Twisted metal and piles of slag behind them, shish boom bah!
Chicago’s Mucca Pazza marches on, from the steel mill parking lots of Chicago across the nation. Wielding homemade headgear amps and shouting surreal algebraic cheers, the dozens-strong band insists on Safety Fifth (Electric Cowbell Records; June 12, 2012).
They march in formation, rip through drum cadences, bust out cinematic stories, and incite mass dance outbreaks. They channel everything from Bartok to a love-struck Godzilla, re-imagine the uptight 19th-century march, and make up soundtracks for classic Egyptian movies that never happened. Not bad for an eccentric gang of loud-and-proud, self-proclaimed band geeks.
“We look like a marching band and occasionally behave like a marching band, but we don’t sound like one,” explains Gary Kalar, mandolin player and member of Mucca Pazza’s “freak” section of stringed instruments and accordion. “We care about the music we play; it’s not a novelty thing. We just don’t fit into any hyphenated genre.”
“We’re a marching band that thinks we’re a rock band,” exclaims sousaphone player Mark Messing.