By Ed Klees. I have no idea what Sundial is, but i think it's a magazine.
On the Musical Road
The Columbia Band is known for a number of things, even music
Friday, 5:00 P.M. Tomorrow is Saturday,
and the Columbia Marching Band, known in
every football field from Franklin to Baker
as "The Cleverest Band in the World"
(because of the clever antics they've been
performing since the early sixties), is
about to head out to cheer the men in blue
against fierce Ivy League opposition. This
is a great oppurtunity to see the fabled
Columbia band, masters of the gross, off-
beat, and depraved, in action, on the field
and off. Playing in the band is a unique
experience. You can drink beer, throw up,
and talk dirty, and not only will the person
next to you not care, the chances are that
he/she is doing something even more
tasteless. It should be a good weekend.
6:00 P.M. We're off. In case you're
wondering, the reason we're going tonight is
because the band practices the half-time
show Saturday morning, and has no time then
for such folly like travelling. Overnight
trips bring out the diehard members, and
this trip is no exception. Members pile on
the bus, suitcase in hand, gleam in eye, and
condom in wallet. (Make no mistake - the
band is made up of male and female
musicians. It is proud of being sexually
integrated, as are Barnard and Columbia.)
"Oh, no, I forgot the inflatable party
doll," cries Howard Hoffman, saxophonist and
7:30 P.M. To pass the time on the way to
a game, band members participate, with the
aid of various intoxicants, in the hallowed
tradition known as 'gross bus.' This ritual
involves the singing of songs, such as "The
Freshmen up at Yale get no Tail," and "The
Barnard Song" ("'... we don't like scandals,
we use wax candles...'"), and the telling of
jokes: Q: "Smoke after sex?" A: "I don't
know, I never look."
The lyrics of the band's songs represent
the emotions and opinions of a truly
cultivated and subtle ensemble. The words
"We all were pre-meds at the start, but
four years have taught us all the value of
Philosophy, Art History, a B.A. degree..."
"I am a Princeton man. I am a Tiger for
better or worse. If you don't think I am I
will smite you with my purse. (You Thilly!)"
"Uncle Ezra's been deported for a
"Back your ass up 'gainst the wall, here
I come, balls and all. Bye, bye cherry..."
"Was it you who did the pushin', put the
stains upon the cushion, Footprints on the
dashboard upside down?"
"Took a groupie down with me to Wildwood,
And there I took advantage of her
9:00 P.M. As many make mirth with joke
and song, other members make their feelings
about the band known. Harlan Simon from
Westchester confesses, "I was given full
scholarships to Yale, Harvard, and Oxford,
but I chose Columbia for two reasons: the
band, and the food at John Jay." "I joines
the band to see the world," says Karen
Boyer-Bower. Barry Feldman remarks, "A bird
in the band is worth two in the bus, ha hah
hah." As can be seen, the band is certainly
living up to its reputation.
Saturday 1:00 P.M. The worst thing that
can happen to a college band is for the
visiting band, which always performs first,
to steal their half-time show. The visitors
perform, and then the home band has no
choice but to repeat it and come off looking
like fools. Today we are lucky enough to
have been tipped off by one of their
members, a Columbia College graduate, now a
grad student at the opposition school. It's
almost game time, and a chance to see how
the Cleverest Band in the World performs on
1:30 P.M. The first half begins, and
the band provides pep with the same rousing
renditions of "Who Owns New York?," "Roar
Lion Roar," and "The Mickey Mouse Show
Theme" that they've done for years. There
has been criticism that the band, although
famous for articles written about them in
Life and Sports Illustrated among
others, is small and musically defficient. [sic]
This is quite untrue. The horns are sharp;
the percussion is precise; the kazoo and
degeridoo are sounding sweet (The band takes
pride in using unusual instruments; in the
past, there have been a marching electric
guitarist and string section.)
2:30 P.M. Half-time. Although the band's
shows in the past were their own creations
and included formations of such things as
hydrogen atoms, airplane collisions and
penises in the process of erection, today
they must do their opponent's show. They do
it, and when the embarassed home band
repeats it, shouts of "unoriginal" and
"boring" come from the band.
The game resumes and the Lions win.
4-8 P.M. The trip back goes quickly.
Along with gross bus festivities, members
stroll down memory lane, recalling various
high points of the past. Like the times the
band kidnapped Brown and Dartmouth
personnel. Or when on the way to Harvard for
a game, the band stopped at Yale, disguising
themselves as the Brown band. It was early
in the morning, and Brown was to play Yale
that afternoon. They played a few songs,
waking slumbering Elis, and then headed to
Providence where they repeated the act, this
time dressed as the Yale band. After waking
up the inhabitants of the Brown dorms, they
headed for Cambridge and the Columbia game.
We are about to arrive in New York, and
Howard Green, leader of the band, passes the
hat for tip money for the bus driver, the
usual sort of busman who swears at the
smart-ass college kids throughout the trip
and doesn't like the band's joke:
Q: Hey, your dad work for a living?
A: No, he's a bus driver.
A: No, the regular kind.
I guess you can't blame him.
Well, so concludes another weekend on the
road with the Cleverest Band in the World.
Tune in next week when the band asks that
musical question, "What if tomorrow brings
crabs, clap, or anything other than joy?"