Mucca Pazza assembled itself in the parking lot of a Chicago steel mill in 2004. Combining street theater and marching band instincts with avant-garde and rock band sensibilities, the twenty-odd piece ensemble built a cult following in the local underground music scene. Unconstrained by the rock venue format, Mucca Pazza marched into the city's world-class Millennium Park, becoming something of an unofficial Chicago mascot. Mucca Pazza went national just as the renegade marching band community blossomed into a full-fledged musical movement.
With mismatched uniforms, improvised marching maneuvers, speaker helmets and deconstructed cheer-leading, Mucca Pazza trail-blazed the 'weird as we wanna be' theatrical and visual aesthetic, while exhibiting real musical talent, playing mostly through-composed original compositions that tend to land somewhere between Zappa and Morricone. Atonal harmonies, odd time signatures and labyrinthine melodies are as likely to pop up as sweet brass chords, catchy whistlers and solid grooves.
Mucca Pazza has adapted performances to a wide range of venues such as Late Night with Conan O'Brien, the Kennedy Center, the Kentucky Derby Parade and a WWII P.O.W. camp in Marfa, Texas. Recently, Mucca Pazza transformed locations at Montreal Jazz Fest, MASS MoCA and Crash Detroit. In September 2014, Mucca Pazza accepted a challenge from the Chicago Sinfonietta to battle over Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture at Symphony Center.
Mucca Pazza: Colorfully Clashing Marching Band Rock
Premiere: A brand-new single from Mucca Pazza, 'All Out of Bubblegum'
by Leor Galil, Chicago Reader
World Music Informed by the Past and Fiery in the Here and Now
by Jon Pareles, NY Times
Mucca Pazza: globalFEST 2013
by Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR
Chicago’s punk marching band breaks the fourth wall on Safety Fifth
by Kim Bellware, TimeOut Chicago
Inspired Clowning: An Interview with Mucca Pazza's Mark Messing
by Timothy Schuler, Gapers Block
Alt-Marching Bands & Other Brass
Watch What Happens When You Let A Punk Rock Marching Band Take Over An Art Museum
by Kim Bellware, Huffington Post