MUSIC: Spike Up the Band

Fifty years after he demolished pop hits by orchestrating them for tubas, kazoos and pie pans, Spike Jones is again the rage

No one in pop music seems to have fun any more. Rapsters, grunge artists, even balladeers -- their faces are all contorted into an Edvard Munch shriek, as if they were slaves to the agony of art. Hardly anyone wants to be an entertainer.

The world needs Spike Jones, the 1940s bandleader with a Dead End Kid's mug and a wardrobe of cacophonous checks and plaids. Jones had fun with music. He took a sedate standard like Laura or Chloe, played it straight for a minute and then revved it up double-time and orchestrated it for tuba, kazoo and other instruments...

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