The Sousaphone

Me playing Sousaphone. Photo by Indie Images

What the hell is that?!

It's a Sousaphone.

OK... What is it?

It's essentially a tuba that wraps around your body so you can play it while you're marching.


Yes. It was originally developed for military bands, but it was adopted by jazz tuba players for New Orleans style parades.

Why is it white?

It's made out of fibreglass, which is cheaper and lighter than brass. The New one is Brass!

Who's idea was it?

John Philip Sousa - the chap who wrote the Monty Python theme tune amongst other things.

Is it easy to play?

No. I play things with strings, so making music by blowing spittle through a tube is... a bit of a challenge, to say the least.

What does it sound like?

At the moment, mine sounds like The Titanic coming into dock, but I'm working on it.

I've never heard of them... are they a new thing?

No. They've been around since the late 1800s but you don't see many of them in the UK - they're really popular in the USA.

What's with the wacky get-up?

I was playing for a Border Morris side, which is a bit like morris dancing for goths.

Are you mentally ill?

Very probably.