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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Soul




"Indie Week Canada Spotlight: KUMONgA"

What do you get when you cross the sonic styling of old school rock'n'roll with the vocal capabilities of the best rock acts of the past few decades? In short, Toronto-based band Kumonga.

I got my hands on a copy of Kumonga's self-titled record through their new drummer, the hard hitting human metronome Andrew Zenti. If the name sounds familiar it's because Andrew was once the drummer for up and coming Toronto metal band Warmachine, and then went on to play over 500 shows with the Aerosmith tribute Mama Kin. With endorsements from Los Cabos Drumsticks, Kickport, and Soultone Cymbals, there's no doubt that Kumonga's new drummer brings the band some serious street cred.

The band's lead singer, Danny Walters, definitely has the vocal chops to keep the listener intrigued. Songs like "Miles Away", "Here Come The Spiders", and "Look Out Below" easily give you the impression that Kumonga's sound is part funk, part soul, and all rock'n'roll. His live performances prove that his enthusiasm is not just confined to the studio recordings. If you doubt me, check out the video below.

Guitarist Staci Patten is a mainstay of the Toronto rock scene, and his carefully crafted melodic lines and solos give the band's record an "old school" vibe but doesn't make the songs sound dated. Instead, with the monotonous sounds you've been hearing on your local radio station, if you still listen to the radio, Staci's groove-based playing serves as a perfect compliment to the keyboard work by Walters and the bass lines that Stephane Debernardi chugs along with. This is most obvious on "Never Seen a Thing", which is a head-bopping, grooving tune that is very reminiscent of a song that Wilson Pickett would feel at home singing.

Overall, Kumonga's record serves as a great driving CD, and should keep your groove thang going on repeat. Do yourself a favor and catch Kumonga on Friday, October 17, 2014 at Cherry Cola's in Toronto, as a part of Indie Week. You won't be sorry. Have I been wrong yet? Exactly. And in any case, what's not to love about a band that has a giant gorilla as it's main iconography? - Playing with Chaos

"Segarini: NXNE 2012 UPDATED!"

Kumonga: They rock and they rock hard. Go see them, take your Ya Ya’s with you and when they hit the stage, get your Ya Ya’s out. - Bob Segarini

"KUMONgA, Come All!"

KUMONGA and Dan Walters have been battling monsters.
It has been four years since the ex-Brown Hornets frontman played on a stage. After the death of his bandmate bassist Justin Heming in 2008, there were moments when Walters thought he would never play live again. Last year however he formed another group, named after the giant spider, KUMONgA, who took on Godzilla.
"Its a rebirth for me", says Walters, over coffee at the Mad Cafe in Oshawa.
"I hung my skates up after Justin died," he says "I'm still not over that. It was catastrophic. There was a part of me that accepted that I might not be able to roll around on stage again. But to be able to do it again, its amazing. I honestly never thought it would happen again."
While KUMONgA does not stray too far from The Brown Hornets classic rock/ bar blues sounds, Walters says he makes a concerted effort not to fall into the easy structure of the genre.
"I did it in my early bands," he says. "We dogmatically fashioned ourselves after a Jimmy Reed or a Freddy King, literally formulaic ripoffs. But you can only do that for so long. Its easy to get entrenched in the same tricks over and over, just say for the bridge lets go for a minor. We (KUMONgA) think of subtle ways to tweak it."
"I think unnervingly hard about simple music. I'm still using the same alphabet but I'm recontextualizing ever so slightly, aesthetically. Instead of trying to mimic I'm just taking those 26 letters and rearranging them in ways I'd like to see them. Some times it comes across as fresh and sometimes its like oh man he's going for the Solomon Burke howl. I think hard about it but I recognize its not Beethoven."
Walters lives in Toronto and works in Oshawa at UOIT. He spends a lot of time commuting offsetting the boredom with mixed CDs from Itunes downloads. It is a way of exploring sounds he might not otherwise have the time for, he says. Some of what he finds, whether its Bill Munroe bluegrass or Nigerian Highlife, will find its way in his new songs, expanding the vocabulary of what is considered soul.
At first listen KUMONgA's debut is a solid ten track offering of soul based rockers. Walters however says there are deeper meanings behind the feel good party tracks. Songs such as Feel So Bad, Marmalade and Never Seen A Thing deal with the changes in his life but he says it has to be subtle.
"Its not the format. We're a dirty soul rock and roll band and it wouldn't be appropriate to truly touch upon the magnitude of hurt I feel about my mum's death after two years or how unfair and tragic it was for Justin to die. Who wants to dance to that?
At the same time I can use those feelings, that energy to fuel songs into a different direction which will still be accessible but there is meaning and grit to it."

KUMONgA are Dan Walters on keys and vocals, Staci Patten on guitar and vocals, Stéphane DeBernardi on bass and Eric Martin on drums. - Slow City Zine


I’ve known Danny Walters for years as the front-man for The Brown Hornets. Aside from being a first-rate blues/soul band, the Hornets had a cult following of fans. Danny made every show an audience participation event. He’d toss pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables out into the crowd, and often pulled out a loaf of Wonder Bread and made peanut butter sandwiches for a select few… all while continuing to play and sing. It was the kind of show you’d never forget.

This time out, with KUMONgA, Danny has hooked-up with Staci T Rat (previous guitarist for the Red Light Rippers) to “put their bat-shit ideas together” (a quote from their web site).

Also, from their web site, they describe KUMONgA as sounding “like one bolt of lightning smashing through another bolt of lighting!” I couldn’t agree more!

All of the intense energy of the Brown Hornets is still there, and then some. The fresh produce and peanut butter sandwiches may be missing, but Danny has a good supply of dollar-store tambourines to hand out to keep the audience participation alive.

Now, check out this video sampler from KUMONgA’s NXNE gig to see the band’s frenetic energy for yourself… - Toronto Live! Club Hub Chronicles (Charles Whaley)

"Staci Patten Review"

“Staci's guitar playing... a cross between Keith Richards, Johnny Thunders and Slash. 'Seven Years' is a big fuck you to Staci's critics which features a great ballsy riff which half way through turns into John Lee Hooker boogie, and features a guest spot from UK Subs legend, Charlie Harper on harmonica. ...This CD is most definitely worth buying if you're a fan of good old fashioned rock 'n' roll.”

Daniel Cadwallader - Bubblegum Slut Magazine (UK)

"Danny Walters Review"

Shimmying, Shaking, Pure Rock & Roll Entertainment with a 60s Flair...pure energy and showmanship. Lead singer Dan Walters serves as the focal point for this frantic outfit with his acrobatics and wailing vocals. - Chart Magazine (A+ Report Card from NXNE)


KUMONgA (2012)

10 song album on Vinyl, iTunes, and CD.
Recorded in 3 days on 16 tracks onto 2 inch tape. Mixed to half inch tape.
Produced by Douglas Romanow and Henry Gooderham (Permanent Records Inc.)

GRIT (2010)

Live-off-the-floor demo



Danny and Staci toured parts of Canada and USA together several years ago. Danny stocked the tour-van with Soul music, while Staci had no shortage of classic Punk.

Maybe it was all that time on the road...Or maybe it was all those half-eaten bags of hickory sticks. Whatever it was, the boys knew something large, green and electric was about to come to life.

Like a bolt of lightning smashing through another bolt of lightning, KUMONgA was born! Wasting no time, Danny and Staci recruited the baddest drummer and bassist this side of Augusta Georgia.

KUMONgA's first show was a ground shaking performance at the 2011 North by Northeast Festival in Toronto, Canada. Remember what happens to King Kong when he gets nailed by lightning? This happens to KUMONgA every time they hit the stage (should probably invest in a farmer's almanac). Each show gets progressively faster, wilder, and sweatier. More and more tambourines get busted, and more and more hips are thrust onto the dance floor.

KUMONgA's monorail of melodic mayhem was captured on tape by Toronto's illustrious Noble Street Studios. KUMONgA released its glorious 10-song debut in October 2012--and it's already generating a truck load of believers.

KUMONgA's self titled Merry-Go-Round-Of-Sound can be found on Vinyl, iTunes, and CD. All 3 come in black.

Be sure to get your complimentary KUMONgA tambourine at the next show.


Band Members