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Street Drum Corps

Street Drum Corps

If you’ve ever been to a big city, you’ve probably seen street musicians putting on percussion performances, crafting beats on such informal gear as pots and pans, garbage cans, milk crates, and your shoes, if you stand still long enough.

Founded in Los Angeles, California, nearly ten years ago, Street Drum Corps takes this kind of performance to a whole new level. Their amped-up punk version of sidewalk drumming has taken them onto a record label (Interscope Records), TV (Conan O’Brien, American Idol), and sharing stages with such rock notables as No Doubt, Chris Cornell, and 30 Seconds to Mars.

“We have all been doing music professionally since our youth,” Street Drum Corp co-founder and performer Frank Zummo explains.

Zummo, along with his fellow co-founders/performers Adam Alt and Bobby Alt, met the Alt brothers ten years ago. Zummo was working with a band called TheStart, while Adam Alt was in Circus Minor, and Bobby Alt was peforming with Faculty X and S.T.U.N.  But it wasn’t long before he found they all shared the same passion for percussive shows.

“We decided to get together then, and start something new and outside of the box,” he says.

Outside of the box, and including everything but the kitchen sink (and they bring that along sometimes, too.) SDC does use traditional drum kits in their performances, but just as often are drawn to garbage cans, buckets, rain barrels, marching band equipment, washing machines, kitchenware, and even power tools. It’s no wonder so many heavy rock and experimental musicians have been equally drawn to SDC’s unique approach to percussive sounds.

Featured guests on SDC’s albums have included No Doubt’s Adrian Young, Angels and Airwaves’ Matt Wachter, Bad Religion’s Brooks Wackerman, and a who’s-who of collaborators that have added even more flair to SDC’s tracks.

Most of Street Drum Corps’ on-stage items are found at junkyards, where they’re returned to be recycled after the band’s done working with them. Even the drumsticks are plastic and aluminum that are 100% recyclable. For SDC, it’s a combo of giving purpose to found materials, and finding the perfect sounds, which are based in punk rock and echo the likes of Blue Man Group, albeit with even more energy.

“We use a lot of trash items due to the dark, industrial tones they provide,” Zummo explains. “And our musical inspiration comes from many amazing percussive groups and shows – we fuse together tribal, industrial, and electro with raw punk spirit.”

50 drummers in all tour with Street Drum Corps throughout the U.S. and Canada, with all of the shows being full percussive productions. While the rest of the SDC shows trek across North American, the original three founders have been just as busy in Las Vegas, where they’ve spent the past six months performing at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. “That show features musicians, singers, stilt walkers, and tons of multimedia and production,” Zummo says.

It’s a “brotherhood of drummers,” as he puts it, that propels all of the Street Drum Corps shows to hit status.

“I think the uniqueness of our brand comes from us fusing all the musical styles together,” he explains. “We have found the right mix of items that work for the show and the music. There are unexpected special guest musicians, plus the visual element and punk spirit that are infectious with our audiences. It’s a truly unique, one-of-a-kind percussive extravaganza.”  – Kristi Kates

For more info on Street Drum Corps, visit their official website.