It’s remarkable how taking such a everyday task and putting it in a public location can
interest so many people. That’s just what one local Placentia resident has done and people seem
to enjoy it.
Justin Zellmer, 24, a former music graduate of Fullerton College loves to play the drums.
So much that last Memorial Day he decided he needed to give back to his community and use his
gift to do something for the others.
On May 30, 2016 he and a friend brought his drums from his house a block westward to
the sidewalk in front of the In-N-Out on Placentia Ave. and Chapman Ave. There he was careful
to set up next to the bus stop but not to hinder people or any form of wheeled vehicles from using
the sidewalk. He jammed that day and the response was so positive that he has been returning to
the same spot to keep it up ever since.
“Usually the reactions are very good… it gives me the fire,” Zellmer said.
Customers from In-N-Out regularly come up from the parking lot before or after they eat
and stand near him either listening or recording Zellmer with their phones, but the recordings
aren’t limited to In-N-Out, across Placentia Avenue people can be seen with their phones out
pointed at him while they fill up their gas tanks at the Arco station.
Julia Cobb was some what pulled over to Zellmer by her toddler son Dylan Cobb as he
was dancing and moving to the rhythm.
“ He just loved it so I had to come over and let him see”, Cobb said referring to her son.
Now that the days have cooled off Zellmer said he can start playing more regularly, the
heat along with a recent sickness have kept him from going out to drum. He usually likes to play
a bit at noon and then come back as people are coming home from work around 5 p.m. just so he
can see the difference in the city and the people, thats his main motivation. The latest he has ever
played is till 10 p.m. but an police officer told him he had to pack it up due to orange county
noise restriction standards.
Most days it is just Zellmer that has to transport his drum set up hill the block to Placentia
Avenue sidewalk. He has a large wagon with all flat wheels that holds all of his gear but his bass
drum doesn’t fit inside. So instead he places that on a skateboard and leap frogs to his destination
two houses at a time, but he doesn’t complain cause in his mind he’s getting more out of it then
the people watching are, he’s getting a purpose and a stage.
While Zellmers tastes in music have increased over the years from just rock he says he
has really been getting into Brazilian House Music lately. Zellmer has many influences that he
looks to, including Buddy Rich, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Iron
Most street performers people encounter might have a hat or open guitar box for tips, but
Zellmer doesn’t focus on that.
“Every time I go out and do the preforming it feels like, its almost unexplainable but yet
again it just makes me more in love with what I do, because of the people,” Zellmer said.
His perceptions of the publics interest and enjoyment doesn’t seem to be far off and
people drive by and flash the hang ten sign, shout words of encouragement or just honk with
their thumbs up out the window. He has even caused some drivers to get honked at by other
drivers. Many people are so transfixed on his performance that they seem to be forgetting they
are waiting at a light and have to be gently reminded by their fellow drivers that they are actually
waiting in a line of automobiles. Its all just encouragement for Zellmer though cause every honk
to him means that some one is admiring his passion.