In medieval times, if you wanted to play music publicly you had to be up to snuff or some primitive screw heads would strap an iron pipe around your neck and then bolt your fingers along the metal shaft. Then, just so you really got the point that you were a piece of shit, they would force you to parade around the town square where peasants and serfs would gleefully pelt you with rotten vegetables. This could last for days.
Check this thing out: it's called the Flute of Shame, and it's a medieval torture device designed to punish shitty musicians:
Reminds me of a story. When I was 8 years old my mother signed me up for piano lessons. Considering I have practically no sense of rhythm, the piano was particularly frustrating. One time I came home from school on piano lessons day and decided I'd had enough. I told my Mom I was going to start my homework in my room and went into the basement where I hid in a rarely used closet in the dark. A few minutes later I heard Ms. Niedermeyer arrive and my mother's calls. I held my breath and held my ground by which I mean I remained hiding like a bratty little coward. As my mother marched through the house her screams grew more and more frantic and I felt as though I approached the moment of no return, passed it, looped back around and now my mother's panicked and shrill cries were growing extremely unhinged and I had no exit plan on this one. I was trapped in the closet, a prison of my own creation.
On my ma's third lap through the basement, she finally checked the closet door, and I stepped from my cell pathetically. Well she was fucking livid and totally not cool with my shenanigans. Out of embarrassment and frustration she picked up one of those plastic baton things they sell at street fairs and ruthlessly beat the ever-loving shit out of the stick against a small tricycle that was nearby. Scolding me fiercely she told me “This is how angry you make me! This should be you!” She shouted gesturing to the trike and I couldn't disagree. She was right, I'm a willful little shit and maybe if she had beaten me instead I would be a concert pianist today. I recognized her mercy and trudged up to finish the remainder of the hour at the keyboard.
I knew I got off easy back then, but what I didn't know is that I got off really easy. Imagine if we still punished lazy or crumby musicians with shackles and public humiliation? For one, I would never have tried my closet stunt. And I think you'd probably think twice before posting your pitchy-as-hell acoustic cover of “Call Me Maybe” on Youtube. It's a win win really. We should bring this one back, if only so Rebecca Black can properly atone for her crimes.
Researching this post I couldn’t find much info on the actual infernal instrument, but I did discover this Finnish trio also called Flute of Shame. Their influences include “modern progressive and hard rock” as well as “blues and soul.” Considering Finland is the only nation in the world to celebrate a National Failure Day, we figured these guys might know a thing or two about shame and asked them some questions:
Flute Of Shame.
NOISEY: What's the most shameful thing you've ever done musically?
FLUTE OF SHAME: One recent one was when we all dressed up as the Spice Girls at a sold out gig and did a cheeky little medley… for our encore.
What mainstream artist/artists are most deserving of the Flute of Shame?
The cast of Glee, Jedward and of course us!
What's the single most Flute of Shame worthy moment in music history?
Type 'epic drum solo fail' into you tube…
How did you come to call your band Flute of Shame?
We were having a night out in Amsterdam and found ourselves in a torture museum whilst looking for the Banana Bar. We saw the device and the rest is history.
Is the Flute of Shame your favorite medieval torture device? If you had to choose another torture device, what would you choose?
Besides the obvious, Flute of Shame, Iron Maiden, what other torture devices or punishments would make great band names?
'Knee Splitter', 'The Brank,' and 'A Massive Kick In The Nuts.'
Who would win a shredding contest between Iron Maiden and Flute of Shame?
Probably Iron Maiden… but are they happy?
How sexually stimulating do you find the practice of public bondage and humiliation? Explain your answer.
Lets put it this way, in England if you get caught wanking on a bus whilst spanking each other it's an arrestable offence…and that's why we've all moved to Finland.
It's gotta be hard to J.O. when you're fingers are clamped in thumbscrews attached to an iron bar cuffed around your neck. But then again for some people that's probably the only way they can get off.
Want more improbable instrumentation?