Now I’m not just a fan of music. Having studied percussion for over twelve years, I have been part of it for a while. While most of my performances were part of school ensembles and personal recreation, I still considered myself to be a drummer through and through. There were many different reasons why I chose drums and percussion. One was because I wasn’t any good at guitar. Another was because my elementary school band needed drummers.
Perhaps the biggest reason why I started playing, however, was because of Stomp.
Yes, those are trash can lids. And yes, he's playing them like marching cymbals.
Stomp is a performance that combines percussion ensemble music with choreography and comedy. The catch? The only “real” instruments are the occasional pair of drum sticks or mallets. All of the music comes from trash can lids, brooms, newspapers, hubcaps, matchboxes, and pretty much everything that makes a sound!
The first performance was at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre in 1991, lead by Brighton, UK‘s Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. After that, they played around the world, from Dublin to Hong Kong, and in 1994, they finally opened up shop at the Orpheum Theater in New York’s East Village, where they have been playing for seventeen years.
What really gave them exposure in the US was the television special “Stomp Out Loud“, a 45-minute television performance that featured many of their more famous acts and aired in 1997 on HBO. I was nine years old at the time, so I was a pretty impressionable kid, and when I saw this, I immediately decided, “I want to be a drummer!”
You may be all asking yourselves, “What does this have to do with busking?” Actually, quite a bit. It takes ordinary things and makes music, just as buskers take any ordinary venue and use it as their own personal Carnegie Hall! This is what really made me interested in street musicians, many of whom actually perform on pots, pans, and trash cans like the Stomp performers.
Check out their website for more information, including tour dates and performances!