On Saturday, Feb. 24, the band Johnny Fireseed and the Junkyard Dogs taught an audience full of children the importance of recycling through the power of music.
The group was formed by vocals, guitar and cajon player Patiño Vazquez, who has been playing music for 40 years. “It’s my whole life. I grew up in a musical family. My mother is a classical tried pianist for Cuba and my sister played piano too,” Vazquez explained.
When he got older, Vazquez’s mother signed him up for piano lessons, but Vazquez said he wanted to march to the beat of his own drum. “[My mom] signed me up for piano lessons, and I had to rebel cause I couldn’t play the same instrument as my sister or my mom, so I went searching for my own instrument,” Vazquez said. “The first one was a clarinet, the second was the saxophone and then I saw a guitar for sale at a yard sale for forty bucks. I was working a paper route so I could buy it with my own money, and that’s what I did.”
After the purchase of his guitar, Vazquez continued with the creation of his music career. “I played loud and joined a punk band at fourteen, and I toured North America four times with that band. I got a great experience, and it has been snowballing ever since.”
One of the unique things about Johnny Fireseed and the Junkyard Dogs is that every single one of their instruments is made out of recycled material. As the show progressed, every time Vazquez introduced a new instrument, he would explain to the audience what that instrument was made out of. The idea to make instruments out of recycled material came to Vazquez when he found some wood in a dumpster. “I was always ticking with instruments too and fixing my guitars and I realized that when I got that piece of wood out of the dumpster I was like, ‘I’m going to make a guitar out of this,’” Vazquez explained.
Attending the performance was Jessica Gelter and her daughter Evelyn Gelter. Jessica had not heard of Johnny Fireseed and the Junkyard Dogs prior to the performance, but decided it would be a good show to bring her daughter to. “It looked really cool with the whole recycled instruments thing,” Jessica said.
When Evelyn was asked what her favorite instrument was, she said, “That one,” and pointed to the theremin, which is controlled by relative position of your hand around the antenna.
Although the show had to end with two songs remaining due to a time constraint, both Jessica and Evelyn expresses they enjoyed the concert. “I thought it was great, I was sad it had to end. It was just really groovy and really fun,” Jessica explained. Evelyn then added,“It’s interesting and inspires people to try new things.”
After the performance, audience members were invited to a reception to create their own instruments out of recycled material. The reception also included cookies and lemonade.
Erin McNemar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org