From the New York City Subway to dancing with Beyonce to the Calgary Stampede, Too Many Zooz crave the ‘crazy stuff’

Known for their innovative sound of the street and their humble beginnings racking up millions of YouTube views from the New York City Subway, Too Many Zooz is ready to turn it up a notch at the Calgary Stampede Saturday night.

NYC’s Too Many Zooz’s baritone saxophonist Leo Pellegrino, trumpeter Matt “Doe” Muirhead, and drummer David “King of Sludge” Parks quite literally broke onto the scene in 2014 and haven’t looked back since.

Pellegrino and Muirhead met at the Manhattan School of Music where they were attending and later teamed up with Parks for some busking at various New York subway stations, and that’s where their self-described “brass house” style caught the attention of a passerby who uploaded the video to YouTube, garnering millions of views. 

It all happened quite organically, as Pellegrino tells it.

“When we started playing together, it was all very nonchalant because there was never any intention to have a band,” he explains, adding it was quite surprising when they found out their video hit a million views.

And the rest as they say, is history.

Now, though, the band want to prove they’re the real deal by hitting the road and playing live to as many audiences as they can, including their current run of Western Canadian dates

“We just want to bring our act on tour and bring it to the people,” Pellegrino adds.

It may seem like success happened overnight for Too Many Zooz, but now that Pellegrino has had a taste of it, he wants more. Much more. 

“It just feels like it changed slowly over time. Sometimes it feels fast, but sometimes it feels frustratingly slow because I just want crazy stuff to happen all the time.”

Crazy stuff like recording with Beyoncé? Check.

Not only did the band guest on the Lemonade track Daddy Lessons, the Queen B requested to have a dance-off with Pellegrino at the 2016 CMA Awards. Beyoncé performed the track accompanied by the Dixie Chicks and Too Many Zooz, but it was Pellegrino’s unique dance moves that set social media on fire as he matched her move for move while gutting it out on the saxophone.

“When really good things happen to you it just feels like it’s normal, and that’s the thing about good things happening is it just sets the bar higher,” Pellegrino adds.

And for Pellegrino, who has always craved being the centre of attention, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

(Photo courtesy Justin Borucki.)

Too Many Zooz play the Calgary Stampede Coca-Cola Stage Saturday July 14 at 8 p.m.

Krista Sylvester is a freelance writer (and creator of that’s all she wrote) with a journalism background. She has worked for Metro, CityTV and the now defunct FFWD, and specializes in arts and culture, sports, film and entertainment, social issues and more. When she’s not writing, she can often be found at the poker table or ice rink playing hockey.