A band that thinks it is a Marching band, occasionally behaves like one, but to your surprise, doesn’t exactly sound like one. Mucca Pazza is a 30 piece self-described “circus-punk-marching-band” based out of Chicago.
The repertoire spans between several unnamed genres, typically the ‘one of its kind’ ones, with Funky guitar lines and accordions that set the spirits high of even the least enthusiastic in the crowd.
Mucca Pazza is a band that has it all; be it the incredible musicians, homemade gear amps or rare instruments.
What’s better? Random connections and rendezvous gathered this bunch of people together to play as a band. While some of them met at the anti-war protests at Chicago, the rest joined in due to the similar theatrical inclinations of the members, and also, of the band as a whole as well.
“In Chicago, there are people who comb the alleys for precious scrap metal, they take what they find to a foundry where it is collected, smelted, and then poured into moulds. Each member of the band came to the “Mucca Pazza” foundry, the same way those precious metals had”, recalled Jeff Thomas.
From a number of stringed instruments such as the accordion, guitars, violin, mandolin and the rarely used melodica; Backed by powerful and basified drums and percussion, Mucca Pazza’s music is best composed in well understood musical ethics, where sousaphone, trumpets and trombone elements add the extra fun to it.
“There is also an electric mandolin player who typically plays with a slide, an electric violin, and the hottest cheerleaders over the age of 30 who can get your mood “turned on””, Jeff added.
“Mucca Pazza at the Mayne Stage on March 25, 2011″
The well known marching band, and the well dressed gentlemen and ladies in it, have also performed at remarkable venues world over. This includes concerts including McCarren Park Pool, True/False Film Festival, Looptopia, Lollapalooza, Rothbury Music Festival, Tour de Fat and Theatre Bizarre.
They understand well the beauty of each instrument towards lively sounds and acknowledge each element that a member puts in to the songs to make them sound better. Different and rare modifications of Saxophones, Cheer leaders, pom-poms and mellophones, which are now more of a museum thing to many people, are some of the interesting things the Mucca Pazza members use. Leafing through their previous albums and songs, one can easily experience the rich musical hierarchy the members seem to possess on account of the spectrum of instruments they have been using with finesse, now over more than seven years.
“Mucca Pazza at Lincoln Hall on August 19, 2011″
Mucca Pazza seems to have derived and imbibed many theatrical influences into the way they appear. Mannerism and the way one connects to the audience is what separates a raw musician from an avid performer, and no member of the band misses a chance to connect to whosoever lends and ear to them. The cinematic and show time influences in the performances of the band might have taken birth due to the extraordinary theatrical careers some of them had in the past.
Balkan-brass to covers of 60′s television show themes as well as themes from Shostakovich and Bartok are some commendable examples of this involvement.
The fluidic coordination between dozens of instruments, genres and influences matches the band’s spirit of marching on, in the streets of Chicago and its vicinity.
“Mucca Pazza at the Auditorium Theatre on May 12, 2012″
Sure is that the music culture in most hotspots of the world has undergone a shift; A shift that is more likely to have been brought up by the gypsies and marching bands. Mucca pazza sees a huge audience waiting for their sounds in the times ahead.
At the end, Jeff Thomas concludes this rendezvous with the words “Here in the United States, there is a growing culture of Big-Band/Marching street bands. Each city will have their own version that isn’t defined by a genre of music. Instead, the music is reflected by the individual musicians and the city to which they live and perform in. This is an exciting reaction towards the more homogeneous music released on the commercial level”.
“Mucca Pazza at Millennium Park on July 4, 2011″
With their first album released back in 2006, followed by the second full length compilation album in 2008, the band is hitting the studios for a remix 45 album in August and another album in the fall, with a couple some of tours and creative collaborations in the coming future.
“Mucca Pazza at CIMM Fest April 12, 2012″
Photographs by – C.B Lindsey
Written by – Sahil Sharma
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