April 30, 2008

Tenor-drummers gird for world boycott

The world’s community of tenor-drummers plans to boycott the entire 2008 competition season, if everything goes to the plan devised by two tenor-players who asked that their names not be used, despite the fact that everyone can probably guess who they might be.

“We are sick, sick – pukingly disgustingly sick – of being treated like the third-class-citizens of the pipe band world,” one of them said. “In fact, I just wretched all over my drum, and my mallets were splashing away, spraying my throw-up all over everybody.

So we’re going to teach everyone a giant lesson and every single drummer who ties mallets to his or her wrists will refuse to strap on the kilt and take the competition field.”The debacle started when the RSPBA apparently decided to drop Best Bass-Section trophies, traditionally handed out at the whim of unknown judges at a few championships. What ensued was a firestorm of protestation from tenor- and bass-drummers worldwide that continues to rage.

The RSPBA, according to one anonymous source, is “fighting the problem while wearing petroleum suits.”With no tenor-drummers, the organizers of the boycott said, the pipe band world will have to revert to 1992 when tenor-drummers sort of just rubbed the drum and were often under strict orders from the pipe-major to, “Whatever you do – don’t %$&*ing hit it!”

Caption: A band making minimal or no use of a lone tenor-drum. Note how the judges aren’t distracted by anything but the usual teeming Glasgow rain. See also how the crowd is just listening and not really bothering to watch.

When instrument, mallets and uniform are factored, the financial cost of a single tenor-drummer in a pipe band is somewhere around $14,000, according to one Grade 1 Pipe-Major who really doesn’t like them, but is too afraid to do anything about it.”$14,000 will buy you lots of things,” the anonymous pipe-major said, “like John Wilson’s pipes with enough left over for a few cans of Airtight.”

In addition to demanding that Best Bass-Section trophies be reinstated, the world’s tenor-drummers will end their boycott only if they are allowed to be at the front of the band, are provided with their own beer tent at all contests, and are served prawn cocktail crisps and Lucozade after they play.Stay tuned to pipes|drums for moron this story as it develops.


  1. HA! as long as you fool one you’ve done a good job……good job. If this were an actual emergency, aka boycott. Sandy Keith would have run around the beer tent at all the majors screaming with joy.(just kidding….sorta). The pound would be down to $1.25 USD, Bill Livingston would have room on the bus to stretch his legs again, and the general public would careless about all of us. As a piper, I’m dumb founded but amazed at how much Tenor drums and the creation of a true bass section has evolved. Out in public, everyone remembers the solo piper and the guy swinging those sticks like he was a ninja” let us noticed how the Worlds week has grown at about the same rate as tenor drumming. Give them back there trophie and ask Tyler to stop playing so he can start judging.”

  2. Hey, Fiven, very good spotting the ‘planted’ side playing tenor with traditional grip in the hoax video..except that video has been around the block a hundred times since the 90s when the band wore that regimental tartan. But I love it when the ‘duped’ keep it going, oblivious to the humor!

  3. EVERY year I get sucked in for about a paragraph….brilliant. I really didn’t need the part about hurl spewing forth from the head while he was playing, but that’s about when I started laughing out loud (thank goodness my office has a door). I still think the one about the contest in, I think it was Manitoba, and the competitors getting there by dogsled, remains the best to date. Classic. But this one was money for the timeliness and news o’ the day. Very sharp, and thanks as always Andrew!

  4. As act of solidarity, we side drummers will boycott all rspba run competitions until our flourishing brothers/sisters are recognised for all they are truly worth. Event organisers and beer tent management please take note! United we stand and united we fall, only we will probably be falling a wee bit sooner this year due to the extended visits to the beer tent!

  5. We’re rising up angry!!! I am hanging up my mallets until this is resolved! The beat WON’T go on brothers and sisters! In the meantime, my bass drum and case will serve as a beer coolers…just outside the RSPBA’s tent.

  6. This is an elaborate hoax, evidenced by the fact that the Pipes/Drums staff went to the trouble of staging a pipe band competition performance and having the so-called tenor” drummer play with traditional grip. That is so obviously a side drummer posing as a tenor drummer in an attempt to throw fuel on the flames of an ongoing argument of already epic proportion. And all to sell a magazine that stopped arriving in my letter box YEARS ago.”

  7. Well I don’t know about tenor drummers boycotting the games this year. But I do know one thing for sure as I I used to play in a pipe band many years ago things have come a long way from the days of as one person put it tenor drummers swinging there sticks around like they where swatting flies away and the bass player just bashing away at any old 2/4,4/4,6/8,3/4, jig or hornpipe straight time. I think there has been a lot of improvement in this area over the years and in my opinion it has been for the better. I will agree that some bands have taken there mid section antics a bit to far, but in general I think most add a great deal of musicality to the band and also help to create a better ensemble overall. If it were to go back to the old way of just swinging the sticks I think not just myself but a whole lot of other people would not enjoy pipe bands as much as they do now. Just for the record I am a piper. So I say to those pipers who want to take away the prize for the best bass or mid section or what ever you want to call it GET OVER YOUR SELFS things have evolved and I say for the BETTER

  8. Kudos! It’s nice to see a bit of humour attached to a subject that has been getting a lot of attention and a lot of blood pumping lately. Cheers to that! Happy April 1st everyone. -johnny.



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