The Monstas were spawned from the dark, neon, rain slicked streets of NYC, and the heat, dust, BBQ and weirdness of Austin, Texas. The Monstas music is New American. A big, hot, melting pot of big sky spaghetti western blues, New Orleans funk, and slinky NY Lower East Side rock & soul. Fate and family, mysterious people, and synchronistic events brought together six flat out Monstas on their respective instruments.
Ernie Durawa– Drums
Ernie is the Monstas’ Dr. Frankenstein. A genuine Texas legend, he put the lightning in the beast. Ernie’s resume is a who’s who of Texas music. He’s recorded with Sir Douglas Quintet, Texas Tornados, Delbert McClinton, Merle Haggard, Roky Erikson, and his own Los Jazz Vatos. Our spiritual leader, we’re lucky to have him! Find out all about El Jefe here: www.erniedurawa.com
Brian Mitchell – Vocals, Piano, Hammond B3 Organ, Accordion
Brian is the top guy to call in NYC for all things keys. Just ask Bob Dylan, Al Green, Allen Toussaint or Levon Helm. As well as performing with his own Loisaida Social Club, his list of session and performing credits is staggering. Brian brings scary genius to the Monstas with his distinct smokey vocals, and his songs of love and life in the naked city. Find out all about the Bside here: www.brianmitchellmusic.com
Matt Smith – Vocals, Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Tiple
On any given day, NYC based Matt might be anywhere in the world, performing, teaching, or recording on almost any instrument with strings. From tiny blues clubs, to international guitar festivals, to Carnegie Hall, he’s been there. As well as producing many of his own CDs and instructional books, Matt's played with, opened for, or recorded with Sheryl Crow, BB King, Robben Ford, Trey Anastasio, and the NY Pops. He's a dangerous Monsta with incendiary, soulful playing, singing, and songwriting. Find out more here: www.mattsmithsworld.com
Joe Morales – Vocals, Tenor and Alto Saxophones, Flute, Trumpet
Joe Morales is the musicians’ musician…He has more soul in one little finger than most people have in their whole bodies. When he blows his horn…you can feel it almost to the point of tears! Always in high demand for his versatility, Joe can play any style, and sings directly from the heart. He played on a Grammy record with Flaco Jimenez and Ernie Durawa, who calls him his hero. “Talk To Me Joe!”
Rich Stanmyre – Electric and Upright Bass
A very busy bassist on the Austin music scene, he’s toured and recorded with Miranda Lambert, Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Coco Montoya and many more. Rich has also performed on the Tonight show, the Today Show, and the CMT Country Music Awards show. Our groove Monsta, Rich holds down the low end of the beast!
Aaron Lack – Percussion and Steelpan
Austin’s Aaron Lack is a key component to the Monstas. He lends a sprinkling of deadly percussion, and sinister steelpan drum lines and solos throughout the musical goo that is the Monstas’ sound. Aaron’s impressive resume includes gigs and recordings with Rokka-Tone, The Austin City Brass, Los Jazz Vatos, and many others.