Street Drum Corps

You can see them in the touristy areas of any large city like New York, Chicago, or Boston: young men performing for spare change by drumming on improvised instruments scrounged from dumpsters and building sites, like those five-gallon white plastic paint buckets. A street-level phenomenon since at least the early '90s (there was a popular jeans commercial featuring them during that decade, and one drummer made an appearance in one of Mariah Carey's videos), street drummers are a cool, improvisatory exhibition of creativity from unexpected sources. Perfect to be capitalized upon, then. Street Drum Corps is a punk rock version of Stomp, a tightly choreographed mix of street drumming and pop-punk tunes. The core group is made up of Bobby Alt, Adam Alt, and Frank Zummo, three percussionists from Los Angeles, CA, who began the troupe in 2004 as an adjunct to their own bands, S.T.U.N. (Bobby Alt) and theSTART (Zummo). Besides the standard junk instrumentation and repurposed industrial tools, the group also uses a theremin and other traditional instruments. Although Street Drum Corps has ties to the Los Angeles pop-punk scene -- Bert McCracken, singer for the Used, handles lead vocals on their single "Flaco 81" -- the debut album Street Drum Corps was produced by old-school L.A. bubblegum veterans Richard Podolor and Bill Cooper, whose credits stretch all the way back to Steppenwolf and Three Dog Night. McCracken also teamed up with the group and Sugarcult's Marko DeSantis for a minor 2005 holiday hit (at least among punk fans), a remake of the John Lennon classic "Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)." Street Drum Corps will likely forever be the only band whose official bio notes both a stint on the Vans Warped Tour and a residency at the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park. ~ Stewart Mason

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