Diamond Fist Werny

In 1989, Todd Werny moved across the country from Delaware to Seattle, with the specific intent of starting a band. He had no idea that Grunge would soon make Seattle the nation's rock Mecca. It just struck him as a city that could find room to support his musical ambitions.

Within the year he met Axel Mundi, a bass clarinetist who had recently recorded a one-note meditational study called Slow Gong. They put together a couple songs, then, looking for a drummer who wasn't a big "Seattle rock" drummer, called back Tim Soba, who had jammed with Werny once after meeting through "Musicians Wanted" ads.

Just at that time, the Northwest Sound that became known as Grunge began to make Seattle the music capital of the world. Soon, the Seattle club scene was inundated with Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Alice in Chains clones. "We played with so many bands," recalls Werny, "most of them sounding like Pearl Jam. It was like a gold rush; everyone was trying to cash in on that sound.

"We could get shows because all the bands sounded the same, but we stood out by being unique. We knew that there were people interested in something new, refreshing, different. That was our goal from the start: to be true to an artistic approach, to sound different. It's hard to objectively judge whether we've succeeded in that, but at least it was our intent."

According to their 1992 calendar, the band played almost 50 shows in clubs and cafes, developing a sizable following. Incorporating visuals into their shows, they worked with artists Cully & Hawks, Julius Brown, and Stray Voltage, making a Diamond Fist Werny performance a multi-media experience.

After releasing two self-produced tapes, a 7" single on Igloo Records, and appearing on several compilations, they signed with start-up label Rudy Records to record their first full-length album. Werny's vocal style, combined with his own guitar and the stylings and tonalities of Mundi's bass clarinet, created a decidedly Eastern mood. Yet it is energetic, solid rock. Werny's crunching guitar and Soba's powerful rhythms keep barreling forward, but can change on a dime into a mellow, insistent beat—then back again to something that can whirl a dervish. Released in the fall of 1994 and received well by college radio stations, Diamond Fist Werny was very representative of their live sound.

As they continued to play live shows, larger labels frequently expressed interest, but nothing ever came through. Two years later, they felt it was time to record a second album, but were also starting to feel a bit stagnant as a three-piece. Todd wanted to add an electronica element, possibly even a bass player, and they decided to invite Rudy co-founder Kevin Tone to join on bass guitar. The next year was spent incorporating him into the band and recording the new album, Enchanted Parkway, in his studio. This was released on Rudy in 1998.

The quartet performed live shows for another year or so. Then Axel Mundi decided to leave the group.
Werny, Soba, and Tone continued to perform, and in 2000 they released Long View To The Sky, which consisted of remixes of a number of earlier tracks, done by invited DJs, as well as several new songs.

The band became inactive a year or so later.

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