Percussion group uses everything — even the kitchen sink

The junk rock group Recycled Percussion, which has a full-time gig every night at the Quad Resort an
Matt Bowman of Recycled Percussion. (photo provided)
Matt Bowman of Recycled Percussion. (photo provided)

It was supposed to be a very special one performance.

Just a one-off. Just a one-night gig.

Recycled Percussion

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday

WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady

HOW MUCH: $45-$20

MORE INFO: 346-6204,

Justin Spencer had seen a guy playing a single bucket as a drum, and brought the concept back home to New Hampshire.

“He and two other guys practiced to make this a one-time high-school talent show in 1995 and after coming in second place, losing to a juggler whose mother was a judge — it was a total scam — here we are 21 years later,” said Matt Bowman, guitarist for now famous Recycled Percussion.

The junk rock group, which has a full-time gig every night at the Quad Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, plays Proctors on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The four-man group will stick around for a sold-out school-day performance Thursday at 10 a.m.

“It’s become a little bit more than I think anybody ever thought it was going to be,” said Bowman, who will share the stage with percussionists Spencer and Ryan Vezina and DJ and percussionist Jason Davies.

The Vegas engagement keeps the group out west most of the time, “Maybe two or three weeks a year total we get to leave,” Bowman said.

He said people who come to the show should expect a big sound.

“We started calling it junk rock,” Bowman said. “It’s still kind of like rock ’n’ roll because that’s what our background is, but with some unorthodox ways of incorporating instruments that people might not have traditionally looked at being drums. Our drum sets, you could probably go to Wal-Mart and pay $20 for one. It still has that rock ’n’ roll base, that’s really what our driving force is.”

The Vegas shows are a little different than the concerts Recycled Percussion offers on the road. There’s more audience participation.

“Everybody who comes to the show is given a drum stick and an instrument, and when I say an instrument, I’m talking about something that has been recycled, like an oxygen tank, a kitchen sink, something … we’ve literally gone dumpster-diving in recycled scrap yards to find,” Bowman said.

“When we travel, we can’t do that as much because that would be a little bit much to fly with.”

The guys may still show up with some props. They’ve got extra gear stored back home in New Hampshire.

“We’re going to end up flying to New Hampshire and driving to Schenectady,” Bowman said. “You might see a kitchen sink, you might see pots and pans. To be honest with you, I’m not 100 percent sure what we still have in storage.”

The shows are all about percussion and guitar, some DJ-styled samples. There are no vocals in Recycled Percussion’s repertoire, but the guys know the beats, and will run through the “greatest songs of all time” during the show.

The group has evolved.

“In the early days, it was just three guys hitting on buckets, no microphones, no P.A. system, no technology of any kind, that’s why the band is called Recycled Percussion,” Bowman said.

“Over the course of 21 years, you have to adapt and change with the times so you can put on a better show. We’ve incorporated more technology from microphones to be able to shape the sound and make the sound bigger.”

One thing people will never see at a Recycled Percussion show is a juggler. Not even for an opening act.

“Sometimes,” Bowman said, “we wonder what ever happened to that guy.”

Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at [email protected] or @jeffwilkin1 on Twitter. His blog is at

Categories: -News-, Entertainment

Leave a Reply