With the opening of Knott’s Scary Farm upon us it seems appropriate to cover one of HAUNT’s most exciting offerings; Blood Drums, presented by Street Drum Corps. This high-energy street drum ensemble has been exciting theme park goers for years and has recently become a mainstay in many of Cedar Fair’s parks around the country. Originally formed in 2004 by drummers Bobby Alt, Adam Alt and Frank Zummo, SDC has taken the percussion world by storm with their own unique blend of loud music, special effects and unbridled stage presence.
I recently caught up with SDC Production Manager and drummer extraordinaire, Justin Imamura to talk about what new and exciting changes Blood Drums has to offer guests this year.
MORGAN RICHARDSON: Justin, how long has SDC been doing this whole HAUNT thing?
JUSTIN IMAMURA: We’ve been working with Cedar Fair for the past five years now. Right now we have Blood Drums shows in [California's] Great America, Knott’s Berry Farm, Carrowinds, Kings Dominion, Dorney Park, Kings Island and Valley Fair, that’s seven Cedair Fair Amusement Parks.
IMAMURA: Actually I guess you could count it as eight parks; we will also be at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk at their Zombie Bash [Halloween Dance Party at the Boardwalk's Coconut Grove. Saturday, October 26, 2013]. So that’s eight parks total, seven Cedar Fair parks.
RICHARDSON: That’s great! What sort of new things are being done this year that weren’t a part of Blood Drums last year?
IMAMURA: So this year our shows are going to be different than all other years. Actually we are calling it Blood Drums 2.0 because in the parks that are able to have it we’ve added video [projection] and in the parks that can’t do video we’ve added pyro.
RICHARDSON: Sweet, so you’ve added video at GA [Great America], yeah?
IMAMURA: Yeah, added video at Great America and we’ve been doing a lot of video here at Kings Dominion plus we’ve got the pyro here.
IMAMURA: So right now we have every Blood Drums show in all of the parks will be open by next Friday [September 27].
RICHARDSON: Awesome, so tell me a little bit about Lost Vegas.
IMAMURA: Right! So Lost Vegas is currently where all of the founders of SDC are performing so Bobby and Frank and Adam are there right now. They’ve been there for about the past 3 months, we have a half-year residency at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. It’s one show a month on a Saturday at Club Vinyl inside of the hotel. With that show it’s basically what we tour with when we opened for Linkin Park and The Used times ten! We also have special guests perform; last month we had Hunter [Burgan] from AFI, Greg Hetson, the guitar player from Bad Religion, Deryck [Whibley] from Sum41 and I think in October we might get Tommy [Lee] to come out and play because Mötley Crüe will be in Vegas at that time too. So its really a crazy drum show with singing and dancing and aerialists and special effects.
RICHARDSON: That is so crazy, THAT is what I want at the theme parks!
IMAMURA: Oh my gosh dude, how awesome would that be?! Its definitely doable, for sure. We can hire aerialist and dancers and rock a show like that. The thing is, its expensive. I’d love to do it, I’m down.
RICHARDSON: Have you pitched anything like that to any of the parks yet?
IMAMURA: (laughing) You know what dude, what we are debuting this year is our brand new custom drum pods. They are these pods that are on wheels that [the drummer] pushes around so that they can walk around and play drums at the same time. They are great for parades and crowd interaction. You can see them online at the Street Drum Corps Youtube channel.
RICHARDSON: Well that sounds awesome, I bet you are glad to be playing at Great America this year, huh?
IMAMURA: Oh totally, this is our third year of Blood Drums there and I’m happy to be at home. There is going to be new video effects, new songs and it will be a completely different show when I’m there!
Best of luck to Justin and the rest of the Blood Drums casts performing around the country this October.
Major changes have been made to Blood Drums in all seven of their Cedar Fair locations for the 2013 season – new songs, pyrotechnics, visual effects, lighting, large scale projections, new stages, new sets and new casts. Still, the one thing that remains a constant in any Street Drum Corps performance is showmanship. I highly recommend taking a break from the mazes taking in a performance of Blood Drums.
Be sure to check out Blood Drums at any of these Cedar fair parks. Check your park’s show guides for times and locations. Tickets for Street Drum Corps Lost Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino can be purchased through Ticketmaster.