Recording for many years for the esteemed independent label Rough Trade, the band gained a reputation as one of the best live bands in the U.S. underground. While their reputation as a live band blossomed, so did their international appeal - gaining an extensive European fanbase that allowed them to tour endlessly across the globe. In their travels, the band performed with a wide range of musicians including Iggy Pop, Mudhoney, Vic Chesnut, Jesus Lizard, Sonic Youth and Soul Asylum, to name a few.
Their D.I.Y lifestyle and devoted fans led to Germany's Rolling Stone magazine calling A Subtle Plague "the Grateful Dead of the '90s" (more of a reflection of the band's communal ethic than musical style). The end of the millennium brought the end of A Subtle Plague and a conscious change in the sound and approach of the music made by the Simmersbachs. Returning to the sounds of the folk and roots music of their youth - the band now found a larger palette in which to take inspiration from. In 2004 the brothers teamed up with drummer Rainer Baumgartner and The Durgas were born. Since then, Alex Czerny has joined on piano, and Katy J Arnovick on bass and vocals, completing the line-up.
When they are not on tour, their homes are in Los Angeles, Budapest, Berlin, and Hawaii respectively. The Durgas are also committed to bringing a unifying musical experience to challenged communities around the world. In 2003 they were the first band to play in Mitrovica, Kosovo since the Balkan wars, as part of the ongoing United Nations peace and reunification initiative. In 2004 they took part in the XV International AIDS/HIV Conference in Bangkok, Thailand and performed in AIDS hospitals and orphanages. In 2007 they toured throughout Asia, playing to children of migrant workers in Mumbai, India, in Sri Lanka to families displaced by the tsunami, in Thailand at the Saphan Jai festival, and for Burmese refugees in camps along the Thai border.
They have witnessed firsthand the profound effects that live performances can bring about in people, across barriers of land and language. Their experiences abroad have led them to start their own foundation, Music In Action (www.musicinactionfoundation.com), which has been supported by U.S. Campaign for Burma, Save the Children UK, German children's foundation WeltKinderLachen, Jack Healey (Human Rights Activist) and Michael Franti of Spearhead. The Durgas' music has been featured on several film soundtracks including Soul Of A Century (International Film and Video Award 2003, Premio EuroDoc 2002 for best European documentary) and Hotel Sahara (currently in theatres). They are also contributing music to two upcoming documentary features: Energy Autonomy - The Code of Survival (theatrical release September 09) and Maomi, a film documenting the life of the Simmersbach family through the eyes of their mother Monica Neven duMont. In January 2008 the Berlin label Cannery Row Records released The Durgas' debut album Back To The Start which was mixed by Boris Wilsdorf (producer of the legendary German band Einstürzende Neubauten) and featured guest musician Chuck Prophet (Green On Red). The Durgas' next album Burma was recorded in Berlin and is awaiting release.
Produced by Noa Winter Lazerus (The Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, Pink Floyd) in Los Angeles and featuring Jim Fairchild (Grandaddy) on two tracks, Burma is a riveting collection of songs which embrace the music of the world in a pure and passionate way. The windswept epic driving force of the title track could only come from a lifetime of taking in the world around them, while paying special attention to those who call Burma their home land. "I am all eyes/the sand/a shift inside" - lyrics that not only signify the group's most pop-oriented song to date, but also allude to the struggle of a nation in transition. Burma was written and performed by voices and talents who have experienced the full range of possibilities of music - from the swaying rock fans in the clubs across Europe to the glowing faces of children in Burmese refugee camps - and now are able to write the sort of unapologetic, defiantly global music that speaks to people across all borders and nationalities. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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