Velvet Knights PC Joe “Spam” Miller Interview
Spam Miller's name kept popping up, like a clipboard-toting judge who stubbornly eclipsed my shadow. I had even responded to an e-mail from one Joe "Spam" Miller, the reborn Velvet Knights' program and staff coordinator. Mayra Iraheta and Troy Emmons, Velvet Knights secretary and president, respectively, I have interviewed twice in person, and again by e-mail. Peruse DCWorld's 35th anniversary April issue and Allison Atkinson's thorough January article for Iraheta/Emmons interviews. Director Dan Zeilinger leads VK's comeback, part of the Velvet Knights Youth Arts Organization, vkyao.org. Finally, at DCI Atlanta, Miller and I sat down on plush Sheraton sofas to dissect VK.
Cozy: Tell curious readers about the reemergence of the Velvet Knights.
Spam: Rehearsals have been great! Turnout has been more than we expected. We had rehearsals in Orange County, and we didn't have enough horns. We had six contras and 16 baris.
Cozy: What about your staff? I know you have Chris Rutt, mello, who is in Star United's Minicorps, did Blast! and was in The Cadets '96 through '98.
Spam: The staff is incredibly talented. They're from a variety of areas — Divergent! Rutt is great! We have a person brought in to teach dance, Steve Kadel, who has extensive theatre and Broadway experience. It is a dedicated and tireless group. The staff meetings we have, the ideas just bounce around — "Write it down…Keep that…Keep it going." The discussions keep layering on.
Cozy: What will you share about the 2007 show?
Spam: We're calling it "X." The idea was, if you're looking at a group like VK that has been gone for about 10 years, where should we be? Where has drum corps gone in 10 years?
If you look at the funny shtick we did, it wouldn't be fair for our kids to do that today. We looked at what is current. We pulled from those areas. Problem is, when you look at the music of today, like hip-hop, there are many sounds we can't do. With some of the rules changes, that will make it easier for us this year.
Cozy: What has been unexpected?
Spam: The amount of support, not only from the online community, but like here this weekend. People look at our badges and see our name. It's like having a dead friend come back. For the longest time, we felt like the outcasts on the fringe.
Cozy: How extensive will your tour be? (Miller's voiced caution chimed familiar to Mark Richardson's decision that Arizona Academy skip Denver in 2005, to make sure they could afford Madison in '06.)
Spam: We'll be mainly doing a local tour. We're looking at Arizona and California. We had contacts from show sponsors from the East, like New York. We don't want to overstretch. It used to be, "Have VK, have a show!"