Depending on how old and weird you are, you may find the above video of the East Coast PVC Band playing “The Mockingbird” the damndest thing you’ve ever seen, or just another entry in the Weird Parade.
The principal instruments appear to be harp, gut-bucket bass, and fiddle, all made from PVC pipe. As for that person down in the front right, I have no idea what the hell is being played there, other than a high-voltage switch wired into the panic centers of my brain. There’s a slide whistle, a stir drum, a little Zamfir-style pan pipes action, and some clackity things that truly scare me. And as to where those barking and farting noises are coming from? I don’t even want to speculate.
Band frontman and PVC-instrument evangelist John Kovac will teach you how to make PVC instruments in his book titled, predictably enough, PVC Instruments and How to Make Them, which is a mere $25 at Kovac’s site. You can buy a PVC Harp Kit for $80 — they provide the strings, fixtures and instructions; you provide the pipe.
You can hear the best renditions of Kovac’s various instruments, including cello, slide guitar and more, at Highlights Kids of all places.
Kovac is also a traditional harpmaker, having authored another book called Harpmaking Made Simple, and one called The Musician’s Guide to Playing By Ear.
But even if you’re just a listener, you can still revel in the sheer WTF that only a PVC string ensemble can inspire. Here’s Kovac playing “Danny Boy.” If you know the words past “The pipes, the pipes are calling,” you get an extra slice of corned beef:
Want to feel extreme pain? Here’s Kovac playing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on a terrifying device called the Nail Violin. Skip this one if you have metal fillings in your teeth.