Magic instructor played drums for Back Street Boys

by Fred Meher, special to DCW

We all have heard about the powerhouse staff Magic of Orlando has put together this season. But what some of you might not know is that Magic has a connection with the “Boys.” No, not the “Good ‘ol Boys” of drum corps past that sit around and talk of yesteryear, but the “Back Street Boys” of today’s pop music culture!

Most die-hard drum corps fans know that the Magic staff rivals any in the business, including such diverse members as caption heads Gino Cipriani (brass) and Jeff Sacktig (drill) — former Cadets caption heads — as well as design team members from the Blue Devils. But the addition of Tom Hurst to the percussion staff adds a unique element to that diversity. Hurst performs regularly with nationally known pop group “Sister Hazel” and once was the tour drummer for Orlando’s own “Back Street Boys.”

Hurst discusses how he has gone full circle — from his beginning roots in drum corps, to touring with one of the hottest pop groups and back to drum corps again as a member of the 2002 Magic staff.

DCW: Tell us about your background in drum corps and how you got started in the activity.

Hurst: Well, I started my marching career back in 1985 with the Florida Wave as a snare drummer. Then finished marching in 1988 with Suncoast Sound. Then I taught Magic in 1990 and ’91.

DCW: After you finished marching drum corps, what did you do?

Hurst: Like most musicians in central Florida, I got a job at Disney. I played in three bands there, T-Bone Brass, Future World Brass, then Future Corps. I also did some freelance gigs on cruise ships and went to school at the University of North Florida as a Jazz major.

DCW: How did you get involved with the Back Street Boys?

Hurst: Well, back in 1991 I played in a top 40 band with a guy who was the music director for this upstart boy band who were the Back Street Boys. He got me an audition with Johnny Wright, who was the Back Street Boys manager at the time. He wanted to set up a backing band for them because at the time they sang with only music backup. It’s funny because at the audition I saw this guy who looked familiar, turns out he was Howie Dorough, singer with the Boys. He and I did a community outreach program Magic was doing back then with singers, brass and drums that became what’s known today as MicroMagic. So in a funny way, you could say that one of the Back Street Boys once was with Magic of Orlando.

DCW: And you play now with the band Sister Hazel?

Hurst: Yes, I’ve played with Sister Hazel off and on as a percussionist since 1991. I also play a lot with Stan Lynch from Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers.

DCW:How does drumming for Sister Hazel or the Back Street Boys compare to drumming in a drum corps?

Hurst: Well…

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Drum Corps World is published as an on-line electronic magazine by Sights & Sounds, Inc., Madison, WI. It is supported by advertising from manufacturers, service providers, corps, circuits and show sponsors. The publication began in October 1971 at the same time Drum Corps International was formed and has been produced continuously as a tabloid newspaper until April 2011 and on the Internet since May 2011. It is released monthly, as well as six additional e-mail blasts, one in late June, three during July and two in August.

The worldwide staff of writers and photographers provide show reviews during the season and interviews, feature articles, news and human interest stories during the off-season. The photographs that appear in the magazine are provided by 27 staff members who are scattered around the world. The publication covers World and Open Class Drum Corps International corps, Open and Class A Drum Corps Associates corps, alumni, mini-, parade and standstill units, as well as the growing activity in Europe, the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and South Africa.