There seems to have been an explosion of bands dressing up as characters from iconic TV shows and films and playing music as those characters. We have the Star Wars metal band Galactic Empire who play in full costume, while Boston’s Powerglove cover theme songs from various TV shows, films and games. We also have The Cybertronic Spree, a band who play music from the 1986 Transformers movie, in full costume. To get to the bottom of this, I spoke to their Decepticon drummer Rumble about all things Cybertronic Spree.
Jack: Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Rumble (Drums): We are fully functional. How are you?
Jack: I’m great thanks. When The Cybertronic Spree formed, did you form with the intention of playing songs from the original Transfomers film or was it some sort of happy accident?
Rumble: We originally formed to play one show. The intent was to play the soundtrack from our documentary film, The Transformers: The Movie.
Jack: What was your fondest memory of the film?
Rumble: We remember the camera crews always getting in the way. So many of them were needlessly and tragically killed. It was hilarious!
Jack: Do you play any other songs apart from the soundtrack such as originals or other alongside your Ghostbusters cover?
Rumble: Yes. We have played a number of songs that are not on the soundtrack. These include, among many others: ‘Space Truckin’ by Deep Purple and ‘Danger! High Voltage’ by Electric Six.
Jack: Why did you decide to cover Ray Parker Jr’s Ghostbusters theme?
Rumble: It was Halloween and that is a fun spooky song “for the kids.”
Jack: Is wearing the costumes a big highlight of playing live with this band?
Rumble: We wore costumes for our Halloween show. It was part of the theme. Hotrod wore “sexy” cat ears and the crowd really like that. Arcee dressed as Paul Stanley from KISS and I thought that was really fitting – a good, scary costume for Halloween! Other than that show, we play in our robot forms, except for Spike. He is a human.
Jack: Is it hard to play while wearing the costume?
Rumble: We do not know. Perhaps a costumed band would? It did take some time to calibrate our sensors to small, fragile Earth instruments, however. These instruments do not exist elsewhere in the Universe. Sometimes we accidentally break things. We’re getting better at that.
Jack: Were there any arguments as to who would pick each character?
Rumble: There were not. We just decided to be ourselves. Some bots wanted to be in the band but we didn’t let them in. That led to some arguments. There are a few Autobots and Decepticons that did not understand. They are free to form their own bands if they’d like.
Jack: Who is your allegiance to? Autobots or Deceptions?
Rumble: I am Rumble of House Decepticon. But my main allegiance is to partying.
Jack: What is your favourite series of Transformers?
Rumble: I really like Generation 1, even though certain, let’s say, “creative liberties” were taken in retelling how it all went down.
Jack: Why has Transformers’ legacy endured?
Rumble: Humans! They have been so kind as to keep the spirit and love alive all these years. Thank you, humans. I also think the really cool toys have a lot to do with it. They keep getting better!
Jack: Have you heard anything from Hasbro or from anyone at all involved in the film at all regarding your covers?
Rumble: We have heard from Stan Bush, the incredible artist who brought the world “The Touch” and who worked with Vince DiCola on “Dare.” He is a friend. We have also heard from Ernie Petrangelo from NRG, who also likes that we are keeping the spirit of the film alive. We have friends at Hasbro as well. We would like to work with them again some day. (Remember – we worked with them in the ’80s).
Jack: Do you plan to release an album at all?
Rumble: That would be nice. We have some plans regarding music, and bringing more music to more people. That’s all I can say at this time. For now, please keep watching the videos and come to the shows if you can. Also, support the band by picking up some merch. All that goes toward making more cool stuff happen.
Jack: There has been a lot of international interest with lots of fans from various conventions such as MCM in London wanting you to play these events. Is this something you’d like to do?
Rumble: We would love nothing more than to take the show on the road and in the air. People who want to see the band in person can get together and petition their local giant comic conventions. Those conventions have the power to bring guests to their events. This is the best shot we’ve got. We just need a little energon, and a lot of luck!
Jack: There seems to be a recent trend of bands wearing costumes of iconic shows and playing songs from these shows? Why do you think lots of bands are starting to emulate their favourite heroes and TV shows?
Rumble: People like to have fun. We don’t know what it’s like to have to wear costumes, but it seems like it would be fun. It is certainly fun to watch people try to play instruments in costume! It’s really cool to see.
Jack: One such band is the Star Wars band Galactic Empire, who through crowd funding are going to tour the UK. Would you be interested in collaborating with them?
Rumble: We feel that playing a show with them would be a lot of fun, if not incredibly logistically challenging!
Jack: What are your upcoming plans?
Rumble: Nice try, Megatron!
Jack: Finally what are your thoughts on the Michael Bay Transformers films?
Rumble: I really like that they gave my buddy Shia [LaBoeuf] a leading role in so many of them. He’s a really cool guy, for a human. Overall I find the films themselves to be a little loud for my liking. They definitely look cool, and they are keeping the Transformers name alive. For that, we are grateful.
Jack: Thank you so much for your time.
Rumble: Thank you for these wonderful questions! You’re alright for a human, too, I suppose.