David Manley is an exceptionally talented artist who has created an entire world of puppets, and also the awesome music video for our song Electricity featuring puppet Ming & Ping! David and his team at Up In Arms have a show for children called “Helping Drew” with a very good message about anti-bullying. Here’s a bit that David wrote about his discovery of our music:
I was lucky to be a teenager in the 80’s and have my music tastes blossom with a steady diet of synthpop pioneers like Erasure, Eurythmics, Depeche Mode, Thompson Twins and Human League. I also idolized 80s pop gods Michael Jackson, Prince, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. Music in the 80s was dramatic and full of fun and flair.
As the music spotlight veered away from synthpop, I relied on the internet and sites like A Different Drum to discover the next new wave of synthpop talent. I believe it was 2006 when one of my online music excursions brought me to an article on Ming & Ping and a free download of their Bright Sunlight (HOT4U Remix). I was hooked. Everything that I loved about 80s synthpop was front and center in their delivery, complete with a fashion aesthetic ripped from the pages of Smash Hits circa 1985.
In 2006, I had also rediscovered puppetry, a passion from my youth that began with Jim Henson’s Muppets on Sesame Street and, later, The Muppet Show. There was an inherent goodness, quest for light and love that encompassed both my taste in music and passion for puppetry. In 2007, Ming & Ping released their album Causeway Army and set my synthpop soul on fire once more. What a gem! What charisma! They have proven themselves worthy to carry the torch for a new synthpop age. As Causeway Army surrounded me in its lush soundscape on repeat listenings, I kept coming back to the song Electricity as a favorite and looked forward to M&P’s possible video in hopes it would match some of the imagery that was playing in my mind. At the end of 2008, my puppet building skills were getting better and by May of ’09, I was inspired to create my own Ming & Ping puppets with the idea of creating a Ming & Ping puppet music video. By this time, the Causeway Army campaign had ended and M&P were on to recording their next album and began their “Ming & Ping Spicy Show” series on their Youtube channel. With a local friend, I story-boarded a music video for Electricity, shot and edited it and sent it off to M&P in hopes they would enjoy it. I was ecstatic and honored when the guys wrote back telling me they loved what I had done and wanted to feature it in a new episode of their Spicy Show.
Puppetry has since become my career and, in the spirit of the love and peace that puppetry and music has always meant to me, I produced an anti-bullying puppet show [Helping Drew] with a talented writer which I’m currently touring to elementary schools. Additionally, while working with a theatrical academy for elementary-school-aged through teen students, I present a 2-hour workshop teaching them the basics of puppetry. The Ming & Ping puppets, with their flowing, spiked hair and cool neck ties, are favorites among the students. When they ask about the origins of the different puppets, I get a certain satisfaction in telling them that Ming & Ping are an actual synthpop duo in LA whom the puppets were modeled after. Maybe it will inspire them to discover some spicy new music.
Helping Drew promotional video from Up In Arms on Vimeo.
David’s puppet company is Up In Arms at upinarms.biz. Additional production photos and upcoming projects are featured on the Up In Arms Facebook page facebook.com/upinarmspuppets.
David, you’re so talented in so many ways! I’m so proud to share your updates on Drew and it gives me a second to brag about you as well!
Keep up the awesome work!
And he’s as cool and humble as can be! What a great guy! :)