What: Recycled Percussion

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., Bend

Cost: $22, $32 or $42 plus theater preservation fee

Contact: towertheatre.org or 541-317-0700

Recycled Percussion may be misnamed, according to band founder Justin Spencer.

It made sense in 1995. Spencer, a sophomore in high school in small-town New Hampshire, formed the group to play a talent show. He took inspiration from street performers who would use found percussion instruments such as buckets or trash cans while playing in New York City subways.

“We never really had any dreams or aspirations to play beyond that,” Spencer said while en route to a tour stop in Chicago. The group will play the Tower Theatre on Thursday.

“At the time, it was very original — no one was really doing that 25 years ago, just street performers. Bucket players in New York City is where some of the inspiration came from. We just happened to be doing it at the right time, the right place, worked our asses off and started traveling and growing. … We reinvented ourselves all the time.”

At this point, drumming on trash cans — or ladders, or buckets, or the myriad other pieces of salvaged junk the quartet uses to build its custom drum kits — makes up “about eight minutes of the show,” Spencer said.

“It’s really not a great name,” he said. “… By the time we realized it and built the brand to what it is now, it was too late. The name is already etched in stone.”

Spencer describes Recycled Percussion gigs now as something of a variety show. He and the rest of the group — fellow percussionist Ryan Vezina, guitarist (and various other instruments) Matt Bowman and DJ/percussionist Jason Davies — spend a majority of the time onstage participating in comedic sketches and stunts that they have honed through close to a quarter-century of performing.

“There’s been times where I’ve stopped the show and done a 20-minute yoga solo — I’ll start doing yoga onstage for 20 minutes (and) make it really awkward,” Spencer said. “There’s times where we go out and play 20 rock songs. We pretty much feed off the crowd, and if I feel like the crowd sucks, then I’ll make it really awkward and then maybe we can pull them back in. If the crowd’s (an) epic, rock-star crowd, then we come out there and we try to meet their energy. It’s always just open for interpretation, and I mean that in the best possible way.”

Much of the humor comes from the music, as well. The band’s found-instrument style extends beyond percussion, with members playing songs on kitchen appliances or power tools. Improvisation is a part of the show, but Spencer said the music — mostly ’80s hits and classic rock favorites — should be familiar to most.

The Tower show will be Recycled Percussion’s first Bend performance, but the group is no stranger to Oregon. In 2017, it undertook a 50 States in 12 Days tour, raising money to buy toys for kids in their home state of New Hampshire.

That focus on charity has come to the fore for Spencer and company in the last few years. Since ending a nightly residency at Saxe Theater in Las Vegas, which ran from 2010 to 2017, the group moved into TV with its reality show, “Chaos & Kindness,” which Spencer has often described as “‘Jackass’ hits Make-a-Wish.” The show aired two seasons on New England TV and online at chaosandkindness.com, with season two ending in 2018 and a third season premiering nationally via ABC affiliates April 18, Spencer said.

True to Spencer’s description, the show combines stunts (often pulled at the expense of Vezina) with charitable activities funded by the group’s fans; one episode featured Spencer traveling to Puerto Rico to help a family save their house after Hurricane Maria in 2017. Spencer said the group plans to film an upcoming episode of the show in Bend thanks to some help from a local donor, though he didn’t know what would happen in Bend (he wouldn’t reveal the name of the donor due to privacy concerns).

“We’ve been doing things like this for a long time and not capturing it on TV,” Spencer said. “When we wanted to develop a TV show — networks came to us and said, ‘We’d love to do a TV show of the band’ — we just thought we shouldn’t go too far from our hearts or what we do organically. I just grew up super poor and know what it’s like to have a struggling situation growing up.”

Given that background, it makes sense Spencer would be drawn to found percussion instruments. He recalled stealing his parents’ trash cans at home to build makeshift drums in the early days of the band.

“It was grab a bunch of 30-gallon rubbish cans and turn them upside-down with a five-gallon bucket,” Spencer said. “… Then it became, oh, let’s grab a kitchen sink, let’s grab a step ladder. Basically, for the first couple of years, it was going to junkyards with drum sticks and just tapping things — brake drums, pots and pans, road cones, whatever you could find that had a different sound to it — putting them in the back of a pickup truck and driving them around and setting up and just doing small, artistic performances at schools to street performing outside of sporting events.”

By the time the group appeared on “America’s Got Talent” in 2009, finishing in third place in the show’s fourth season, it had more than a decade of national touring to its résumé. The show helped further the band’s profile on the national scene, leading to the Vegas residency, the TV show and more charity work, including demonstrations and workshops at schools.

“We already had success prior to that; it just put us into another category,” Spencer said. “Now we became Vegas-worthy, then Vegas opened us up to the corporate shows, which are big money and big theaters, and globally — we (toured in) 27 countries last year. We’re always traveling and doing things. I feel like every few years, we get another injection of something cool and rad that we can do that builds the brand even bigger.”

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