For most bands, touring is something to do between recording albums. But for San Francisco rockers New Monsoon, touring is a chance to see their fans enjoy a good concert.
Ben Bernstein, bass player and newest member of New Monsoon, was kind enough to sit down with me to talk about his band.
“The band started 10 years ago with Bo Carper and Jeff Miller in San Francisco,” he said.
Miller and Carper play lead guitar and acoustic guitar, respectively. New Monsoon also features Phil Ferlino on keyboards, Brian Carey on percussion, Rajiv Parikh on tabla and Marty Ylitalo on drums.
It was Carper who came up with the band’s unique name.
“Bo was living north of San Francisco a couple years ago during El Nino. He had this saying that everyday was a ‘New Monsoon.’ It started as a song name and then just stuck as the band’s name,” Bernstein said.
New Monsoon is not just your basic jam band, mixing every type of world music imaginable.
“The band plays traditional music from India and Brazil, as well as Latin influences,” Bernstein said.
The band was influenced by big names such as Santana, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers.
“I like to think of us as a seven-course meal from around the globe – there’s something for everyone,” Bernstein said.
New Monsoon has shared stages with Keller Williams, Michael Franti, The Allman Brothers and the Hot Buttered Rum String Band, among many others.
In fact, the last time New Monsoon came through the Front Range they played the Aggie Theatre with Hot Buttered Rum.
“Fort Collins is a great college town,” Bernstein said. “We love the Front Range; we always get a great reception here.”
Bernstein added that the band comes through Colorado about three or four times a year.
This time around, New Monsoon is playing with another of its personal heroes, Bill Nershi of String Cheese Incident.
“We like to mix it up on stage with our friends,” Bernstein said. “It is a fun interaction.”
When he plays a concert, Bernstein says he likes to see the crowd excited about the music.
“I love it when people smile and make eye contact,” Bernstein said. “It’s all about the friendly feedback.
“People come out, spend their hard-earned money. You want them to have fun, that’s why we’re there,” he added.
Catch New Monsoon tonight
Playing with Honkeytonk Homeslice and Bill Nershi
Aggie Theatre, doors open at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $12