(In)Famous Moments in USC Marching Band History

Fight On! to Gary Krause ('84-'94) for compiling this list
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1880 The University of Southern California is founded, causing in the same year the birth of the USC Band. Before there was Traveler, before there was "Fight On", even before there were USC Football players, there were USC Trumpets.

1912 USC's nickname, "Trojans," coined. Up to that time, teams from USC were called the Methodists or Wesleyans. Athletic Director Warren Bovard, son of university president Dr. George Bovard, asked Los Angeles Times sports editor Owen Bird to select an appropriate nickname. "At this time, the athletes and coaches of the university were under terrific handicaps," Bird recalled. "They were facing teams that were bigger and better-equipped, yet they had splendid fighting spirit. The name 'Trojans' fitted them."

1914 For the first time, a serious effort is made to organize the USC Band with the installation of a regular director (Mr. J.Paul Elliott, a trumpet player newly enrolled at USC). USC President George Finley Bovard considered a strong University Band to be of such importance that he instructed that all band members should receive credits toward graduation. Prior to this, the USC Band was generally a loosely organized volunteer group.

1915 A notice in the Daily Trojan mentions tryouts for the band - here's a quote: "A good snare drummer and a stronger [horn] section are needed. The altos, tenors and clarinet sections are also a little weak." Boy, some things HAVEN'T changed since 1915....(The trumpets, bones and tubas seem to have been OK - no surprise)

The Army and Navy established training units on the USC campus in 1915 in preparation for U.S.involvement in World War I. All the members of the Trojan Band - which had no more than 25 members at the time - enlisted in the service, primarily in the Navy. The Navy requested that Mr. Elliott also join in order to establish and operate a military band.

And so it was that in 1915, the director and 18 members of the Trojan Marching Band entered the service of the United States Navy, and were assigned as a group to the cruiser U.S.S. Pueblo, upon which they served together for the duration of the War. During that period of three and a half years, the Pueblo was engaged in submarine scouting patrols, often off the coast of South America.

During this service, the men of the Trojan Band would draw land duty, and had occasion to perform in parades and at functions for visiting dignitaries and high military officials; in this manner, they earned a reputation as one of the finest military bands in anyone's service. After the signing of the Armistice in November 1918, the men of the Trojan Marching Band were accorded the honor of leading America's returning servicemen in the victory parade up New York City's Fifth Avenue - "Heroes' Canyon".

1921 The first band trip to the Bay was for the November 5, 1921 game against Cal at Berkeley. The trip was made by steamship back then; a 40-piece band "...slumbered on the peaceful waters of the Pacific, together with over 300 students..." on the way up there. (Others went by train)

1922 "Fight On" composed by USC dental student Milo Sweet (lyrics by Sweet and Glen Grant) as an entry to inspire fans and players in a Trojan spirit contest. According to legend, "Fight On" blared from the deck of a transport ship as Americans stormed a beach on an island held by the Japanese during World War II. The U.S. troops let out a tremendous roar and eventually won the island.

1923 First USC Game in the Coliseum

The words and music to USC's alma mater, "All Hail," composed by Al Wesson, sports information director at USC from 1928-42. Wesson wrote the song as a member of the Trojan Marching Band for the finale of a 1923 campus show.

1929 On April 19, 1929, the Trojan Band gave its first national radio concert, broadcast over the Columbia (CBS) national radio network from a campus auditorium

1930 "Tommy Trojan" unveiled for USC's 50th anniversary. ("The Spirit of Troy" was the name originally intended for the statue)

1931 Uniforms consist of white flannel trousers, white shoes, cardinal hat (like ship's captain), and flowing gold shirts with a cardinal Trojan head insignia, with a sash around the waist.

1932 First recorded Lyre Quote by Harold Roberts (TMB Director '26-'36, also was the first Band Manager as an undergrad): "Nothing comes out, boys, unless you blow it in the other end."

1933 TMB wears white pants and shoes with dark jackets that zipped up in front, kind of like windbreakers but heavier, maybe cotton. Cardinal jackets with gold waist, cuffs, collar; also a Trojan head where the breast pocket would be. And a military-style captain's hat. Frankly, they looked like a meeting of the Yacht Club...

1936 The TMB adopts unusual marching band uniforms: Cardinal pants, white shoes, double-breasted gold blazers, neckties and FEDORAS!

1938 TMB gets military-style uniforms: hats with plumes, cardinal pants, white shoes, cardinal jackets with gold front, embroidered tails, white straps crossing the chest, that whole bit.

1946 New uniforms again; still military-style, still white shoes & no gloves, but more like what Cal wears now, particularly the hats. The yearbook said the TMB was "sporting new uniforms that rival those of the doorman at the Waldorf." And they meant it as a COMPLIMENT...

1950 USC marching band first wears helmets (no brushes/plumes though) and Trojan style uniforms. The new uniforms were cardinal pants, with gold jackets that had a torch emblem. Previously they wore standard military issue type uniforms and hats.

1953 "Conquest" first played by the Trojan Marching band.

1954 The band did its first out-of-state football game, against Oregon in Portland (USC won 24-14)

1960 Uniform changes but same helmets remain. The gold jackets were out - replaced with cardinal jackets with a gold cape-like thing in back. The full band wore gold breastplates. These had the same torch emblem that the old jackets had, but with a Trojan head above the emblem.

1961 Traveler makes his debut at the USC vs. Georgia Tech game on September 22, 1961.

1966 USC Trumpet Alum Herb Alpert won 3 Grammy Awards including Record of the Year.

1968 USC Song Girls make first appearance at a basketball game, thus predating Art, whereas in later years they just dated Art.

1970 Dr. Arthur C. Bartner takes the reins and forms the modern "Spirit of Troy".

1971 Tony Fox arrives to arrange charts.

Completely new uniforms. Arrival of the "moon boots". Cardinal pants and jackets with the braid across the front; capes with "cookie"-style clasps - all of this with the "key design" on the borders and down the sleeves. No gloves. However, still using the same helmets.

1972 New helmets with brushes! Also with visors and earguards for the first time.

First year women allowed to join the band. (Other than during WWII '42-'45)

1973 First trip back to Notre Dame Stadium. "Frankenstein" performed for the first time at the game.

1975 Cal Game - On return to busses after being pelted with rocks and grapefruit by Cal student section, including one trumpet taking a direct bell hit during the performance, at least half a dozen trumpets donate their mouthpieces to a Cal frat house, via the plate glass windows.

Liberty Bowl - An alto sax player, during a lights out scatter, located Miss America and was engaged in a hug and kiss as the lights came back on in the stadium. Clearly, a trumpet player introduced to the wrong instrument at an early age. Band stays in typical few-star hotel across street from boarded up buildings and an unsuspecting liquor store. Band members equipped with impromptu surgical hose and funnel slingshot assist in building demolition work. Band leaves town having only purchased 93% of the alcohol in the liquor store. All that was left was some of the useless products they carried.

1977 The year of "rollerplane" on the way to Notre Dame - the same flight that some drunk freshman asshole 1st (asshole is redundant when used with freshman or 1sts) named Brett punched a hole in the cabin roof. Also, a member of the TMB had extremely personal contact with a flight attendant in a lavatory.

A bandsman is caught at the Bluebonnet Bowl attempting to march the game without shoes and feet painted black. He was only caught because two weenie TA's ratted him out. The Art explosion was a true classic, veins and all.

The "moon boots" are altered slightly, with a new cardinal crossing design on them.

1978 During the Weekender to the gay bay a bunch of bandies were eating in the same restaurant as Dr. Bartner. They thought that it would be fun to ask the waitress to spill a coke (accidentally) on Art, so they took up a collection at the table and came up with $5.
She did it. Someone was standing there with a camera, making it look like it was intentional. Needless to say, he got upset. He chased her behind the counter, yelled at her, and the manager and Art were yelling something about Art's dry cleaning bill. The waitress ended up getting fired (she drove off in her Pinto).
The worst part is, she never even got her $5!

1980 In the University's centennial year, new uniforms are introduced at halftime for Homecoming. "Moon boots" are replaced by white spats; the band now wears white gloves AND GAUNTLETS!! New jackets have Trojan head logo on shield, and open in the back for the first time, leading to the first time a bandsman "innocently" asked, "Could you do me?" Pants now have gold and white striping down sides. The "key design" on the uniforms is gone. Helmets are changed slightly, but still have brushes.

After having gradually phased them out over several years, the TMB finally took the leap and stopped using flip-folders altogether.

1981 Rick Cox a freshman

1983 Chuck Mangione performs at halftime with the TMB.

1984 Old Band diagnosed with malignant tumor when fArt gets taste of power with the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Band begins its gradual transformation to the kinder, gentler band.

Most badass freshman class in section history comes in.

Rick Cox Bandsman of the Year.

First use of the dreaded phrase "New Band".

The first use of "Eat Me!" after a rock chart. The TMB did a halftime show which included "Ghostbusters", and fArt had the bright idea that it would be really neat if, at the end (after the dance routine), the band spread their legs (from attention) with their arms in the air and yelled, "Slime me!" It didn't quite turn out that way on game day...

1985 Rick Cox Bandsman of the Year.

The full band starts standing through the entire game - the trumpets, bones and percussion had started a few years earlier, and finally the rest of the band complied.

1986 Rose Bowl (fucla game) flour stunt masterminded by Dave Robinson. At pregame, the band goes through Conquest, spelling out "Trojans" on the field, bags of flour hidden in their gauntlets. When the band did the bow at the end of Conquest, bags were removed, flour spread on field so that word "Trojans" would remain after the band left. The crowd (and apparently the radio broadcasters as well) went bonkers, fArt pouted, initially said band couldn't do halftime, and sulked like a 3-year-old through first quarter-and-a-half, refusing to let the band play AT ALL while the bruins ran up a huge lead (Fugly won the game 45-25). Eventually, he capitulated, saying we would be allowed to do halftime if there was no repeat of the stunt (obviously, the band had no bags of flour left) - he claimed the Rose Bowl people were upset because they initially thought the substance might have been something other than flour (shit, how much did they think the budget for the show was?). Anyway, there were clouds of flour flying up after tackles well into the 4th quarter...

New helmets with plumes arrive against wishes of ENTIRE band. The helmets are so ugly and fragile/unpractical that they are completely redesigned for the following year. Among the problems: The helmet is all one piece, with an attached "visor"; the helmets are too small and fit too closely, causing inside bolts and rivets to scrape head, visor almost touches forehead. The "earguards", which are attached to the helmet and do not move, are too short and crack off very easily. The back of the helmet is too short and does not come down over neck at all. The chinstraps are made of a VERY chafing elastic, and are dyed brown (dye which comes off on your neck on a hot day). Damn things were utterly useless.

1987 Trumpets win Most Improved Section Award. Mickey Hovey Bandsman of the Year.

New uniforms to go with (again) new helmets.

USC Trumpets selected as official fanfare unit for Pope John Paul II for his Mass at Dodger Stadium

For the last time, the TMB is not present for a USC football game (opener at Michigan St); the following week at home vs Boston College, the Spirit of Troy began its unbroken legacy of support for the Men of Troy, appearing at EVERY game since. Through '98 the streak stood at 144 games.

1988 Scott Matteoni Bandsman of the Year.

1989 Band staph makes the HUGE mistake of booking the band in a hotel near a golf driving range the night before the Cal game. Band retaliates for years of abuse at the "Flying Fruit Bowl" by pelting the Cal band with golf balls. Juan Lemus almost arrested but fArt stepped in at last moment.

Doc Severenson performs with the band at halftime of the Oregon St.game.

USC needed only a win at Arizona to clinch its third straight Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl appearance; the TMB took three busloads (most of the old members) into the desert for the game. After disposing of #25-ranked Arizona by the lopsided score of 24-3 and ensuring another return trip to Pasadena, the band returned to their buses to discover that President Zumberge had sent 2 cases of champagne to EACH of the buses to celebrate the victory.

1990 "Cum Guzzler Incident" at bandcamp. Beginning of the end for the Lyre. Lyre goes into covert, underground publication.

Cheryl "Shlep" Slipski Bandsman of the Year. Rick Cox's 10 year award. '80's now offically known as the Decade of Cox.

1991 Last Hymenal produced. R.I.P.

1992 Last Lyres produced. R.I.P. Brandon LaVerne takes the fall to protect other members of the Lyre Staph and is booted out of the TMB.

Last time seniors form a tunnel for the football team at the last home game and also the last season for the 3rd quarter band.

The last "official" tunnel run, balls out, everyone going for it, silks and woodwinds getting the fuck out of the way.

In case you can't tell already, this year really sucked.

1993 The Worm barfs all over an elevator in Chicago hotel while standing next to Babs Bartner. Mickey Hovey reaches 10 year milestone and gets out. Gary Krause reaches 10 year milestone. Everyone says "Get the fuck out of band!" Despite this, Gary comes back for 1 more.

Buttcheese earns his nickname by mooning a busload of Jewish schoolkids, leaving a mystery residue on his bus window.

One un-"Official" tunnel run occurs. Trumpet Section Leader Matt Golden makes the mistake of getting to the end first where Art blindside tackles him into the tunnel wall.

1994Trumpet Section Leader Steve Fitzmaurice voted "Most Likely to be caught drinking while in uniform"
Trojan football team demolishes Texas Tech in Cotton Bowl('95) while Trumpet section demolishes Red Raider mascot just prior to halftime. Stupid Red Raider attempted to cut through the band and was beat down by several trumpets. His moustache was torn and the entire event was caught on film. NOBODY gets through the band!

1995 Transformation complete. With graduation of last few assholes in section, it is officially a "New Band". Art now rules with an iron fist. No Spirit allowed! No independent thought or behaviour allowed. No fun allowed! All actions must be approved by fArt.

Rick Cox finally turns in his helmet for a redcoat after the season. MAC Cummins Bandsman of the Year.

Band finally returns to Rosebowl('96) after longest drought in Bartner era. Band makes mistake of allowing 5 trumpet alumni back in for the game. Alumni run roughshod over pussy new band weenies. Alumni almost get the section leader arrested at Tommy's for indecent exposure. A bus window is "mysteriously" shattered.

1996 Buttcheese Bandsman of the Year. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

1997 USC is playing Kansas in men's basketball and are heavy underdogs. Kansas calls a time out and T. Fox calls Heartbreaker. The trumpets run down to the baseline and Ted "The Cock" Lohman thought it would be funny to go right behind the Kansas huddle and blow balls. All the Jayhawk players are stunned , so one of the assistant coaches gets up and slaps his trumpet to the side. Immediately Buttcheese pushes him into his team and security jumps in before Lohman got a chance to swing at him. So being restrained, Ted decides that the only logical thing to do is flip them all off. So right in front of the camera they get his middle finger in Paul Pierce's face. In the second half the coach comes in the stands to apoligize. Ted (true Trojan Bandsman that he is) tells him to fuck off and that he will never shake his hand. Tony of course acts like a baby and doesn't let him play the rest of the game. Art then ends up suspending him from any gigs (games, ten pieces, everything) for six weeks.

1998 3rd Quarter band rises from the dead. Alumni Trumpets return for Homecoming to do half-time. Suckbag Art plays "In the Stone" for the show instead of "Heartbreaker". After seeing Art for all of 2 minutes, Trumpet Alumni remember why they left the band in the first place.

1999 Kevin Norton nominated for 3 Grammy's as a part of the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Kevin takes home two out of three: Best Pop Instrumental Performance: "Sleepwalk", The Brian Setzer Orchestra (Track from: The Dirty Boogie), Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal: "Jump Jive An' Wail", The Brian Setzer Orchestra (Track from: The Dirty Boogie)

2000 - New uniforms are introduced at the Kickoff Classic in East Rutherford, N.J against Penn State. This is the current uniform. Same helmets and overall uniform design, but with updated Trojan head logo and slightly revised jacket style (upper part of the jacket's breastplate design extends up and connects with the shoulder straps).

2003 Quote from Bartner to Pokey (senior trumpet): “Aww, did I hurt your feelings? Band, am I being too harsh? Well, let me tell you… GET THE HELL OUT YOU SORORITY BITCH!!!”