There's something beautiful in the buzzing of a kazoo band.
Rick Hubbard thinks so. Don't believe him? Go hear it firsthand.
Hubbard brings back his Kazoobie Kazoo Show to the Hilton Head Comedy Club on Mondays in the summer. The family-friendly concerts feature an all-audience kazoo band as a finale, the instruments coming from Hubbard's Beaufort kazoo factory.
Hubbard describes his history with the kazoo.
Question. How long have you been playing here?
Answer. I actually started on Hilton Head (Island) in 1987. I started at a place on the south end and played there for 10 years and moved around. ... I travel quite a bit. I play at Kiawah Island during the summer. I've played at Fripp Island, Sea Island, Ga. I play at a lot of resorts, festivals, schools, community concerts. I end up playing in Florida a lot in the winter.
Q. How did you get into kazoos in the first place?
A. At the outset, when I was 11 years old, my grandmother decided that every child should have music in their life, so I got a guitar. ... I got to the music store looking to buy something I could get with my allowance. And that pretty much amounted to guitar picks and strings and, hey, kazoos were a dollar. I played kazoo and guitar all through high school. I was famous at the coffeehouse in college. There was a band popular at the time, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and they had a song called "Lucky Man." It has this really nice Minimoog synthesizer solo, so I faithfully reproduced that on the kazoo.
Q. So it's always been a part of the show?
A. Actually, at first I was just playing guitar and singing on the island like everyone was doing. But there were so many kids around. I was giving them stuff to do just to put them in order -- maracas to shake and bubbles to blow -- and that became a big part of my show. I called it Kids Appearing On Stage or KAOS. It's just chaos. But my audiences grew, and it got to the point where not everybody could come on stage. So for a grand finale, I had the idea to give everyone in the audience a kazoo.
Q. What does a band of kazoos sound like?
A. What you'd think it'd sound like (laughs). The neat thing about the kazoo is the more kazoos, the better it sounds. The largest I've ever assembled is a 30,000 person kazoo band in Cincinnati a few years back. I was on stage with "Weird Al" Yankovic. He had a great sense of humor that he was playing accordion and I was playing kazoo and we were leading a 30,000 kazoo band.
I like that fact that the show is all-inclusive. No one is left out. Sometimes there's a wall between the performer and the audience and this breaks down that wall. And it's not just a children's show. It's a comedy show for kids and adults. The kids end up being the stars of the show, and, as well all know, parents and grandparents love to see their kids perform like that.
Q. The kazoo knows no barriers.
A. Anybody can do it. It's the most democratic instrument. We hand out the kazoos we make. As I like to say at the end of my show, "Kids, now you have a brand new kazoo. Try not to lose it, and that way you'll have it to play in the car all the way home." The parents usually groan at that one.