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Music by VICE

How To Assemble Your Own Jug Band

STEP ONE: Obtain a jug If you plan to take your grandfather's moonshine bottle

by VICE Staff
Jan 1 2000, 12:00am


STEP ONE: Obtain a jug STEP TWO: Raid the kitchen cabinets for percussion instruments. STEP THREE: Find a washboard If you plan to take your grandfather’s moonshine bottle, be sure to ask permission first. Other places jugs are found include supermarket dumpsters, the end of air-conditioning spouts, the backseat of your wino aunt’s car and hidden under your older brother’s mattress. Filling the jug with liquid will encourage different timbres and pitches. We’re told breath and lip control are the keys to good jug playing, but people say that about just about everything these days. At this point you might want to enlist your friends. If you don’t have any friends, you probably shouldn’t have started a band [see Imaginary Bands, ed.]. Anything you can beat is good. Spoons, eggbeaters, ladles (not “ladies”), pots, pans and colanders are all acceptable. We will not be held accountable, however, if you choose to use a cleaver. That’s a jug-band no-no. Although many fitness and gentleman’s magazines claim to bear washboards within, they do not. Nor can they help you get a washboard, as their covers promise. (Just ask your sister.) Unfortunately, the best place to find a washboard for the purposes of a jug band is an antique shop, since the invention of the Laundromat has pretty much sent at-home scrubbing the way of Friendster. Feel free to haggle with the salespeople, because they’ll probably tell you it’s a precious artifact worth treasuring for years to come. Good thing you know better.

STEP FOUR: Modify your washboard STEP FIVE: Create miscellaneous non-essential homemade instruments STEP SIX: Now you’ve really done it.




If you have a cow, remove its cowbell and nail it to your washboard. It’s the 21st Century and cows don’t get lost the way they used to anyway. If you don’t have a cowbell, your bicycle’s horn will do just fine. The pots and pans you salvaged earlier are optional, as there is a good possibility you will get hungry sometime after assembling your modified washboard. One last washboard reminder: Steal your mother’s thimbles. If your clothes look like a true jug band musician’s, your mother hasn’t used them in years anyway. Place the thimbles on your fingers to create the zipping sound Mungo Jerry made famous. Now that you have the foundations for a kickin’ jug band, make it better by adding to it. You could attach a broomstick to a water basin (the latter is best acquired at an antiques shop; have ’em throw it in for a bargain!) and run twine from top to bottom to sound like a bass. Carefully pick out your best saw and run a violin bow across it to simulate the voice of music legends like Maria Callas, Caruso and Christina Aguilera—again, we are not responsible for bodily or musical harm. Tape tissue paper to the top of a comb to make your own kazoo. Everything you see could potentially become a musical instrument even people! Although we cannot legally explain this process. If you can’t hear your neighbors screaming, you’re not playing loud enough. Rhythm and melody should come naturally to you, but if you’re having trouble, try to picture that ride at that famous theme park we daren’t mention with the animatronic bestial hillbillies. If you’re still having trouble, try moving the Memphis to better suit your mood. Now that you have your own jug band, the world is your oyster.