Band fails got front-paged on AOL

My Asylum article on Band and Orchestra Fails ended up on AOL’s welcome screen, so now there’s the added hilarity of criticisms from AOL users.

(Confidential to Offended in Omaha: For what it’s worth, I don’t think I wrote that “loses his s*** laughing” line. I have no problem with profanity; I just prefer mine more creative than that.)

Orchestras, symphonies and marching bands don’t get enough credit. Learning to master instruments through years of hard work earns these groups little but band-camp jokes and possible praise from New York Times critics with salt-and-pepper beards.

So, we salute you, hard-working musicians of the world, the only way we know how: by making fun of your most hilarious failures.

When faced with the mighty challenge of coordinating elaborate performances, these folks went for the far-more-demanding Internet gaffe. Read on to see (and hear) bands behaving badly.

This is the gem that inspired this list. The surest way to make someone in the Asylum offices lose his sh** laughing is to turn up your speakers and play this clip. There’s no picture to go along with the extremely flawed audio, but who needs one?

When this tuxedo-ed timpanist loses his fight with physics, the end result is disastrous … and hilarious.

What can you do when your paperwork is tamped down but your instrument itself decides to pop its strings? This musician experiences a rare moment of utter de-volumization when his viola quits all four strings at once. That’s what you get for buying a knockoff brand like Strattyvarious. You try to save a few thousand dollars, and it comes back to bite you.

All of these are embarrassing moments, to be sure, but none so humiliating as getting knocked out cold in front of nature’s most bloodthirsty beast: the teenager. Also, painful: a shot to the face from a metal bar. Watch the guy in the orange shirt just before the half-minute mark. Then watch it again in slow-mo as the laughter of his peers turns demonically sadistic.

Faces heal, but egos remain bruised forever. Arguably more painful than catching a trombone to the face at practice are these cascading pratfalls in the middle of gameday. Watch the far left at the half-minute mark as these kids start dropping … and dropping … and dropping. Then laugh. Then resume watching, because the marchers will still be hitting the ground.

For an even better view of such shenanigans, watch these 10 kids take a dive just right of the middle of the screen. Then at 0:17, a saxophonist with no empathy takes out his cell phone to record the mayhem. Injury? Check. Insult? Check.

Dueling tubas? In the Zapruder film of band fails, there’s a side-scuttling heavy metal section taking out a few competitors, "Showgirls"-style. Back, and to the left, boys. Back, and to your left.

Sometimes you do everything right and you’re still in a bad place. Whether you’re a classical concert player or a member of the spirit team, you’ll never come out worse than this bell ringer whose spirited war-gong duties render him the victim of an unfortunate camera angle.