The Wrong Trousers can often be found on weekends in Balboa Park, performing the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" on mandolin, standup bass, and full-sized concert harp. "On our best days at Balboa Park, we make about $300," says 17-year-old harpist Kelsea Rae Little. "Low ends for a set are about $20 to $30. It all depends on the weather and the size of the crowd."
Park rangers distribute ten free music permits on the first Saturday of each month. "This permit allows you priority to one spot," says Little. "We usually set up across from the train museum."
Mackenzie Leighton, 19, plays standup bass ("His playing comes from his strong jazz background") while 16-year-old Joseph Lorge plays mandolin ("He's only played for two years"). The band's set list is split between offbeat originals and covers of acts such as the Traveling Wilburys and Joanna Newsom.
"Our most popular cover to date is 'Such Great Heights' by the Postal Service," according to Little. "It won us our Coronado High School talent show."
The Wrong Trousers are recording a CD with local jazz mainstay Peter Sprague, whom they met while recording tracks for a mutual friend at his studio. Two original songs from those sessions posted on MySpace have been played around 20,000 times.
"We actually get stopped in the streets of San Diego by people who recognize us from the park, MySpace, or YouTube," says Little. "People are nicer in person than they are on the Internet."
Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSUX9byu6NY to see their video.