Donoma

Donoma

 Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA
BandAlternativeRock

Biography

"When life gives you lemons make lemonade" was first coined by Elbert Hubbard in 1915. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" is a fabulous line by Oscar Wilde from Lady Windermere's Fan written in 1892. They both say the same thing. Life can suck. Life can kick your teeth in. If you don't want to spend your days curled up in the fetal position, use that pain to set a better path. Wipe the blood from your runny nose and rise up and say, Screw you. I'm still here. When life gives you lemons make lemonade. It's a cute saying that appeals to the masses. Ah, but Dear Oscar, he was something else. We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Smart. Sexy. A white hot stiletto to the core. Oscar Wilde was the first rock star.

Kenosha, Wisconsin multi-faceted rock band DONOMA aren't the latest rock stars. Not yet at least. They could be but prefer to aspire to make an honest living at their art, at their craft. Ah, but they are so much more than worker bees. They are the Queen Kamikaze Honeybee. They are glam and punk and cabaret and rocknroll and whoo hoo. But that wasn't always the case. In the late aughts singer and songwriter Stephanie Vogt was the young girl strumming a guitar and singing her songs before Richard Cranium sets. Quickly bassist Shelle Mounce joined her followed by drummer Israel "Izzy" Alpizar, keyboardist Brian Sandberg, electric violinist Nick Campolo and finally guitarist Tim King. It was all very organic, one by one into the Tribe. And a Tribe it was as the band adopted the name DONOMA, a Native American Omaha term meaning "a sight of the sun." We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the sun, perhaps?

By the time the Tribe was completed the persona was part Jam, part Gypsy, part traveling Circus with Stephanie and sometimes audience members breaking into belly dancing routines. And travel, they did. DONOMA made a rep by performing anywhere, anytime, often changing instruments throughout the sets, if not even during songs. The band was on its way to racking up hundreds of shows. Over these years the band put out a couple of recordings - "Live at Ben Bremner's" and "A Sight of the Sun" - each with a noticeable lift in chops, content and promise. "Daddy, have we reached our promise yet?" "No dear. Do another hundred shows, iron out that set and put out a killer new CD and you'll almost be there."

And that brings us up to the present and all that jazz about gutters and looking at stars. No, we didn't forget that. These days the Tribe is made up of five with lead vocalist and lyricist Stephanie on guitar and keys along with the occasional mandolin and flute, Shelle on bass guitar and backing vocals, Izzy on drums, Nick on electric violin and Tim on lead guitar. They've continued to be performing warriors, just playing better gigs like Milwaukee's Summerfest multiple years and in new venues and states around the country, including direct openers for the likes of Tantric, Candlebox, Meat Puppets, Soul Asylum and Rusted Root, among others. The Gypsy set has been put aside, replaced by a hard rocking, emotional roller coaster of a set that leaves audiences and the band spent, sweaty and sated.

As for the new CD, sometime in the spring 2016. The band signed a Production Deal with Gold Record producer/engineer Mike Hoffmann and whole new levels and worlds are opening for the band in the songs. The songs are visceral and rock and have people yelling and cheering. But for those that take the time to truly listen, they get the ring in the Cracker Jack box. Stories of unimaginable hurt and pain and horror emerge put to a beautiful scarred beat and melody. And the younger girls in the audience shyly approach the author of these stories and thank her and ask to have their picture taken with her. After all she and her band are looking up at the stars.

paddy fineran 
Writer (weekly feature on music, "Music Matters" 
and writer of documentary "Hey Brother, Can you spare a Song?"