“Recycle Your Imagination” with Vocal Trash
Texas-based Vocal Trash uses some pretty odd materials to make music. They describe themselves as an a capella production that uses instruments made out of trash.
If you attend a Vocal Trash concert, you’re likely to see instruments made from car parts, water bottles, pots and pans, buckets, and brooms. It’s not exactly what you might expect for musical instruments, but this is a trademark that the group is genuinely proud of.
Founder and front man, Steve Linder, told Blue Planet Green Living that he was being earth-conscious without even realizing it. He had been using invented instruments for several years, but didn’t think about the environmental aspects of the show until the audience started to point them out to the group.
Linder became conscious of the benefits of having a “green” act and likes doing good while keeping people entertained. “We realized mid-stream that we were really affecting people,” he says.
“I started to realize that maybe this is my purpose. It just makes sense. If we’re going to do something, let’s do it positively.”
Giving Junk New Life as Music
Linder’s Vocal Trash band mates, including front woman and fellow owner, Kelsey Rae; DJ Chris Beck; guitarist/singer, Josh Caldwell; and singer/dancer, Larry Parrish, are all fully supportive of the concept of repurposing “junk” to make music.
Linder envisions an instrument, then discusses his ideas with Eric Davis of Knotafish. Knotafish specializes in creating unusual and unique instruments from other people’s castoffs.
What kind of musical instrument might Linder envision?
“We would take a gas can and convert that into a guitar,” Linder says, giving one example. The group’s invented instruments are all made of various “found” materials. Some are surplus items that are donated by home improvement companies. All the items would otherwise end up in landfills. Examples include old water jugs, oil drums, trash can lids, and scrub boards used as percussion instruments.
Besides being environmentalists on stage, the members of Vocal Trash have made a point to be participate in green living in their daily lives. “We’re all into recycling now that we’ve become more aware,” Linder states. “We’re just more conscious about throwing away stuff and that it ends up in a landfill.”
Entertainment for All Ages
The Vocal Trash show not only appeals to environmentalists, it also appeals to kids and their parents because of the theatrics, rap, break-dancing, and the DJ. Outreach to schools in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area is another positive way that Vocal Trash spends their free time. “This is a new page in our chapter,” notes Linder. “We just started doing this in the last year.”
The band performs only cover songs, because they believe that the fun for their audience is in recognizing the tunes that are playing and singing along to them. “Adults love it, because we pick classic songs to perform,” says Linder.
One of their goals for the future is to continue to spread their positive message. “We want to play for as many people as possible,” says Linder. “It sounds simplistic, but that’s [our goal].”
Vocal Trash plays about 150 shows a year. One of their favorite places to play is at the Iowa State Fair. “Iowa is a magic area for us,” Linder says. “That state fair is magic.”
They’ve been playing at the Iowa State Fair for about six years. They play for between 2,000 and 3,000 people and have established themselves as a regular act at the event. “It’s been very good for us,” Linder says.
Catch Vocal Trash yourself for a memorable, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, rollicking good time. Check the group’s Schedule of Events on their website.
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