The Korn Kobblers

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When Austin alt-country stars the Hickoids pelt an audience with corn, a socially beneficial tradition is being followed dating back to the '30s and the Korn Kobblers, advertised in their heyday as "America's…
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When Austin alt-country stars the Hickoids pelt an audience with corn, a socially beneficial tradition is being followed dating back to the '30s and the Korn Kobblers, advertised in their heyday as "America's most nonsensical dance band." Tall stalks of words indeed considering that this was the era of novelty acts such as Spike Jones & His City Slickers and the Hoosier Hot Shots. A sextet with a nominal leader named Stan Fritts, the Korn Kobblers scored with several hits including "Don't Give Me No Goose for Christmas, Grandma," an oddly musical recipe request that reveals this aggregation may have been somewhat fussy regarding what meat should be served with all that corn.

Guy Lombardo discovered the group, proving he has an ear for something other than "Auld Lang Syne." Fritts and associates may have been pleased but not surprised, having decided on the cornball and comedy approach in order to boost their earnings in the music business. This was the same decision made by the aforementioned Jones, a Dixieland drummer prior to kicking off his own famous comedy band. For the Korn Kobblers, the formula worked well for about 15 years beginning in 1939. Unlike the Jones group with its well-known boss, the Korn Kobblers cooperatively split proceeds, which were said to be as much as some swing big bands pulled in. The group enjoyed national airplay on nearly 200 radio stations, cut sides for the OKeh label, and also made it into several films. Homemade instruments were an important part of the schtick, among them a so-called "tuned smokestack" as well as the elegant "skoocherphone."