San Diego

The Mighty Jungle Fire

Jungle Fire's Steve Haney talks about the past, present, and possible future

Los Angeles-based Jungle Fire is on fire. They’re hot! Spicy hot -- like a cayenne pepper sandwich fresh from the oven.

The 10-piece, Afro-Cuban funk ensemble of Latin descent will squeeze onto the Casbah stage March 18 and will be celebrating the first of three record-release shows in support of their latest album, “Jambu.”

I spoke with band percussionist (and San Diego native) Steve Haney over the phone about the new record and keeping a band of 10 together.

“Surprisingly enough, it’s a band where everybody really gets along with each other. It’s unbelievable!” said Haney. “Everyone really digs the music, and we just make it happen. It's a democracy in the group, so we all put in our two cents.”

The band’s sound is as big as its lineup. Besides the traditional sounds of bass, guitar and drums, you'll hear congas, horns, bongos, and flutes. They have a groovy, retro sound that you just don’t hear anymore -- it could be the musical score to '70s adult films.

“It definitely could fit into some scenes,” Haney said laughing.

The conversation eventually turned to the progress of the band’s five-year timeline. Beginning as the side-project of bassist Joey Reina, to eventually touring Europe before ever releasing an album, to now -- as an established band with two full-length albums. Although when our conversation was diverted by Haney’s 3-year-old son in the background, I had to ask if his kiddo was following in dad’s footsteps.

“Oh, I don’t know. With kids, you never know what their heart desires until they get to a certain age -- but I got him a drum set for his birthday. So he is going to be breaking that open next week. Let him drive my wife nuts.”

Looks like Jungle Fire may have found an 11th member.

Jungle Fire headline the Casbah on March 18 with Krass Bros. and DJ SK opening. Tickets are available online here.

Musician, people-pleaser, lover, fighter and writer Matthew Craig Burke has been spewing musical words of wisdom since never. He lives off of peanut butter sandwiches, beer and Beck Hansen. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.

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