Mark Danger Powers

drummer • educator • author

Dressing the Part

We’ve all heard the timeless advice “dress for success.” And most of us probably agree on the importance of wearing the appropriate attire for a given job. Well, in my line of work, ‘dressing the part’ could mean just about ANYTHING!

I’ve got to admit it, I’m a fan of costumes. Playing gigs in them . . . even better! Classical musicians often wear all black. Big band musicians might have to pull the tuxedo out of the closet. I’ve certainly done both of those. The way I see it, any other performance outfit (provided it’s appropriate for the gig) is no different. It’s the right thing for the job. And if you’re going to go, go all out!

In no particular order, here’s a list of some of the get-ups I’ve found myself drumming in over the years:
(click on thumbnails to view larger images)

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1. Ah, how it all began! I recall a young Seth Waterhouse and I borrowing one-piece, full-body sheep outfits for our gig at the local teen center.

2. Then there were the gigs with that 500-year-old Jazz Vamypre, Burt Klein. I had to disguise myself as a werewolf to avoid falling prey to any of the night-dwelling creatures in his Arkestra of the Undead.

3. I’ve recently been getting called up a lot to fill-in as an 80’s nerd rocker with the Spazmatics. But what a bunch of geeks . . . total dweebs.

4. Back in the ol’ polka band days, I might have been seen from time-to-time sporting a pair of grey leather lederhosen, along with the typical suspenders, knee-high wool socks and Austrian cap. But I wouldn’t admit that publicly. Oops, just did. I eventually outgrew them and was left with a serious decision to be made. Drop the cash on a new pair, quit playing in polka bands, or start Nair’ing my legs. I chose to spare myself anymore humiliation and git while the gittin’ was good.

5. The only gig I get to come up front and dance the Hustle on . . . the world-famous Afrodisiacs! Love slammin’ out those disco grooves . . .

6. One of the most motley crew of misfits I’ve had the pleasure(?) of working with is Dr. Kickbutt’s Orchestra of Death. That KB was a slave driver, and insisted that we wear old smelly suits and play instruments that we weren’t any good at. Terrifyingly funny . . . and kinda fun . . . kinda.

7. One of my favorites is laying into my 26″ Gretsch bass drum onstage with hip-hop artist/producer Einstein. New shows being booked now- stay tuned!

8. Wahoo, Nebraska. Their claim to fame: Once labeled by David Letterman as the “Home Office” for his Top Ten lists. My claim to fame: Probably not allowed back, after some old farts thought I was playing drumset buck naked. I was wearing boxers. I swear. But apparently it didn’t look that way with a snare drum right in front of me.

9. I seem to recall a really twisted Halloween prog-rock show that featured myself and Optic bandmates as a very evil Three Little Pigs. But that might have just been a bad dream. No more caffeine before bed.

10. The most recent addition to this list is the mohawk I donned for two shows with 80’s punk rockers, the M-80s. The bass player thought it exhibited my extreme commitment to the band.

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And a couple of Not-So-Honorable Mentions: two potential shows ideas that (perhaps thankfully) never saw the light of day . . .

11. A band of hippie cowboys. The working title was Drifter, named after a Portland-area Pale Ale.

12. And, I can’t believe I’m putting this on the interweb, but there was talk (okay, more than talk, we did promo shots) of putting together a band of dudes, dressed in drag, playing strictly chick tunes. But it never happened, so no opportunities to come out and heckle me live! Sorry.

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Ever worn anything unusual to a gig or job? I really want to hear about it. There’s no way you can embarrass yourself more than I just did myself. Comment below and share with the rest of us!

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