“Like the hobos”

My dad has a lot of great stories, this is one of them:

Dad: In high school we had a bunch of guys in the band and chorus. We were the band and chorus nerds. We put together a group to perform at an assembly. A school concert really. Not an assembly. Anyway, we put a lot of effort into it. We thought we’d start of as a jug band, but realized no one could play a jug… so we decided to do a JUNK band. Rick was playing the Anvil. He was the head of the AV group, and the biggest nerd you could imagine, so he got an igniter for an oil burner. Basically it generates a spark.

mike d: Like in the grill?

Dad: yeah. But bigger. You plug it in.

He hooked one wire up to the anvil and the other up to a sledge hammer. So he’d hit the anvil and then when he pulled the sledge hammer away there was a huge ARC.

I played banjo, because we had to have someone play something that resembled real music. Mike played guitar. He was driving along one day and found a barrel. A big giant wooden barrel. He put straps on it and wore it as a costume. Like the hobos. In general everyone wore costumes. That was the big deal. I got this thing like an oriental robe… it had all sorts of sparkles and gold… something that a movie character might wear… and I had a blue feathered clown wig.

Mom: you know listening to this, I can’t believe I married you.

Dad: By the way, this same group became the parade “love thy neighbor” group – Tom had a 6 foot tie that was about a foot wide. Everyone had some kind of percussion instrument like an iron pipe… all sorts of crazy things.

ANYWAY. so… the performances… what we did was took cute little harmonizing songs and throw in little things that would be totally BAZAAR.

Mom: read that as “They took cute little harmony like things and ruined them.”

Dad: FOR example. We took the song “you are my sunshine” and we sang it beautifully with three part harmonies for the first line of the song and then we’d all go “Whaka-do! Whaka-do!” Then we’d go back into the harmony. We were inspired by Spike Jones. He was a famous orchestral comedian who worked with musical groups. He’d add sounds and little entertaining tidbits to a well known piece. He had one famous song “you always hurt the one you love” and then there’d be two gun shots. BOOM BOOM.

Spike Jones.

Typically we’d tell a joke… do a song. then tell a joke. And the jokes were very bad.

Always little one liners: they dug up beethoven’s grave – most of the jokes were about classical musicians… because we were emulating them. – but he was missing and finally they found him in a cave. And he was sitting there with all his music and a pencil and eraser, erasing all his music and they said “Beethoven what are you doing?” and he said “I’m decomposing!”

So one time we played the Toreador song “bap bap bap bap (he sings it)” This was the time that we were influenced by P.D.Q. Bach. Bach is J.S. Bach… PDQ bach was a play off that. He used instruments that were rather unique. he wrote a piece for slide whistled…. So we made Paper towel tubes… you know the cardboard tubes… and we actually took two tubes together so you could slide them up and down then blow into them. The piece de resistance was at the very beginning… we told the audience that we needed music because it was a complicated song… we took a piano roll: a strip of paper with holes in it so the vacuum tubes of the automatic piano could play the music… he held one side of it and then threw the other end so the paper would fly across the stage. We all walked to the beginning of the stage and as we played the song we’d slowly walk along the stage. When we got to the other side of the stage we’d yell REPEAT and then all run to the beginning again.

Needless to say we were QUITE popular. Now we’re getting to the good story

One evening after we had just played a concert and were all in costume driving home. We’re all piled into my VW van and I’ve got Rick and Ernie in the back seat and your mother in the front seat. We drove up to your mother’s house and I walked to your mother’s back door but she was very angry because of something stupid I did. She was very angry and I was being “DISCUSSED AT.” So the two guys in the –

Mom: A WELL DESERVED, long overdue “Discussed at”

Dad: So the two guys in the van didn’t know what was going on and were getting bored. One of them was the anvil guy: Rick. He was known for his sneaky tricks.

Mom: He had a wild and whacky sense of humor

Dad: so Rick and the other guy, Ernie, decided they would take the van and roll it out of the driveway down the street. I hadn’t left the keys in it… so they pushed it. They pushed it out of the driveway down the street and onto a side street. So after the discussion with your mother. The Lengthy discussion. After I participated in the HEARING part of the lengthy discussion.

Mom: the much deserved lengthy discussion

Dad: I came out to the front of the house and the van was gone. And I‘m standing there in my GOLD outfit with all the sparkles. Full length gold.. with my BLUE feathered wig on. And up comes a police cruiser. It’s late at night too… 1am. And the policeman opens the window

“What’s the problem son?”

I’m distraught from the arguement. So all I can say is: “I lost my van”

The crusier takes off and drives around … comes back and says
“Your friends are down the street.”

So I went down there and the two of them are ROLLING laughing because they watched the whole thing. And as we left the street where your mom’s house was and we got down to the end of the street… there’s the police cruiser.

He pulls us over and walks up to the window and says “you should probably turn your lights on.” Then he points to my friends and says “don’t do that again. Go home boys.”

4 thoughts on ““Like the hobos”

  • 10/3/2006 at 6:48 am

    I want to hear more about the Giant Arcing Anvil.

  • 10/3/2006 at 3:45 pm

    hah hahahahahahahahahhahahaahhahahaa dad is great

  • 10/4/2006 at 5:25 am

    I got pulled over by the police once for not having my headlights on, but the story behind it is nowhere near as entertaining as your Dad’s.


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