Building the Green Machine
by Colt Foutz
Now Available Nationwide.
Visit Your Local Bookstore Today!
480 pages, 70+ photos
In trade hardcover: $32.95
In trade paperback: $19.95
Every summer, the spectacle of drum and bugle corps holds hundreds of thousands of fans in thrall. They pack stadiums from Chicago to Los Angeles, New York to Dallas, Amsterdam to Tokyo to witness the pageantry and cutthroat competition of marching music at its highest level.
But drum corps is about more than a show polished to jaw-dropping perfection. It’s about friendship, and fun. The bonds forged during cross-country bus tours, when you call a gym floor and sleeping bag your nightly bed, sloppy Joe dished from a trailer kitchen your daily bread.
It’s about hours of rehearsal under the unsympathetic sun to reach that level where you know you’ve pushed yourself beyond your limits, achieved something greater than you ever could alone. It’s about the roar of the crowd as you strut onto the field, ready to blow your eyeballs out the bell of your horn, if that’s what it takes.
Above all, drum corps is about people: parents, teachers, fans and volunteers who keep the annual tour afloat, give of themselves to give members the experience of a lifetime.
Building the Green Machine is the story of how a gang of Chicago Boy Scouts grew into one of the greatest drum and bugle corps in the world.
The tale begins in the 1940s, in rough-and-tumble Logan Square. Don Warren, a charismatic junior scoutmaster, wants more for his buddies than the dead-end world the street offers. He convinces them to ditch knots and camping and pick up snare drums and horns instead. The Cavaliers are born.
The postwar United States is alive with the blare and bombast of competitive drum corps. In Chicago, neighborhood groups clash for bragging rights. To become champions, the Cavaliers must overcome raw musical talent and clumsy feet, and build a brotherhood that repels the challenges of outsiders and stands the test of time.
How the Cavaliers ascend to the top of drum corps – and stay there – is only the beginning. By the early 1970s, Don is helping to found a new competitive circuit, Drum Corps International, which will sweep the activity into the free-wheeling, sprinting artistry of today, but nearly kill his beloved Cavaliers.
Learn how Don and the corps craft a miracle resurgence. Ride along on the buses, charge with them onto the field, and glimpse behind the humming gears of the Green Machine to meet the people who have rocked drum corps through sixty years. Their stories are the story of Don Warren’s life. Poignant, informative, and hilarious in turn, Building the Green Machine delivers an unparalleled look at an American musical odyssey.
Live the story of the 20-time national and world champion Cavaliers, and the history of drum corps before and after DCI! The special first edition is available to order NOW at the cavaliers.org website
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“With a true storyteller’s instinct, Colt Foutz chronicles every pounding beat and every soaring note of the Cavaliers’ amazing 60-year history. Building the Green Machine is a terrific read, equally engaging for Corps insiders as it is for the newly initiated.”
— Sam Weller, author, The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury
“Colt Foutz masterfully presents the Cavaliers story through the eyes of the corps founder and Drum Corps International co-founder Don Warren. … This is a must-have for anyone who calls drum corps their activity.”
Dan Acheson, executive director, Drum Corps International
“It’s all there: the good, the bad, the hysterical. … It gives the reader a look at where we’ve been … what we’ve learned and how bright the future is.”
Jeff Fiedler, director, The Cavaliers
“This book is a priceless reminder of what drum corps is about! Kids!!! Making the world a better place! And Excellence!!! Don did it all! … With this book, we have the stories, the challenges, and the joy – to relive for years to come.”
George Hopkins, executive director, Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps, Youth Education in the Arts
“Foutz creates a fast-paced, brilliantly descriptive literary dialogue that informs, entertains, and walks the reader through the daily realities and monumental history of The Cavaliers.”
Jeremy “Spike” Van Wert, author, Not for the Faint of Heart: My Journey to Manhood in the Santa Clara Vanguard
“Building the Green Machine seamlessly weaves personal interviews, history, fact, traditions, and legend into a fitting tribute to one of the greatest DCI corps…. An absolute must for any true drum corps fan!”
Courtney Brandt, author, The Line
“Foutz takes the reader inside the heads and hearts of these dedicated members, leaders and followers. His writing is lyrical and engaging. This book is a must read for all ages.”
Gretchen Schlesinger, author, Send Me the Soap
“‘Colt’ – what a perfect name for a superbly talented author – documents the legendary history of the Cavaliers and Don Warren’s powerful legacy, but more impressively, has found and explained the essence that makes it the program that it is. It’s more than kids marching around a field playing bugles – it’s kids becoming amazing adults.”
Greg Orwoll, executive director, Dubuque Colts Drum & Bugle Corps
“Don Warren's legacy spans 60 years, from tough Chicago streets in the beginning to the bright lights of NFL stadiums across the country these days. … Foutz has managed to capture that legacy with a gripping word picture that draws you in and won’t let you go. … Drum corps fan or not, this is a must read – for anyone who needs a little assurance that today’s generation is very promising, thanks to legends like Don Warren.”
Tom Montgomery, editor, Cass City Chronicle, Cass City, MI