by Lauren Napier
Taste of Chaos can serve many purposes: as a musical showcase, as a good time for music fans, but most importantly it is an outlet for rock outfits of varying styles. Street Drum Corps has been able to turn a concert that doesn’t necessarily fit their profile into an outlet of publicity and creativity. The atmosphere differs from their residency at Magic Mountain. But as Bobby Alt says “they both inspire each other. We put this show together, we built this show at Six Flags Magic Mountain and we enhanced it for the Taste of Chaos Tour. We’re learning things that we can do to make the show bigger for Six Flags when we go back this summer and in the fall.” Learning is a huge aspect of this tour for the guys and Frank sees it as a way to expand their show and their impact upon the audience – at Taste of Chaos there are “video screens, electronics, backing.”
The name was originally formed as a title to encompass all the street drumming groups the members had formed over the years. Adam and Bobby, were “stoned on a couch in Venice Beach thinking of a name for our parent label for all the drum projects we had…We wanted something that could be the record label for all of them, in a sense. It ended up that we just decided to focus on the now and one group and we ended up with Street Drum Corps. We’re from the street because we were playing buckets and on the street. And the corps being the group of what we do and our friend made us a cool logo with the skull and some sticks. It stuck.” Even though it’s a simple and straightforward name, “people can’t get it right” and call them Steel Drum Choir, Drum Street Corps, Street Drum, and even transform corps to corpse – a bit disappointing. They’re considering incorporating the original title of BANG into the name and show that their” BANG can bang all the other BANGS.”
The outfit started roughly two years ago. Frank jokes that he was originally a Chippendale in Vegas, met the guys on the side of the road and “got them jobs being Chippendales and then Johnny actually pimps us out.” As convincing as this might be and appealing – it’s not quite the way things happened. It started when Frank moved to LA and met both Bobby and Adam, who invited Frank to their own drum show and he said that “sure enough they were whipping out pots and pans and garbage cans… I was like this is pretty cool that you guys are doing this I’ve been doing it on the east coast, let’s just jam one day and see what happens.” The planned jam session lasted and hour in a Los Angeles junkyard and from there they produced a 3 – 5 minute piece that was distributed to theme parks. There was really no expectation of a response, but Magic Mountain hired the street drumming outfit and before they knew it they had gained the interest of Kevin Lyman and were featured at Warped Tour.
Warped Tour and Taste of Chaos provide a notably different lifestyle for the three members of Street Drum Corps: there’s touring involved, crew and managerial duties, and set organization. But they enjoy the change and as Adam offers, “the family environment.” Those involved are working together and “understand what the kids want to see.” It requires that all parties are on the same page in a sense in order for the tour to run successfully and be well-received. Adam is not thrilled with the showers, but Frank says “this luxurious compared to Warped Tour because at Warped Tour it’s all Port-o-Potties. Here they just have big locker rooms, so there are tons of bathrooms and everybody on the tour just comes in and we wash each other backs.” Doesn’t sound too bad – but it’s certainly not the comforts of home. The venues on the tour also take care of the bands coming in whether this extra help is needed or even wanted. “When you roll into these venues,” Bobby reports, “they have people that work here and they won’t let you touch your equipment.”
The music is what is important for all three members and the method in which they explore music suits their own creative expressions. Bobby comments that “it was just searching for something different. I had played drum set for fifteen years always dabbling with other percussive instruments…I started hitting garbage cans after seeing bands like STOMP and Blue Man.” Frank hopes that through Street Drum Corps he can “show that you can be a front man and there are other ways to be a front man besides just being the man in the back trying to get attention.” Within the Street Drum Corps there are no rules and they “can go from on style to another” on their record without sacrificing solidity. Adam wants to “get others to express it as well” and promote creativity within their fan base.
But music is not all the guys are concerned with: books, editing, tour manager duties, and other activities are pursued. Bobby’s favorite book is “a book called the Four Agreements…that’s the book that tells how you should be living.” Adam enjoy movies and does a lot of visual editing and “editing stuff for online.” Frank busies himself with the tour duties. There are only three people in the band and have a lot of work to do on their own before things run smoothly.
And things are running smoothly. With a new CD and DVD, a growing fan base, and the support of music moguls like Bert McCracken the sky’s the limit for Street Drum Corps. Check out their music on their myspace site where there are several tracks available to listen to (http://www.myspace.com/streetdrumcorps) or better yet check out a live show.