Interest: Live karaoke music
Tulip finger is a skin disease that affects people who handle tulip bulbs. But Tulipfinger—one word, not two—is a live karaoke band based in Houston.
When Ryan Ash, George Denfield and Jiyoung Park aren’t working in their respective labs at Baylor College of Medicine, the three neuroscientists can be found jamming out in Ash’s Rice Village apartment.
“I think everybody needs to express a little bit of themselves in some form,” said Park, a graduate student in structural and computational biology and molecular biophysics who sings backup vocals for Tulipfinger. “What we had in common was that we were really curious about neurons and brains.”
The band formed in 2011 after Ash, Denfield and Park met as graduate students in Baylor’s neuroscience department and discovered their shared love of music. Playing together helped relieve the stress of graduate school and kept them from getting burned out.
Originally, the band was named Spike!Spike!Spike! as an homage to neuroscience. The brain contains close to 100 billion neurons that constantly fire signals to communicate with each other; every firing signal is known as a spike.
“We were able to make fun songs out of neuroscience,” Park said. “I’m not sure how many people we got to really spread that fun to, but I think the neuroscience department enjoyed it.”
As Spike!Spike!Spike!, the band often played at Baylor’s annual neuroscience conference, performing classic songs with a neuroscience twist. For example, the band’s rendition of the 1966 Beach Boys classic “Wouldn’t it Be Nice,” was titled “Would it Make You Spike.”
“Writing and playing music are both very creative enterprises,” said Denfield, a neuroscience M.D./Ph.D. student who plays guitar and sings. “Certainly, writing music is creative, but science is very creative, too. Idea generation is important in both of those.”
The band is like “Weird Al” Yankovic with a neuroscience flair, “but even nerdier,” said Ash, a neuroscience postdoctoral researcher who plays bass and trumpet.
Eventually, the band changed its name to Tulipfinger in 2013 when members decided to focus less on neuroscience-themed songs and more on karaoke. Ash’s father, a fellow musician who works in advertising, suggested they combine two random words for a unique-sounding name. They came up with Tulipfinger without knowing that “tulip finger” is a type of dermatitis. (That discovery came years later.)
The name stuck.
These days, Tulipfinger is an “activist karaoke band” with two additional members: Maho Sasaki, a neurological music therapist at Sam Houston University, on keyboard; and Dillon Baete, a Baylor
neuroscientist-turned-beer-scientist at Karbach Brewery, on drums.
Tulipfinger has close to 100 songs in its set list. When the band plays at a bar, people sign up to sing lead vocals, while the band plays the instrumental music and provides backup vocals.]
All of Tulipfinger’s songs have been selected in response to political upheaval.
“Recently, there’s been some interesting changes in the political climate and the social climate,” Ash said. “I grew up listening to the Beatles and stuff, so we got more into protest songs … and encourage more people to sing those.”
Earlier this year, Tulipfinger performed at the March for Science in downtown Houston. The band’s song, “M-M-M-March for Science!” was sung to the tune of the Knack’s 1979 debut single, “My Sharona.”
@3cowboyfans We are so glad to hear this. Sending our best wishes your way.
"What I like about MD Anderson is that everybody there is zeroing in on one entity: cancer." #CancerMoonshot #endcancer https://t.co/qKeu2MMCRw
You might jokingly say your child is addicted to video games, but this year the @WHO added gaming disorder to their list of diseases. Learn what signs you should watch for. https://t.co/86P9JnVVHj
VA Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services help Veterans get back on track — and back into the workforce. Learn more at https://t.co/rU7ZR6K4MW
Baylor College of MedicineBaylorCollegeOfMedicine
Allergies can cause havoc not only on your sinuses but also on your skin. Dr. Rajani Katta with the Department of Medicine explains. #allergies
Tips for staying healthy in jobs popular with the Veteran community https://t.co/lCaWVflETV via #VAntagePoint
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is @USNavy Veteran Charles F. Houston https://t.co/XBIPYIGccY
U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsVeteransAffairs
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Charles F. Houston. Charles served from 1941 to 1945 during World War II. Charles was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 16, 1941 at the age of 23. His training was in Norfolk, Virginia and he later served in Great Lakes, Illinois and on the USS De Haven. Charles was a member of the V6, or General Service and Specialists, unit. Charles now resides in Bluebell, Pennsylvania and is celebrating his 100th birthday today, March 23, 2018. Thank you for your service, Charles, and Happy Birthday!
CHI St Luke's Health@CHI_StLukes
RT @DrThaoGalvan: Dr Terry Box tells of his riveting transition from leading a liver transplant program to becoming a liver transplant pati…
TAMU Health Sciences@TAMHSC
Age successfully with this guide to #SeniorHealth: https://t.co/iXuYtxaSoh #Health #Aging #TAMHSC
RT @bcm_careerdev: Q. Andy Guo, PhD introducing internship opportunities at Baylor Licensing Group @bcmhouston & careers in technology tran…
Don’t have time for a long run? Consider an interval treadmill workout https://t.co/7rfoHESbjS
University of Houston@UHouston
RT @UHpres: Breaking ground for Technology Building at UH Sugar Land... https://t.co/3nNwEZfZPI
Watch how a second opinion revealed Gail Barr had stage IV #breastcancer and led her to find success with a #clinicaltrial. #bcsm #endcancer https://t.co/bMK3nuXlRN
University of Houston@UHouston
RT @CoachApplewhite: What a day on campus with Coog legends @sonofbum and @casekeenum7 ! #UHFBclinic #GoCoogs https://t.co/UZIzwEqELj