armchair cultural observation since 1995

Tuba Man, RIP

Edward “Tuba Man” McMichael, an eccentric Seattle musical icon known for his regular appearances outside sporting events and on local radio, died earlier this week from injuries sustained in a senseless robbery. 

Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Art Thiel explained the significance and senselessness of the loss in a column earlier this week:

What makes this loss so aggravating is that Tuba Man was a harmless character who put himself in places where he made a good thing a little better. Whether at KeyArena, McCaw Hall, the Kingdome or its two successors, Tuba Man was by the event, not of the event, an independent dealer of mirth in an entertainment world increasingly organized and corporatized.

It is often said that those who live by the street die by the street. That wasn’t meant for this guy. What little he did have he gave in the sweat equity of his ungainly music. He could have taken up guitar, piccolo or harmonica, but he picked the absurd instrument and made Seattle’s streets a little less homogenous and a little more amusing.

Two teens have been charged in connection with the attack.

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