Sacramento good time band Mondo Deco still knows how to party

With acoustic sets, touring plans and a new record in the works, Sacramento’s feel-good band gets serious

<p><b>Mondo Deco: this band means business. Mostly.</b></p>

Mondo Deco: this band means business. Mostly.


Mondo Deco performs at 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 8, at Blue Lamp, 1414 Alhambra Boulevard. Tickets are $4 or free with a donation of two canned food items. For more, visit

“Rock ’n’ roll party” is perhaps the best way to describe the kind of shows local quartet Mondo Deco put on during its early gigs. Back then, the group sported flashy outfits, used glitzy lighting and backup dancers, and even held up banners with lyrics to make their sure the choruses to their songs turned into big group singalongs. Because they didn’t play many gigs, the band wanted to make sure each show was a big event with a style akin to the likes of the early ’70s flamboyant glam-rock artists such as David Bowie, T. Rex and Sweet.

“We had a very unified vision of what we wanted to do—this trashy, classy thing, an up-tempo danceable feel with a strong sense of songwriting and melody structure,” says singer-guitarist Jeremy Greene. “[But] we [also] had other bands, so this was our party band.”

Now Mondo Deco, which performs November 8 at the Blue Lamp, is trying to figure out what to do once the party is over.

Things have changed, you see. The band still plays rock ’n’ roll, but it’s not strictly all good times anymore. The music, too, goes way beyond earlier influences.

“As modern songwriters we’re lucky because we have so much to pick and choose from [when it comes to genres],” Greene says. “You can re-invent the wheel as often as possible: proto-punk, glam, ’60s jangly rock stuff—even now stoner rock and modern garage is fucking killer.”

Such sounds have found their way into Mondo Deco’s current style. But those aren’t the only changes. Over the years Mondo Deco, which formed as a side project in 2010, graduated to everyone’s focus—at least for a while. For a time, the musicians played regularly and even released a full-length album and a handful of EPs.

Then, in the last year, the group’s dynamic changed again. Even as Greene and singer-guitarist Kolton James started to think about finding a way to make Mondo Deco their primary source of income via album sales and touring, drummer Billy Ewing and bassist Steve Robinson pulled back to focus on school and other career paths. There’s no intra-band discord, but now James and Greene must figure out how to advance Mondo Deco.

The pair has played a few shows as an acoustic duo under the Mondo Deco moniker—a setup that’s a far cry from those early, flashy party nights. The arrangement, Greene says, isn’t necessarily how they intend to play future shows, it’s just about keeping options open.

“If anything, it’s a way for us to kind of test the waters, experiment with new gear that didn’t always seem appropriate for a rock show,” James says.

Songwriting is different, too. In the early days the group tackled the creative process as a whole. Now Greene and James handle the vast majority, a process that means trying to balance crafting songs with more substance—but still keeping it all fun.

“It’s still got a rock ’n’ roll backbone for sure, [but] we’re trying a lot more mid-tempo grooves than just full steam ahead,” James says. “If you’re concentrating on the party band stuff, it can eat into the time you have for developing songs, trying to come up with a cohesive sounding album.”

The group currently has enough material for a new album—and has even recorded a few tracks—but its still weighing options on how to release a record and take them to the stage—the band’s ever-changing size can make booking regular shows and touring difficult. Which just means that if Greene and James want to make Mondo Deco their focus they’ll need to scale down and play as a duo more often—or enlist the help of others.

Right now, the answer is unclear, Greene says, but they’ve got momentum.

“We’re trying to build off of what we’ve been doing the past four-to-five years,” he says. “[We want to] gear it in the direction of being able to play two-to-three hour sets, be the sole entertainment for the night on the road.”