Self-taught drummer grows ‘green’ act.
Thousands have experienced the street drumming of Jascha Tobias at local festivals. The beat began in 2003, when he got an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I worked at a place in Jenks that had a Mardi Gras party, and they had some fancy bands perform,” Tobias says. “They realized they had no street performers. So they said, ‘Hey, you want to be our bucket drummer? You can come free.’”
The simple offer prompted Tobias, who dabbled in drums and bass guitar, to go home that evening and build what he calls RUKUS, a drum set built from plastic buckets and household items. His first gig at the Oklahoma Aquarium was an immediate success. “I blew their minds and kind of stole the show for the six years I worked there,” he says. “People started telling me to take it to the streets, and I did.”
Prompted by his audience’s enthusiasm and with the help of environmentalist Lauren Lunsford, owner of local art studio and gallery Rainbowland Studios, who recognized the power of his “green” act, Tobias worked his street act into Mayfest, the Blue Dome Festival, Tulsa Tough, D-Fest and on the streets outside concerts at Cain’s Ballroom and Brady Theater.
It might not be full-time work, but Tobias considers RUKUS his primary gig. “I call it my real job, if that makes any sense,” says the drummer, who also works at Whiskey Business liquor store. “It has grown tremendously since 2003. I never intended on it. I’m nobody special and not trying to be all popular and stuff.”
His philosophy on drumming is simple and motivates his organic style: “In all humanity, every tribe, the drummers are what you hear first,” he says. “I do what I do, and it is what it is.”