Diego's Umbrella

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Diego's Umbrella
Origin San Francisco, California, United States
Genres Gypsy rock, punk
Years active 2001-present
Labels Ninth Street Opus
Website www.diegosumbrella.com
Members Tyson Maulhardt (electric guitar/vocals)
Vaughn Lindstrom (acoustic guitar, vocals)
Ben Leon (vocals, electric guitar, percussion)
Red Cup (bass)
Jason Kleinberg (violin, vocals, accordion)
Jake Wood (drums)

Diego's Umbrella is an American gypsy rock band consisting six male members from San Francisco, California, celebrated as San Francisco's Ambassadors of Gypsy Rock. [1] The members of the group include Tyson Maulhardt a.k.a. the Facehorn, Vaughn Lindstrom a.k.a. the Juergistador, Jason Kleinborg a.k.a. the Gypsy, Benjamin Leon a.k.a. the Token Ecuadorian, Jake Wood a.k.a. the Samurai, and Red Cup a.k.a. the Animal.

Diego's Umbrella describes their own music as "a blend of eastern European gypsy traditional stuff, Spanish flamenco, polka/ska rhythms, and good ol' pop and rock from the west. It sounds schizo to describe it, but it all comes together as dance music. It's a show for getting drunk, sweaty and making bad decisions."[2] Their matching outfits are homemade, and they are known to perform shows without set lists.[3]


The seed for Diego's Umbrella was planted by Tyson Maulhardt and Vaughn Lindstrom in 2001, who released a few albums on their own, until and the band slowly grew with the additions of violinist Jason Kleinberg, bassist Kevin Blair, singer Benjamin Leon and drummer Jake Wood, and they created the signature "gypsy pirate polka" sound they are now known for.[4] Benjamin Leon, in an interview explained their beginnings: "I’ve been playing music since I was about 6 years old, from piano to drums, and then later I picked up guitar and started singing. I’ve known Tyson and Vaughn for about ten years, but I was playing in my own group in Los Angeles for most of that time. They knew I was burning out in LA so they kidnapped me at a Pinkberry in 2008 and we’ve been riding around in a van together ever since."[5] Their quirky namesake comes from a friend's arm tattoo.[6]

The troupe has released 4 albums: Kung Fu Palace, Viva La Juerga, Double Panther, and Proper Cowboy.[7] In the summer of 2011, they released Richardson b/w Downtown EP on Ninth Street Opus in conjunction with their first appearance at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival.[8] They have also played at the High Sierra Music Festival,[9]Musikfest,[10] SXSW,[11] and have played over 800 live shows.[6] They have opened for notable acts such as Dengue Fever.[12]

Several DU songs were also featured in the X-Dance-award-winning documentary Sofia, the Quiksilver/Roxy surf DVD Shimmer, as well as CBS’ Elimination Station. Diego’s Umbrella also performs three songs in the Lionsgate comedy Still Waiting....[6]

The band has been likened to “Gogol Bordello meets Muse” by the Associated Press. Newsreview says, “With guitars straight out of a Tarantino movie, the group seamlessly blends mariachi, gypsy, flamenco and ska into one beer-soaked fiesta, with song topics varying from heartache to revolution.” [13]

In an interview with Metrojolt at Outside Lands they spoke openly about Jason Kleinberg as the last living unicorn, Laura Bush's kinky disposition, their drug preferences, cultural influences, rumors, and how 2 million fans might just be wrong about Diego’s Umbrella’s heterosexuality. Tyson Maulhardt spoke of their very mixed cultural influences, saying "We’ve done a lot of traveling in Eastern Europe and we’ve traveled throughout Spain and what not. So we’ve picked up a lot of stuff along the way and incorporated it into our Gringo-esque sort of producing of rock music, with a tinge of the music we’ve picked up along the way."[14]

Proper Cowboy[edit]

Diego's Umbrella's fourth album, Proper Cowboy, released in July 2012, marks their first time collaboration with San Francisco producers The Rondo Brothers (MC Lars, Foster the People), as well as their second release under the Ninth Street Opus record label. The union has resulted in a new spin on the familiar sound that has been referred to as a "futuristic Spaghetti-Western soundtrack" that features a cover of 1972 Sonny and Cher song, "A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done." Additionally, "Bulletproof Shine" marks a collaboration with Angelo Moore (leader of Fishbone), who adds his pipe and theremin to the track.[15]

Julia R. DeStefano of Performer Magazine says of the album that it "easily places them in the ‘best kept secret-turned next big thing’ category." [16] Fun Fun Fun Media called them "San Francisco’s rising stars Diego’s Umbrella is like Gogol Bordello meets Queen." [17]

Their tour for the Proper Cowboy album featured them and Vokab Kompany, a San Diego band.[18]



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