The Enormous Horns was formed from parts of a 21 piece amateur group known as The Harbord Diggers Youth Club Big Band. Cliff Price was our Bandmaster and he contributed a great deal of his free time to elevate a group of young people to a high level of musical ability. We often performed locally and on tour, and at events including the Manly International Jazz Festival. We, and many others, owe much for our musical education to his dedication, and we owe him a very big heartfelt “Thanks”.
In addition to playing music, we were also a group of supreme athletes involved in a variety of disciplines, endurance public house elbow bending being one of them. In 1986 we competed together in a soccer competition (I think mostly because we had the right number for a team, plus 1 reserve) . . . .well, we didn't win the comp that year but the soccer committee decided that it would be a good idea for us to form the “in house” band for the end of season talent contest.
At our first ever rehearsal (about 2 weeks before this event) we scrambled some songs together including much of the Blues Brothers’ repertoire. We were rough but the contestants we were accompanying were better soccer players than entertainers, and they made us look pretty good.
As a result of that show we were asked to do a New Years Eve function, we then did a demo tape and before we knew it, we were booked for public shows all over Sydney and beyond. It had all started, and of course we had no idea that more than 25 years later the party wouldn’t look like stopping.
The Enormous Horns began in September 1986 with the following 12 players :
Robert (vocals/sax), Dave (piano/vocals), Tim (sax/vocals), Craig the "Party Animal" (bass trombone), Phil (guitar), Griffo (bass), Bosca (sax), Quack (drums), Vaughan (trumpet), Eric (trumpet), Graham (trombone) and Gavin (trumpet).
The first official band photo. Gavin was not present that day, he said he was working but we all knew he was surfing. Taken at Dee Why. Note Drum sticks thrown into the air and the rusty snare drum stand.
Being less encumbered in those days by workers compensation and public risk insurance considerations, the show often involved outrageous and potentially life threatening acts of daring.
“The Flaming Hoop of Death” featured trumpet playing Gavin diving headlong through a burning ring of fire, and being (usually) caught by the other horn players, remarkably he still lives to tell the tale.
“Along Came Jones” saw a female member of the audience tied up with thick rope on stage and threatened with a chainsaw, yes, a real chainsaw running at high speed and blowing smoke and hot oil.
“Doctor Feelgood” had Surgeon Robert removing the intestines and other objects (watches, umbrellas, etc) from some unfortunate patient without anaesthetic.
“The Stripper”, where we invited someone on stage to strip while we played the tune, when she didn’t, we did. (in fact, on one occasion she did strip and shocked us!)
“Sweet Transvestite”, a grown man in fishnet stockings and a wig, and a little something extra.
There are other examples that maturity and good judgment (and the possible threat of some sort of legal prosecution) prevent us from detailing here, suffice to say we play good music and have fun doing it, and we succeed when others enjoy the performance as much as we do.