My brother said the song stopped everyone dead when it came on in the kitchen he works. At the mercy of shuffle mode, his Spotify-shuffle picked out “Play That Country Tuba, Cowboy” from the obscure Vandals album, The Vandals Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes. Understandably, nobody else had ever heard it, and the song received a collective, “wat?”
I originally had the album on a used-record store cassette find. We’d throw it on as a joke, as the album was clearly intended. But now, hearing most of it all these years later after my brother told me the kitchen story, it’s got some gold on it. “Country Tuba” isn’t just a conversation piece, pulling it up on YouTube for this post made me learn something else too.
Below the Vandals video, I found a Hee-Haw clip of Stan Freese playing the song (and tuba!). I recognized the last name because it’s the same last name as the Vandals drummer Josh Freese. Apparently, and thanks to Wikipedia, when your kid’s punk rock band is making a country album you pitch in however you can. This may be my new Father’s Day anthem going forward.
Also not worth your time but worth me talking about is the lead-off track, “Clowns Are Experts At Making Us Laugh.”
Is it juvenile and immature? Yes. Did all of the lyrics age well? Not particularly. Is it a delightfully weird trolling of country music ideals? My god, yes it is. My brothers, friends, and I would cry repeating the stupid talking/joke interludes to each other. How quotable to a bunch of nerdy 16-year-olds is this:
The other day 17 friends and me was drivin’ around in the clown mobile towin’ the ferris wheel in the back.
And this cop pulls me over and says, “
Where ya goin’ Bozo?”
I said, “I ain’t Bozo. I sure wish I was, though.
The man’s a friggin’ genius.”
You don’t need to play the whole record but give at least these two a listen. Disrupt/derail your coworkers, friends, and family accordingly. And happy early Father’s Day via the Freese family.