Mucca Pazza is an interdisciplinary instrumental music and performance ensemble based in Chicago, USA. The band consists of approximately thirty active members and performs mostly original instrumental music; their mode of performance is informed by physical theater. Mucca Pazza's instrumentation is loosely based on that of a traditional American marching band - drumline, sousaphone, trombones, trumpets, saxophones - but also includes electric guitar, mandolin, violin, cello, accordion, and cheerleaders. Their sound references American marching band and big band traditions, as well as Middle Eastern music, California surf, Ennio Morricone, and 50s television show themes. They perform in mismatched marching band uniforms, and are known for their energetic, joy-filled performances.
Mucca Pazza: Sizzle Reel, published Feb 21, 2019. This sizzle reel is composed of a variety of footage taken over the course of the band's 18-year history, giving a sneak peak into the frenzied joy, nerdy rapture, and vibrant musicality that makes up a live Mucca Pazza performance. Total run time is 1 minute and 10 seconds.
Mucca Pazza: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert, published on Feb 10, 2015. Running time is 14 minutes and 43 seconds, and includes four songs as well as a short cheer. We've included this as it gives a good feel for the band's live performances"”regardless of the size of the "stage." Individual songs are Subtle Frenzy (minute 0 to 3:07), J'Accuse (3:08 to 6:27), Dirty Chompers (6:28 to 9:21) and Holidays on Ice (9:22 to 13:29).
Mucca Pazza: Mr. Spider Goes Home to Spiderland, published Oct 24, 2017. This song was composed by David E. Smith, who has been with the band since its origin, and appears on Mucca Pazza's "Trick or Treat" EP (Leather Bus Records, 2017). The music video was conceived by band member Charlie Malave along with other members of Mucca Pazza, and was directed and animated by Charlie Malave. Malave is the current Artistic Director for Mucca Pazza. The video demonstrates another angle of the band's cartoony aesthetic"”and the eclectic compositional styles that make up the band's expanding repertoire. Run time is 4 minutes and 35 seconds.
The three work samples we've submitted showcase the band's live performance style (Sizzle Reel and Tiny Desk), as well as the cartoony aesthetic and rich compositional tapestry that makes up the band's repertoire (Mr. Spider Goes Home to Spiderland). Together, these three samples provide a wide-ranging view of the multitudes contained within Mucca Pazza, and hint at the surprising ways this gaggle of great musicians might fill any number of venues with joy and sonic wonder.
Mucca Pazza assembled itself in a steel mill parking lot along the Chicago River in 2004. Inspired by the collaborations of Dada, Surrealism and other "non-main stream" art forms, Mucca Pazza grew into a 30-odd-member "perforchestra".
Combining marching band traditions and street theater spectacle with rock and roll sensibilities, Mucca Pazza quickly found a home for its 30-odd members in the thriving Chicago underground music scene. An unparalleled eccentric, frenetic visual presence and genre-bending original compositions earned Mucca Pazza critical praise and a loyal local following.
In the nearly two decades since, the band has developed a fearless ability to play anywhere that has opened up absurd opportunities in libraries, reflection ponds and escalators, across the states and beyond. They are as comfortable in a performance hall as they are in football stadium bleachers.
Major festivals include: Lollapalooza, Lincoln Center's Out of Doors, Festival International de Louisiane and the Montreal Jazz Festival. They have also appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, WNYC, NPR's Tiny Desk Concert while licensing music to TV's Weeds, I Love Dick and the Golden Globe® award-winning Transparent. They've been busy collaborators, working with a range of artists including Chicago Sinfonietta.
Mucca Pazza seeks to attain the seemingly unattainable through an ever-evolving collective of artistic voices. Trumpets, trombones, saxes and sousaphones combine with guitar, mandolin, violin, cello and accordion, all on top of a rhythmic drumline "” and all dressed in mismatched marching band uniforms. Add cheerleaders performing absurdist chants and you'll quickly understand the band's ethos: the bigger the better, the more the merrier, collectively jumping for joy.
Ever since the band first assembled, Mucca Pazza has melded original compositions with street-theater spectacle. Musical influences range from Béla Bartók to Balkan folk, Björk to Charles Mingus, Clara Schumann to Frank Zappa "” they are as comfortable in a performance hall as they are in football stadium bleachers.
Mucca Pazza continues today as a multi-disciplinary fantasy of original music, shouted dream poems and sweaty dance freak outs performed by a large-scale collective that exists due to the grace and love of its ever-changing roster.
Mucca Pazza asks you to consider subverting the expected and to love what you might not understand. We are what we don't even know we are, yet.
(There is joy waiting to be shaken loose from every molecule, we just need to find the frequency.)
Programs for Specific Audience(s) Expertise
Mucca Pazza has developed workshops, master classes, and other programs for students, teachers, and performers of various ages. Several band members are experienced teachers themselves, while others have worked exclusively as professional musicians for decades. The breadth of knowledge and expertise held within the band is impressive, and makes it possible for Mucca Pazza to develop programs specific to a variety of audiences, classes, and so on, of all kinds.
Miranda Lange, The Awesome Company
Mucca Pazza operates on a sliding scale, determining the fee for each engagement based on various details, including length of performance or engagement, distance to the venue, number of band members in attendance, and other variables such as workshops, master classes, etc. In the past, fees have generally fallen between $4,000 and $40,000. A lower level gig would include a smaller band performing a shorter set (usually between 15 minutes to a half hour or so) close to home. A $40,000 event would include longer and/or multiple sets, overnight stays with individual per diems, etc. Booking manager Miranda Lange can help interested venues and organizations determine an appropriate fee based on a given event's needs.