PLSDSP Live: October 20 in Berkeley!

Here’s the info you’ve been waiting for! On Saturday October 20 we’re performing all of Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans live — with the full power of the Awesöme Orchestra Collective.— at Hertz Hall at UC Berkeley. And we need your help in making it happen!

Performing the album live with a full orchestra is something we might only get to do once, so Jude and I really want to make this everything we feel it can be. Hertz Hall was designed for symphonic music — it will sound phenomenal — and we want to have the show recorded in both audio and video formats, which we will release publicly at a later date. So to make all of that happen, we’ve come up with a three-prong, one-time fundraiser:

DONATE: If you just want to donate a few bucks, we have an account on PayPal  — anything helps! All donors will receive a download link for the live recording of the show in advance of its public release, and your names will be included in the credits (if you want that). So please make sure you include your email of choice somewhere in there — we’ll assume it’s your PayPal address unless you say otherwise.

UPDATE: VIP & VIP Plus tickets are no longer available — thank you for the enthusiastic support! Standard free seating is still available on a first-come basis. Doors open at 6pm! 
If you plan to attend in person, we’re setting aside the first few rows at $20 per seat. If you donate $20 through PayPal and specify that you want a “VIP ticket” (please note if you’re planning to attend with friends or family, you can get as many $20 premium seats as you want until they’re gone), we will have a VIP list at the door with your name on it. And if you really want to shoot the works, a super-generous $40 $30 gets you a literal front row seat second row seat plus a souvenir packet including a laser-cut PLSDSP keychain, a desktop R2 model, some PLSDSP guitar picks, a custom replica of the infamous plans themselves, and other goodies that we are still putting together. There are only a limited number of these special seats, so claim your “VIP Plus” package early! Same email contact rules apply — let us know where we can send you a link to the recording when the time comes.

LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT: If you cannot attend but you like getting physical stuff for your donation, we are selling a limited-edition t-shirt which will only be available for the duration of this fundraiser. It features a commissioned illustration by Tony Baldini of Lightning Dogs fame. (Since Spreadshirt doesn’t show us your email when you order, you’ll need to drop us a note with your order number so we know how to send you a download link later.) More info on the shirt is here.

All the funds we’ve received so far from the release of the album are being applied to our costs here, but it’s not quite enough. That said, any funds we raise in excess of what we need to cover our costs go to the Awesöme Orchestra. Nothing will be wasted and we will not take advantage of anyone’s generosity. We just can’t pay for all of this out of pocket.

We’ve put together an amazingly talented band with players and singers from around the country, plus the Awesöme Orchestra is appropriately named. They will also perform selections from John Williams’ film score as part of the show, and we have a few other fun things planned too. The venue seats more than 600 people, and the show will be appropriate for all ages. Cosplay is strongly encouraged! A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

We are thrilled that we get the chance to perform the album live, and we are committed to doing this as well as it can be done. If you can help — either by donating some money or simply spreading the word about the event and the fundraiser — please do. It’s deeply appreciated. Here’s the Facebook event if you’d like to share a social media reminder for the event, and to spread the word about the fundraiser, just send folks to this page, please!

We can’t wait for October 20!


New Song: “Leia Organa”

Hey all — we’ve got one more song to offer before we stick a fork in 2017. After Princess Leia’ Stolen Death Star Plans was released, we got a lot of questions from folks who liked what they heard. “What about Empire Strikes Back to Abbey Road? Return of the Jedi over Revolver?” Honestly, PLSDSP was as rewarding as it was challenging to create, but we really considered it to be a wonderful, fortunate, singular combination. But, as we said a few times in interviews, we still love The Beatles and Star Wars, so we’d be interested in combining them again if an idea presented itself.

So, a few months ago, Jude presented the idea: “I was thinking…’Lady Madonna’…Leia Organa? Here’s some lyrics that came to mind.” Dan agreed wholeheartedly, and the result — through no coincidence, just in time for The Last Jedi — is a tribute to Leia from ANH through TFA. It’s a short song, so we had to be brief! You can download the MP3 and FLAC files (all our music is downloadable here at no charge) or just enjoy the YouTube video, once again created by the amazing Katrin Auch. It’s all free, so please share if you enjoy.

This year was a huge one for us, and this song feels a bit like an encore. Please accept this as our thank-you for everybody who supported PLSDSP back in May, either through social-media sharing or tip jar contributions. But it’s also our love letter to Carrie Fisher, whom we lost last year around this time and will miss forever. Her bravery as a person and her importance representing a strong female character both had profound effects on us. But she was also known for her wicked sense of humor, both about herself and her place in pop-culture history, so we really hope she would have gotten a kick out of this.

We hope you do too. Thanks for all your support and encouragement in 2017 — from a creative standpoint, it’s been a fantastic year, and we owe it all to you. Enjoy your holiday season and we’ll see you in 2018!

New Song: “Blow it Back to God” (Raiders of the Lost Ark/TMBG)

Last month, Dan was invited to take part in Martin Azevedo’s Raiders of the Lost Ark: A Musical Emergency in Alameda, California. It’s basically a musical potluck: A movie is chosen, everybody picks a scene to turn into a song (original or parody), then everybody shows up and performs it for the first time — no group rehearsal, just making the show in the moment. It’s very loose and pretty cool. But when he found out the topic was Raiders, he immediately said, “Oh, I hope someone takes the scene where Indy is pointing the rocket launcher at the Ark and Belloq says ‘Blow it back to God.’ and does a parody of ‘Kiss Me, Son of God’ by They Might Be Giants.

So, that was that. Dan performed it live with Matt Montgomery and Brian Adam McCune, but we wanted to record it too — and since it was under two minutes, we figured even we could record and release it pretty quickly. So now that you know the context — and why we would choose this one short scene and this one short song — here’s our studio version, once again with a spot-on video from Katrin Auch.

Want the MP3? Here ya go, it’s free.

We chose the Miscellaneous T “alternate version,” which is literally one accordion and two vocal tracks — this is also how TMBG performs it live. After the massive undertaking that was PLSDSP, it was nice to make something this short and simple. As Indiana Jones might never say…we hope you dig it.

It Was 50 Years/One Month Ago Today…

Today is June 1, making it the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper. Giles Martin’s remix of the album is a stunning achievement and you should absolutely pick it up (or at least listen to it on Spotify).

It’s also been one full month since we released Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans — and what a month it’s been! We thought we had created something worthwhile, but we didn’t really know if people would discover it, or if they did, if they would connect with it. We posted the album at 6am on May 1, and the first major press outlet, io9/Gizmodo, wrote it up just 14 hours later. That was way faster than we expected anybody to notice, and the commentary was far more positive than we could have dreamed — press and fans alike started throwing out the kind of overwhelmingly positive adjectives that make us blush.

The next few days were a wonderful rollercoaster of shock and gratitude for us, as more press outlets and geek luminaries weighed in. After a month, we counted close to 100 blogs, sites, and podcasts (that we know of!) that shined a spotlight on the project. Some of our favorite and most flattering comments included:

“The best parody album ever.” — Nerdist

“Surprisingly elegant…the perfect combination of two giants of pop culture.” — Rolling Stone (France)

“Master satirists…lyrical geniuses…this is Weird Al-level parody but even greater in scope. An instant classic.” — The Spectrum (USA Today Network)

“Masterful” — Entertainment Weekly

“Even Darth Vader would be impressed.” — CNET

“The kind of comical mashup the Internet was made for.” — NPR

“A lot of elaborate internet jokes result in a sort of amused chuckle—’Hoo boy, someone had too much time on their hands!’—but Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans transcends this. It’s about as ambitious as such projects get…It’s hard to imagine someone biting off a larger task than this, nor someone chewing as vociferously as Palette-Swap Ninja does here.” — The AV Club

We were also amazed to see the project covered by huge outlets like Empire, Polygon (with an interview!), Slate (which noted the Porkins joke we hid in track 13), IGN,, Huffington Post, The Hollywood Reporter,, The Mary SueUproxx, and of course, Reddit. And the whole time, friends are reaching out to say “I just heard you on my local radio station” or “I was going to send you a link to this album but then I realized you made it!” Meanwhile, we’re just thinking…can this be real? It was all super humbling.

But for all this positivity, there was a high point above all others — one that made our hearts absolutely leap.

Folks, Luke Skywalker liked our jokes about Luke Skywalker. I mean, JMS ain’t nothing to sneeze at, but an actual Star Wars actor — and a huge Beatles fan — making our project his pinned tweet for a day? The Force will be with us, always.

And course, there’s all the “Have you heard this?” posts that you fans created to spread the word. All we wanted was to get this thing out there, and you helped — so sincerely, thank you!.Words can’t adequately express our gratitude for all of this. We did this project because we really thought it was an idea worth exploring, and we committed all our energy to doing the best job we possibly could. Getting the kind of acknowledgement and praise for that effort has really made us feel amazing.

Thank you as well to everybody used our tip jars (we beefed up our website hosting, and it did not crash, so now we can cover that expense!) and the kind soul who tried to create a PLSDSP page on Wikipedia. The rules of that site are understandably strict, and since the band doesn’t have a page already (and nothing was linked to the band’s mention on Dan’s page), there wasn’t much hope of the project itself getting a page — but it’s the thought that counts!

We’ve got a few more stories to tell about the making of the album, so for those of you who really want to know more detail, watch our site — when we get it together, we’ll post it! Until then, sincere thanks for all the support, kind words, and amplification you’ve given us over the last month. It means everything.