Flaming Tuba with David Silverman / Tapir Massage

Simpsons director David Silverman plays his flaming tuba for us. He built the propane-fueled "Tubatron" himself with help from pyro expert pals, and he puffs out a few bars of the Simpsons theme song. You can catch him and the flammable sousaphone in action at parades from time to time, and every year at Burning Man. (0:00-2:30)

And finally, a (cough) happy ending for the week: BB co-editor Mark Frauenfelder visited the Los Angeles Zoo and watched a zookeeper massage a grateful Tapir. We should all be as blissed-out as this odd-toed ungulate. (2:47-3:28)

-- XJ

About Xeni Jardin

Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: xeni@boingboing.net.
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17 Responses to Flaming Tuba with David Silverman / Tapir Massage

  1. A New Challenger says:

    I propose the flaming tuba be dubbed a margrittephone.

    I’m sure I’ve just done a wonderful job of pointing out the joke and thus killed it as well.

    Any time I see a tapir, I’m reminded of a little in-joke with my siblings regarding a certain part in The Amazon Trail 3rd Edition PC game (cousin to the more engaging Oregon Trail game), which we got for free on a cereal box. We’ve gravitated to a particular line from a myth about the tapir that a native storyteller imparts upon the player: “The tapir was faaaaaat!” Fat, and in paradise, apparently.

    (That double entendre made me groan. Awesome show, great job!)

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s not a tuba. It’s a sousaphone.

  3. Peter Swimm says:

    There ARE limits to the things that fire makes cool. Wow!

  4. SageKitamorn says:

    A Flaming Tuba? Beautiful! Now we’re well on the way to making an entire flaming marching band.

    If you appreciate flaming instruments, do a search on flickr for pyrobone.

    The Pyrobone was crafted by my friend Will and I back in 1999 when we were seniors in high school.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I know I’m doing this anonymously, that isn’t because I want to–it’s because I can’t login for some reason…

    But that Tapir Massager is hotter than the Flaming tuba.

  6. Danelda says:

    That’s not a tuba. It’s a sousaphone. Still fun! But not a tuba-maba.

  7. jmmcdermott says:

    uh-oh. this has cadets of bergen county written all over it. watch for this next season, folks.

    and, more importantly, i aged out so i don’t get to play the flaming contrabass bugle! tarnation!

  8. ecopax says:

    There are actually other flame thrower sousaphones in the world! Illinois State University has had a whole section of them for years.

  9. Bonnie says:

    You’ve inspired me to set my flute on fire….

    And I could watch that Tapir massage all day! Man, that looks soothing…..

  10. Anonymous says:

    Make sure Magritte gets that royalty check!

  11. wisekwai says:

    The flaming sousaphone (is that a King or a Buescher?) segment reminds me of a great Bizarro Sunday comic from a few years ago – “If Jimi Hendrix played tuba” … showing Hendrix at Monterey, lighting up a tuba, and then the followers he inspired in the ensuing decades.

    As for the tapir massage, I have the clip when it was posted awhile back with the Hawaiian guitar soundtrack, and it’s that version that I have on my laptop to play whenever I’m getting bored or stressed out … be the tapir, be the tapir.

  12. David Silverman says:

    Well, I just HAVE to comment . . .

    Thanks for all your nice replies. But I would like to say — a sousaphone IS a tuba! It’s the same instrument, just bent into a different shape. All sousaphones are tubas — but not all tubas are sousaphones!

    So — Flaming Tuba has a tighter sound, doesn’t it, hmmm?

    Oh, and it’s a King. Got it off eBay. A great horn that I ruined.


    Yes, I worked on Turbo Teen with unbelievably talented artists: John Doorman, Jim Woodring, Tom Minton, Dan Riba, Brian Chen, Thom Enriquez, and Duncan Marjoribanks — whom I assisted (character design). I didn’t direct on that. I believe John Kimball did (son of Ward). The thing is, here were all these amazing talents — many who later worked at Disney and WB — paid to churn out crap! But we did laugh our heads off, it was a hilarious crew!

  13. Merlin Silk says:

    Quite some time I have seen somebody playing “Oops I did it again” on a flaming tuba – OK sousaphone – at burning man. Help me clear my question at


  14. Benny says:

    dear god, this is so much better then just decorating my sousaphone with garlands for the local christmas parade.

    where was this wonderful idea when I was in highschool, darn it!

  15. wotthe7734 says:

    Yup, a sousaphone is just a tuba coiled around so it’s easier to carry. Props to John Philip Sousa!

    A church I used to belong to had a small orchestra for Xmas and Easter. For several years our tuba player was a guy with a WHITE sousaphone. Looked weird, but manohman, the dude could play!

    I just had a mental image of Jimi Hendrix playing a flaming tuba — that’s some monster bong, man! Cheech and Chong would be proud.

  16. Anonymous says:

    While I sat watching the man burn on Saturday night in early September, my mother sat comfortably on her couch at home and watched it on her TV set live.
    Now on boingboing tv is showing burners and burning man related stuff. What does this all mean?
    I’m not particularly sure, there’s the idea that burning man is full of shit now and it’s lost what it was supposed to be about. I agree with some of that.
    Then you can look at the fact that so many people are going to it and now it’s becoming popular culture. With that happening people are being exposed to different ways of life and maybe even learning to accept each other and respect each other a little more… I agree with some of that too.
    It’s an enigma that I haven’t fully wrapped my mind around, I have opinions, I think some of you out there have opinions, whether you’ve gone or not. I guess I’m asking for your opinions, I’m gonna post this on my blog and would love to start a discussion if people are interested.
    What is Burning Man? What does it mean? Is it a force for positive change? Is it, the event, entering popular culture a good thing or a bad thing? There’s so many questions I can’t ask them all here, but get on my blog, ask your own questions.
    Does Burning Man even deserve a discussion group?
    heh heh
    my blog is at http://www.myspace.com/papabearcircus look under my blog entries. Thanks!
    Papa Bear

  17. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Papa Bear, that range of questions about Burning Man got a workout here around the time of the event itself, but there was certainly room for more breadth and depth of discussion.

    You know, you could set up a web page and encourage the discussions you want to hear. I know someone who for years ran a program-intensive SF and fantasy convention so that he could have the people he wanted to listen to discuss the questions that interested him.

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