Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
All of you are very familiar with the guy who drums and is one half of the vocal output of Davenport, Iowa-based band Mondo Drag. Johnnie Cluney is the fellow who has penned and inked every single Daytrotter session illustration since we started the site in 2006 - all 840-some of them to this day. You've woken up to his lines and his distinct style - the hearts fluttering out of singers' mouths, the rainbow shadows and the empty speech bubbles - allowing everyone to interpret the music of their own accord. You're intimate with his colors and we're intimate with the costly cost of those markers that he uses. He's part of the family and it's with pride that Mondo Drag is featured today - as the first band currently living in the Quad-Cities area to earn a spot alongside all of the other great artists that have visited the Horseshack. It's a band that is presented here in no way because Johnnie sits right beside us every day as we say the dumbest garbage, make coffee runs and take great pains to assure that our guests are comfortable. It's a band that's done it all on its own - securing a record deal with Alive Records and just recently releasing its stellar sophomore album "New Rituals," a record that will make you cross-eyed with all of its blistering psychedelia and its weed-smoky blinds. Mondo Drag (consisting of Cluney, vocalist/guitarist Nolan Girard, guitarist Jake Sheley, bassist Dennis Hockaday and keyboardist John Gamino) seems to always have us out in a hot and hungry desert, stripped of our sanity, drained of our better senses and swirling in a purple-y groove, just trying to start seeing straight again. It's partly a freakout and partly something we ingested or smoked, bringing on the sensations willingly - feeling disjointed and paranoid, spinning in circles. We hear wolves crying, "KILL," in the twilight, off in the distance. We never cease to feel the heat burning through us and we're starting to think that the cactuses and the abandoned steer skulls resting in the sand are trying to speak to us. These are all hallucinations working on us, spreading over us like streaky moonlight and a bad trip. Actually, it's more like a good trip because this one won't leave you sleeping with chickens, chewing your pillows as if they were made of breasts or meatloaf or wearing pantyhose, lipstick and nothing else. It's a trip that you would like never to end, to just keep roiling and rolling, tumbling - heating up, melting, slowing down, idling and then blasting again on all cylinders. "New Rituals" is an album that will bring you to that place that you're always hoping to get to on a night when you're hitting the town, trying to cut loose and pretend as if you're not just out there trying to make ends meet, but are actually as satisfied and well off as you need to be, simply because you're feeling like THIS. It's all tingly and throbbing and LOUD and we're happy to drown in this syrup.
Mondo Drag MySpace Page