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A Look at Chicago’s Underground Marching Band, Mucca Pazza

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When I think of trombones, trumpets, and drum lines, I think of a high school football game, don’t you? Well, with Chicago-based band, Mucca Pazza, that is not the case. Watching the array of mismatched uniforms and combination of instruments is something not to miss

Started in 2004, Mucca Pazza is celebrating fifteen years this year. Described as an “intrepid interdisciplinary instrumental music ensemble,” Mucca Pazza is a mix of around thirty members, and they usually play with about 25 on stage.

When you first take a look at them, they look like a college marching band that got lost on their way to a competition. The mismatched uniforms are a giveaway that you’re about to get something much different than your average half-time routine.

Photo: Michelle Siers

I got a chance to speak with Charlie Mulave, who has been a guitarist for Mucca Pazza for the last 5 years.

“One of the things that’s part of the uniform is pants always have stripes, and it must be a band jacket but you can add whatever flair you want,” Mulave said.
“It’s very clearly marching band and not military,” he said.

Mucca Pazza kicked off 2019 with a New Year’s Eve show at Lincoln Hall, which sold out the venue.

“The audience seemed to really enjoy it, and from the inside everyone felt great and had a high from it for about a week after,” Mulave said. Out of all the venues they have played in, Chicago was their favorite.

Mucca Pazza doesn’t have any tour dates lined up for this year, but there are plans for a new record potentially.  You can check out War of Amusements, their latest release here.

With so many musicians, I was curious as to the “shelf-life” on a member. Mulave said some of the members have been with the band since 2004 while others have come and gone. A few original drummers and a trombonist have been around since the beginning.

“We’ve got a really great track record of personnel,” Mulave said.

If you want to catch Mucca Pazza and dance the night away this this year, check them out at Martyr’s on May 3 for International Tuba Day.

Devin Bohbrink

Just a girl trying to catch as much live music as possible and write a thing or two about it. When she's not attending shows or writing, you can find Devin curled up with an iced latte and her cat Pringle.
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