Fungo Mungo was formed in 1988 by Mike Johnson on guitar; Jeff Gomes on drums; Damon Ramirez on keyboards; Damion Gallegos taking the helm as front man/vocalist for the first time; and Kevin Silva on bass who would later be replaced by Arion “thumpy” Salazer in 1989. Fungo Mungo signed to Island Records by Chris Blackwell in 1991, releasing Humungous to college radio and nation airwaves in 1992. The band’s first recordings, luckily enough, were produced by Matt Winegar (Primus: Suck on This, Sailing the Seas of Cheese; Spent Poets: self titled debut and Steve; Slider: Fremont.) In 1989, Fungo Mungo released their self titled debut, produced by Matt Winegar to critical acclaim and college radio airplay. Their legendary live shows alongside Bay Area peers: Primus, Mr. Bungle, Limbomaniacs, Psychofunkapus, Deli Creeps… created a musical movement dubbed, “thrash funk”, making them victors of this major label signing flurry which included: Primus, Psychofunkapus, Fungo Mungo, and platinum artist Faith No More.
Along with Primus, Mr. Bungle, Psychofunkapus, and the Limbomaniacs, Fungo Mungo became one of the most successful bands out of the San Francisco Bay Area’s emerging thrash funk scene in the late 80′s/early 1990′s. With Salazar, the new line-up recorded Humungous in 1992. The album brought the band a new level of commercial success and they found themselves amongst the sudden popularity and attention given to the bay area thrash funk music scene; and one of the few bands from the scene signed with a major label contract.
Humungous included the singles “Downtown Oakland”, “Do You Believe in God?”, “Sold Your Soul”, and “Shut The Fuck Up”. The songs gained considerable airtime on college and commercial radio stations, the video for “Do You Believe in God?” debuted on MTV’s head bangers ball and was the most requested song on “The Box” locally for the entire year of 1992. The band’s combination of raw energy rap, rock, and funk were too ahead of their time and hard to market, even so, Humungous broke the charts in Australia and American college radio. Vincent Jefferies of All Music Guide wrote, “Fungo Mungo delivers tightly-wrapped funk modeled after the genre’s best practitioners. Instead of the kinetic locker-room edge of funk-rock superstars Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fungo Mungo had the talent and desire to move booties with their Prince and Funkadelic inflections. Besides the rock instrumentation, the disc includes plenty of horns in its mix, keeping the soul flow in affect as the band glides through their loosely arranged jams. Highlight cuts include the Sign O’ the Times mimicking “Hype is Stupid” and the rolling riffage of “Sex Sells” that suggests fellow Bay Area mega-talents Primus. Humongous has the all the energy and musicianship needed to inspire open-minded funk fans of any generation.
Ahead of their time, their sound was difficult to market in the pre-urban crossover music arena, even with touring colleges across the states over the next few years, alongside Island label mates: Disposable Heroes of Hypocrisy, Michael Franti, and platinum artists No Doubt, the band was dropped by their label in 1996. Bassist Arion Salazer would soon join Third Eye Blind and drummer Jeff Gomes made his way with guitar legend MIRV. Damon Ramirez and Mike Johnson also had a short lived band named, The Chums.
In late 2009, Fungo Mungo reunited with new member Craig McFarland (Mirv, Ronnie Mantros, The Gamma) on bass, for a sling of benefit shows which began at the Hollywood Avalon ballroom for Chi of the Deftones in November of 2009. Founding members Jeff Gnomes, Mike Johnson, Damon Ramirez, and Damion Gallegos are thrilled to be back in the limelight playing their standards: ”Downtown Oakland”, “Brothers and Sisters”, and “Do You Believe in God”?
Staying true to their roots in the funk genre while being older and wiser in the music they are creating now, Damion is happy to have Fungo Mungo on his label, Feeb Records. “It’s always been a dream of mine to have my first, original band on my own label…and to get these guys back in the studio doing what they do best, writing high powered funk music for live shows. We’re trying to capture our live energy in these next recordings.” marked Damion.