Sunday, September 19, 2010

...think Frankie J. Holden as a circus ringmaster

Spruce Bringsteen

They've played the Annandale Hotel, wowed a crowd of thousands at a mass protest and most recently, conquered the streets of Newtown. "They" are the yet to be named, but still awesome, marching band started by my friend James, aka Spruce Bringsteen.

An algae-counting PhD student by day, Jimmy is band master of a bunch of brass, drums and woodwind that play 80s pop covers with such formidible skill and spirit you might mistake them for professionals.

I started by asking James what the inspiration for his band had been. He says it all began with a chance encounter with a group of school kids during a protest in Argentina against a Canadian uranium mining company.

JH: After an hour long march down the highway we were greeted by a rabble of kids from the local school all with their instruments. Their music transformed the place and gave energy and some funk to what we were doing. So we thought we should start a marching band back in Australia. Of course it took a years time and telling some proactive friends before we got it together.

Check out the kids protesting:

Soph: How do you manage to march, look cool and play a drum in time?
JH: I pretend my drum is a fixed-gear bicycle and rims on my glasses an inch thicker.

Soph: What songs get the kids going?
JH: Jump Around by House of Pain. We don’t know this one yet though.

Soph: Take us through your marching outfit.
JH: Think Frankie J. Holden as a circus ringmaster.

Soph: What is your favourite cat video clip on you tube and why?
JH: Right now my favourite is ‘Cat Playing I Spy’.

Soph: Musical inspirations?
JH: I think Tom Waits – In the Neighbourhood sums it up pretty well

Soph: Tell us a story about a rabbit.
JH: My first two pets were rabbits called ‘Misty’ and ‘Cloudy’. They bore no apparent preference for weather conditions.

Soph: Sydneys best kept secret?
JH: The entrance of the secret tunnel into state parliament the pollies use to avoid the media and protestors.

Soph: Last great meal you ate?

Thanks for sharing Jimmy..... long live the marching band in pop culture.

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