Recycled Percussion

February 22. 2013 6:14PM

Recycled Percussion was formed in 1995 by Justin Spencer for a Goffstown High School talent show. Did they win? Actually, no. A juggling act took first place.

With fierce competition like STOMP and Blue Man Group heating up theatres at the time, Justin decided to make the group less of a theatrical show and more like a rock band, pulling the idea from New York's street percussion scene and his own training as a drummer. Recycled Percussion gave birth to a new sort of music, which is now termed "Junk Rock."

It took only a couple of buckets and some pots and pans to get started. Soon ladders and tools were added. Playing percussive instruments was second nature to Justin, who had played drums since the age of two. It was a trip to New York City where he saw Larry Wright, a well-known street performer, who really grabbed his attention and inspired Justin. Wright, who has appeared in commercials and played with artists like Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson, plays the "bucket drum," a five-gallon plastic bucket which he moves with his foot to change the sound. This had an impact on young Justin and he decided to grab that idea and bring it to the stage. Only what he had in mind was slightly more, shall we say, dramatic.

As they added in instruments - and by instruments - we mean jackhammers, power tools, industrial items, various car parts, those sorts of things - the group was able to expand and grow. They have added a DJ to help bring in some melody to the songs. The DJ sets the backdrop for all the non-stop, pulse-pounding action happening out front.

In 1999, the band was featured on the cover of USA Today. They began touring the country, performing 250 shows per year, mostly on the college circuit. They cut some records for the college scene and won several awards early on including National Act of the Year six times.

They continued to tour over the next ten years. During this time they opened for acts like Godsmack, performed during half-time shows at NBA games and finally they landed on television with "America's Got Talent." Although they didn't win (they took third place), the show gave them national exposure and an opportunity to create a live act for the Vegas market. Working with Jerry Springer, the group performed first at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas for three months and then spent a month on stage at the MGM Grand Foxwoods in Connecticut. That set the stage in 2010 for a deal with the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to perform nightly at the famous casino. They have since moved to the Tropicana Hotel, where they are the only band with their own show to perform nightly on the Vegas strip. Now the show has become an interactive experience. Audience members are given drum sticks and a special instrument on their way in so they can then interact with the band during parts of the show. They even pull audience members on stage to perform with them. And, they are known to do meet and greets with the audience after their shows.

In December 2008, Recycled Percussion returned to Goffstown High School. The show was filmed by students using mini-DV and high-definition cameras for a DVD. DJ Todd Griffin told the Goffstown News, "The idea was to put the spotlight on the kids, to see what people enjoy filming, what part of the show they enjoy. It's cool to get the perspective of the crowd."

Justin has earned the nickname "the world's fastest drummer." To find out why, you'll have to see a show for yourself. The band continues to return home to the Granite State performing periodically at venues like the Palace Theatre in Manchester and the Colonial Theatre in Keene. With a devoted following that includes fans of all ages, they have earned a place in the hearts of many.

In addition to creative director and lead percussionist Justin Spencer, Recycled Percussion also includes percussionist Ryan Vezina, guitarist and percussionist James Magoon, and DJ and percussionist Todd Griffin.

Recycled Percussion performs on America's Got Talent:

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