We’ve all played a few classic Sega Genesis and SNES games in our time, right? Have you ever been moving along in the stage and suddenly you notice that you’ve been bobbing your head to the background music? Ever find that tune stuck in your head for hours after you’ve turned off the console?
Imagine a group of musicians that take that same song, infuse it with modern dance grooves, and perform it live for your enjoyment.
That is Fighting in the Streets.
Fighting in the Streets is the classic video game music and TV theme cover band that breathes new life into the nostalgic tunes you know and love. Take it from me, watching them perform life is incredible and if you live in the NYC area, you should check them out as soon as possible. Nothing like seeing a room full of people dancing to Sonic the Hedgehog music to make you swell with nerd pride.
The MC of Fighting in the Streets and recreational drum murderer, Norman Paul Edwards Jr., was kind enough to answer a few of my questions last time I saw him.
Norman: My name is Norman Paul Edwards Jr. Drummer. Musician. Born out of Queens. Cambria Heights! Currently living in Long Island, but y’know.. Queens all day. 26 years old.
JD: Alright. And Norman here is part of, um.. uh.. Well, how would you classify Fighting in the Streets.
N: Fighting in the Streets goes by the motto I’ve always stated. It’s video game music and TV themes from the past to make you shake your ass. We play all the classics, everything that everybody remembers, like, Sonic, Super Mario, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Megaman, Tetris! And then imagine that, but with hip dance grooves going on on top of that. Just live musicians, no electronic musicians, all live kats.
JD: Can you tell me a little bit about how Fighting in the Streets got started?
N: Fighting in the Streets got started between me and the Alto Saxophone player [Alex Lopez]. One day, we were drinking in a bar. We were drunk! Keeping it real.
JD: I like this story already!
N: And I told him, and this is when first met as Freshmen in the Manhattan School of Music, I said, “Man, video game music is just so under-appreciated. I mean, kats like Nobuo Uematsu, Yuzo Koshiro, Koji Kondo.” So he was said, “I love video game music too.” And then I said, “I’ve always wanted to put a band together.” And then he said, “So did I!” And we went from there.
JD: And how did you two get the rest of the band together. Did you just reach out to musicians you knew, or…
N: Yes. Being that we’re from the Manhattan School of Music, we had a lot of kats to choose from. I already had a keyboardist in mind, Christian Sans. Right now he’s playing with Christian McBride and all these other hip jazz artists, but he always has a place in Fighting in the Streets. And then Alex found a guitarist, Sean Ritchie, a rip-roaring distortion master, young kid. And we always went through different bass players. Currently we have this great bassist from Brazil. And when it wasn’t her it was a friend of mine from the Manhattan School, Jane Silverstien, who’s stationed out in LA right now.
JD: Just as a drummer, what are some of your influences? Because you’ve been drumming for.. how many years?
N: 22, since I was 4. My influences came from my father, first and foremost. He’s a drummer as well. And he just made it look so fun. So I said, I want to do that too. So I got my start there and he turned me on to drummers like Omar Hakim, Dennis Chambers, Elvin Jones, Max Roach. And I was, like, man I really love this. I have to continue with drums. So, that’s how I got into it. Then I got into Jazz and just all different types of music. And I just love making people groove.
JD: I can definitely see that. Alright a couple of gaming questions to wrap up. What’s your favorite video game?
N: Oh, my god. There are too many. Right now, my favorite is Dragon Age Origins. The game is just too ridiculous.
JD: That’s what’s in your system right now?
N: Right, that’s what’s in right now. Because one day it can be Street Fighter 3 online edition or I can go back to Sonic the Hedgehog 1, I was playing that a couple of weeks ago. Just in love with that music.
JD: And favorite game soundtrack? Excluding Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
N: You know, actually, Final Fantasy 7 is the first soundtrack I completely respected. That and Streets of Rage. That music is just so damn funky.
JD: Alright, Mr. Normal Paul Edwards Jr. Where can we find you guys online.
JD: And your own page?
N: FunkFlash on YouTube. Check me out, I do drum videos, make it work out for everyone. Drum covers of video game music, hip hop music, rock music, everything in between.
JD: Alright Norman, appreciate your time. Thanks a lot.
Thanks again Norman, for taking the time to talk to me. I promise next time we talk there will be less awkwardness and more alcohol.
Be sure to Like the Fighting In The Streets page on Facebook and keep an eye out for their next show.
Oh, and before I go, I’ll just leave this here.
One of my favorite videos from Norman’s YouTube page, FunkFlash. Enjoy.