Jonny Mogambo releases new CD |

Jonny Mogambo releases new CD

Kimberly Nicoletti

SUMMIT COUNTY – What do Ozzy Osbourne, The Police and the Beverly Hillbillies have in common?

Everything when Jonny Mogambo plays. His acoustic solo performances blend a variety of styles into a large parody, and his gigs with his three-piece band turn the scene into a huge party.

“It’s good party music,” Mogambo said. “It’s not just a cerebral experience. It’s a physical thing. People get out and boogie.”

This weekend Mogambo plays in Keystone and Copper Mountain with his band, promoting his new CD titled “Wired and Unplugged.”

“(On the CD), I touch on some tunes centered around a newborn – I have a new kid – urban sprawl, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, a couple tunes about sailing and windsurfing, being on the road, people that have died who I loved, and everything else is just about sex,” he said.

The CD is an eclectic mix of funk, rock, rhythm-and-blues, reggae, Latin, folk and bluegrass rhythms. As if the CD doesn’t range enough in style, Mogambo also performs tunes acoustically and electrically. Hard rocking songs, such as “Mo Gator,” “Touch of You” and “Made in the UK” join crazy apres-ski, solo acoustic hits, such as “Jerky and Skoal (It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore)” and “El Nino.”

“In our originals, you can hear everything from funk to rock ‘n’ roll to rhythm-and-blues to influences of bluegrass, jazz, ska and reggae,” he said.

The Chicagoland-born musician grew up in a musical family, with a mother who sang on Broadway and a grandmother who was one of the first radio singers in “The Breakfast Club,” a show based out of Chicago and later syndicated. He moved to Boulder about 12 years ago and graduated from the University of Colorado, playing in bands such as Loaded Dice and Net King before forming the Jonny Mogambo Band.

The biggest obstacle in his music career has been cycling through 12 musicians in the last 10 years.

“It takes a band about a year to a year-and-a-half to gel,” he said. “When someone would leave the band, we’d have to start all over again.”

To deal with the turnover, he began to play more solo gigs, learning 300 more tunes and gaining a better understanding of different musical styles.

“Now when we get together with the band, we play 80-90 gigs a year instead of 200, so it’s almost more special,” he said. “The band shows something completely different (than acoustic shows). It’s rock-funk oriented. It’s definitely more powerful. We do a lot of stuff where we play tunes, then we go into a jam, and you’ll see a bass solo or a drum solo set that really adds to the show.”

Drummer Kyle Comerford and six-string bass guitarist Jesse Lucas bring a funky, hard-driving beat to Mogambo’s guitar and lead vocals.

The Jonny Mogambo Band plays from 5-7 p.m. today at the Burning Stones Plaza in Copper Mountain and at 9:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the Snake River Saloon in Keystone. For more information on the band, visit

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