in it for like 20 years.
EP: It is what it is, but we call it home and we love it.
ES: I think they’re maybe a little more rigid than we are, we try to have a little more fun than at least they do on TV. All I’ve seen them with is the gavels and the judging and all that stuff. We’re all about chilling and having fun.
KM: Good times.
EP: And we do not have a pet bird, unfortunately. We have a strict policy against them.
ES: Although we occasionally have mice in here.
EP: They are adorable.
ES: One thing that’s somewhat similar is, although they may be more intense than us, is that we are a pretty old group, we’ve been around for 48 years and we def have an appreciation for the guys who were in the group before us. In the room, we have plaques with the names of everyone whose been in the group, as well as lots of meetings with our alumni, we see them on a regular basis, the guy who started the group has us over for dinner and you def see [with the Warblers] stuff like “We haven’t sung outside since 1928 when they got a plane crashed into them!” we sometimes bring up things that the group has done before, but we’re not so rigid about it. I’d say that’s the biggest similarity between the groups is the appreciation for history.
EP: Also, we’re really good looking like them.
That’s one thing we were going to ask: Do you guys just get a ton of ladies? Do you just go up to them and serenade them and they swoon over you?
ES: Definitely not [Laughs]. We’re an a cappella group through and through. That’s the funny thing about watching the show, they sound so good and they’re just so suave. I think that the cinematography really flatters them and it’s just not what real life is like. I mean I will say that it doesn’t hurt, being able to sing is always a good thing, for the ladies, for men, for whatever you’re into, because like Glee, we’re very supportive of whatever people are in to. I would say it doesn’t hurt but the image of the “rock star” is not in a cappella. If you’re looking for that, pick up an instrument. Grow your hair out, get some tattoos.
So you didn’t get into it for the ladies?
ES: No [laughs]
KM: I did not join an all male a cappella group for the ladies. [Laughs]
EP: It’s like, “Oh yeah I’m going to spend 8 hours a week with dudes, aw, the chicks are going to love that.”
ES: No, it was not our intent.
Do you all have musical backgrounds? How did you get into the Beelzebubs?
EP: It really varies person to person, like I know Eli here didn’t really do anything that musical before coming to college. He just had a low voice and decided to come to an audition and got in. I didn’t personally sing until senior year of high school, I was always in band and was a band geek and I figured I would branch out a little bit when I got to college.
ES: Yeah, it definitely depends. It’s not required, but being musical helps, but you don’t need to be a singer per se, and especially the way we do solo auditions and that kind of stuff, any one can get a solo for any song, but not everyone is a soloist, so we don’t pick guys who necessarily have the best voices, it’s more about personality and blend and a lot of other factors that go into the acapella process that oyu might not think about were you not so involved in it I guess. So you know, we’re not recruiting divas or like the spotlight stealers, per se, all time.
What are some of your favorite Glee numbers?
KM: Anything by the Warblers is pretty good. [Laughs]
Aside from that!
ES: You mean the not Warblers stuff?
Yeah, do you listen to any Glee music besides your own?
KM: [Laughs] You called us out!
ES: I really liked the Rocky Horror episode. It got totally panned by critics but I thought it was really entertaining and that’s always been something I’ve enjoyed.
EP: I thought the original song at the end of this last episode was actually pretty darn catchy. I can see why it’s at the top of iTunes right now. It’s pretty good.
On the note of original music, do you guys ever write music or anything like that?
EP: We try to avoid it mostly for two reasons, one is that we are not nearly musical enough and no one would like what we came up with probably [laughs] and also to be honest, a cappella is kind of like a more glorified cover band and so people come to shows to hear songs that they know.
KM: And to see us wave our arms around. [Laughs]
EP: Yeah and see us wear our ties and stuff like that, so I think just knowing our audience I think they’re just there for the fun of it, which we are obviously too and I think sometimes we take ourselves seriously, but overall we try not to take ourselves too seriously. So the short answer I guess is no, but I guess if someone came to us and had really good song writing abilities, we definitely wouldn’t say no to it.
KM: I would no, we have to thumb wrestle over it.
The Beelzebubs peform “Sweet Caroline” on The Sing-Off!
Who are some of your musical inspirations? Are you into all different kinds of music?
ES: Being in the Bubs has definitely diversified my taste in music a whole lot because we sing all different genres, it helps to listen to those different genres, so I personally say my musical taste is all over the place. From rap to dance music to even country music recently, I don’t know why.
EP: It’s on the record now!
ES: The taste of everyone in the group as a whole, I feel like there’s no genre that isn’t representing to some extent. Except for Irish music.
ES: Or noise. Pirate metal.
On that note, we have to ask, what do you think of Rebecca Black?
All: [Laughs] Yes!
EP: Do you have her contact info?
ES: Oh my God, yes please, hook us up with her.
I haven’t seen any a cappella covers of it yet. There’s screamo, dubstep, everything but a cappella.
EP: The problem is, it’s hard to touch perfection. [Laughs]
ES: We could never do that song justice.
EP: Everything about it, it’s like fine art, it should be hung in a museum.
ES: The pronunciation of “Friday”
ES: Yeah, Fried egg! And after that comes Saturday and after that is Sunday.
EP: I will hereby go on record saying that that is just a masterpiece. I don’t know what thought process went through her head, well that’s mean I shouldn’t say that.
KM: It’s catchy, that’s what I hate about it!
EP: The rhyme scheme is too good.
ES: I keep singing it even though I don’t want to. I’m sure that song is playing on the way to hell, just blasting. [Laughs]
We still think you guys should consider doing a cover.
EP: That’s actually pretty genius.
ES: We’d all probably fight over the solo.
EP: If you talk to her, tell her we’re her number one fans.
ES: And if she wants to collaborate on anything just give us a call.
Don’t you think she’s too big a star now?
KM: I feel kind of bad for her, she’s famous because she sucks.
ES: Yeah but she’s made it.
EP: She’s a William Hung.
We’ll see how long it lasts.
EP: Yeah I feel like if her next single comes out and it’s good we’ll all be disappointed. [Laughs]
Good old Rebecca Black.
EP: If we do a cover, we’ll credit you, definitely!
Sweet! Obviously, you guys are in college so how do you balance recording music for Glee, and midterms and a social life and all everything else?
KM: Not well.
ES: We’re all pretty anti-social but it worked out with Glee because we were able to record at a studio that was within walking distance from campus. So we would go to the session in between our classes and still manage to have a sort of regular school day, which was nice. And there was free food there so that was nice.
Cooking — one less thing you have to worry about!
KM: I wouldn’t even record anything, I would just sit on the nice couches and eat food. That’s my contribution to Glee.
ES: In general [the Bubs] pride ourselves on being efficient, so we use our time together to the best of our ability for the most part. So we’ll rehearse about seven hours a week, which sounds like a lot, but it adds up to having one more class if you look at it that way. There’s a lot of times to get homework done, hang out with friends, and we tend to have some really busy weekends and others we don’t really have anything going on, and I will avoid everyone in the Bubs at all costs. Really savor my time outside the group as well. So it works out pretty well.
EP: I work best when my plate is pretty loaded up, and when we were doing Glee that was just the coolest part of it. If I had any free time during the day, I would just pop into the studio, chill with some guys do a little homework, then come back to school. It’s a really fun balance, such a cool opportunity. Even on the days when it was a little too much, just the novelty of it was like, “Wow, what I’m about to record is going to be on national TV.” It just floors you.
Thanks for talking with us, we’re so excited for your Glee CD to come out next month, and we’ll be waiting for your Rebecca Black cover!
EP: We’re releasing our own CD in the fall, so maybe that can be a bonus track.
ES: We’ll keep you posted, and have a great — “Friday, Friday!”