Doubleheader of the year opens with New Monsoon
San Francisco rockers New Monsoon have been storming across the nation, transforming audiences into dedicated fans with their exhilarating marriage of world rhythms and rock bravado. New Monsoon’s vibrant percussion and acoustic and electric instruments come together in an irresistible blend of sophisticated songcraft, inventive musical exploration and down home rock ‘n’ roll.
New Monsoon was conceived when Penn State friends Bo Carper and Jeff Miller reconnected in California. With Carper’s rootsy, acoustic-finger style as a foil for Miller’s inspired melodies, the pair sowed the seeds of the New Monsoon sound. With the addition of the tour de force percussion section of drummer Marty Ylitalo, tabla virtuoso Rajiv Parikh, and conguero Brian Carey, the New Monsoon vision started to unfold. During the recording of the band’s first album “Hydrophonic” in early 2001, the band tapped long-time friend Phil “The Pianimal” Ferlino for keyboard tracks. Blown away by the project, Ferlino immediately moved to San Francisco and joined the band on-stage at the 2001 High Sierra Music Festival.
Nationwide touring and the band’s second album, “Downstream,” followed in 2003. The year 2004 delivered bass monster Ben Bernstein, who has helped propel the band to new musical heights. Latin, Brazilian and Indian percussion, drum set, didgeridoo, electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, mandolin, bass and keyboards, unify the musical styles of New Monsoon’s influences, which are as diverse as rock gods Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Santana, bluesman Mississippi John Hurt and world music pioneers Tito Puente, Shakti and Peter Gabriel. New Monsoon’s original compositions are an experience of musical textures, rhythms, ideas and moods. At any given performance, the audience enjoys a synthesis of genres, everything from bluegrass to reggae, to funk and rock ‘n’ roll. No two shows are the same and fan recordings of performances have become a favorite among tapers and traders in musical communities throughout the country.
The music’s heavy Latin and Indian vibe, with progressive use of melody and rhythm woven into the mix, gets people up and dancing. New Monsoon’s live energy is unparalleled and the sound flows relentlessly upbeat, all the while maintaining an irresistible groove. A New Monsoon concert is about pushing the positive, and connecting with the audience and music, bringing live music fans back for more and more.
2004 was a monumental year for New Monsoon. They began the year being awarded Jambase.com’s 2003 Emerging Artist of the Year and went on to perform at major music festivals and venues including Bonnaroo, Oregon Country Fair, the Austin City Limits Festival, Magnolia Festival, Red Rocks Amphitheater and The Fillmore. New Monsoon’s performance at the legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival where they wowed the festival audience of music lovers from all around the world with their unique blend of Indian and Latin rhythms, bluegrass and rock was captured and is now available on CD.
“New Monsoon Live at The Telluride Bluegrass Festival” is an energetic, challenging recording that encompasses the band’s free spirited, yet musically focused, approach to their music.
In 2005, New Monsoon continued its ascent, with a another heavy schedule of shows, that included a slot on the Big Summer Classic, along with String Cheese Incident, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Umphrey’s McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Keller Williams. The tour had stops at places like Red Rocks Ampitheatre, Summerfest, All Good Fest, and Prospect Park. In September, New Monsoon released its third studio album, The Sound, through Harmonized Records. Michael Shrieve, Santana’s original drummer and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, produced the album, along with Paul Kimble (Grant Lee Buffalo). Shrieve’s deep history in the world of percussion and big band rock, as well as Kimble’s acute knowledge of songcrafting, helped take the band to new levels.
The band picked up right where they left off in 2006, rocking the high seas on Jamcruise in early January that included a very special collaboration between New Monsoon and Steve Kimock. New Monsoon and Steve Kimock went on to do more shows in 2006, including a 3 night sold out run in SF, and a stellar set at Harmony Fest, all of which have now been released for digital download through Nugs.net and DSBD.net. Other highlights from 2006 include touring for two weeks with Hot Buttered Rum. The tour was a huge success and played to packed houses everywhere, culminating in a special hometown show at the legendary Fillmore in San Francisco, where over 1100 people attended.