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Monkey Finger is an acoustic cover band that specializes in Classic Rock from the 60s and 70s, along with some 90s Grunge and Alternative. Consisting of Jay Magdaleno on vocals and acoustic guitar, Emily V on electric violin, and Gino Garcia on vocals, drums and hand percussion, this group takes the level of performance up to new heights from what is normally expected from cover groups. Their ambitious and energetic set-list includes clever renditions of songs we all know and love, delivered with a big sound that really hits the soul. Their unique style offers a new edge and all-around feel. While always staying true to the original songs, they weave in elements of improvisation and experimentation, and use their instruments in unique and innovative ways. The combination of acoustic guitar, violin and a grooving rhythm section resonates deep within their audiences, creating a sound that is capable of encompassing a big range of emotion. Physically, their presence and overall look is electrifying; an added plus for audiences who are tired of watching casual looking run-of-the-mill performers. Live sets will include songs from bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Sones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, and Tom Petty to Pearl Jam, Collective Soul, Sublime, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and much more. You don’t want to miss your chance to see this amazing group in action!
You can often see this group performing as an acoustic duo, featuring Jay and Emily, and/or as a trio including Gino. These two formats provide versatility for different booking preferences, and neither dare disappoint!
Jay Magdaleno’s love for music started early on, listening to anything he could find in his Dad’s heavily laced Classic Rock music collection. He first took an interest in the guitar in junior high when he learned a few of his friends from school had guitars. Around the same time, a classical guitar was given to him by a relative who dabbled with the instrument. Jay began teaching himself melodies by ear, trying to copy what he heard on the radio. But it wasn’t until later in high school, when he got his first electric guitar that he began to take a more serious interest in the instrument, leaning heavily on the recent surge of “Grunge Rock” that had exploded from Seattle. Noticing the Classic Rock influence upon these bands, he began to delve deeper, looking into all the influences of his favorite artists, and their influences as well, inevitably leading him to discover genres within genres being used to cultivate new styles of music.
Following Jimmy Page’s philosophy that guitars are really multifaceted instruments and should be treated as such, Jay began to look for ways to think outside the box, and imitate the sounds of other instruments with the guitar. With a fascination for drums and rhythm, he realized that the acoustic guitar could be used to extract a number of various sounds, timbres, rhythms, and beats, and could also be approached as if it were an electric guitar. Jay loves the idea of the minimal number of musicians creating the maximum amount of sound, and is always exploring ways to effectively arrange and weave challenging songs into the most powerful and convincing performance with the least amount of musicians possible. He believes the combination of the natural sound of the acoustic guitars with unnatural effects, as well as two voices being used harmonically as one instrument, is sufficient to fully capture the entire range of human emotion and experience, and hopes to deliver just that for his audiences.
Influences: Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones (Mick Taylor), Jimi Hendrix, Bert Jansch, Pink Floyd, The Red Hot Chili Peppers (John Frusciante), Otis Redding, Ray Charles, The Who, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, James Brown, The Allman Brothers, Neil Young, The Black Crowes, Al Green, Rush, Alice in Chains, CSN, Stephen Stills, Fleetwood Mac, Nirvana, The Foo Fighters, Chuck Berry, Paul Rodgers, The Doors, and many many more.
Emily V (born Emily Kilimnik) is an American rock n’ roll violinist. Her style is commonly described as a guitarist taking the lead much like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Warren Haynes. Along with Monkey Finger she currently performs with the elite musicians of rock band Crimson Crowbar.
She began playing violin at age eleven and has been an unstoppable force ever since. Awarded a scholarship in Violin Performance, Emily studied Classical music, Theory and Composition, and World Percussion music (African and Brazilian) at Cal State Long Beach. Emily’s love for Rock and Roll, Blues and Folk music began to really show as she would sit in with musicians at venues in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.
Emily has toured with the iconic, world renowned punk band The Adicts and has performed with such names as Walter Trout (The Walter Trout Band, John Mayall, Canned Heat), Willie K, Johnny Avila (Oingo Boingo), David Shelton (Don Felder), Stevie DiStanislao (Crosby, Stills, Nash, David Gilmour, Loggins and Messina), Wade Biery (Joe Cocker, Roger Paltry, Don Felder), Jorgen Carlsson (Gov’t Mule), Travis Warren (Blind Melon), Todd Wolf (Beth Hart), Jimmy Paxson (Stevie Nicks), Mike Malinin (Goo Goo Dolls). Michael Leasure (Walter Trout), Matt Hughes (Warren Haynes).
Gino took up music playing in garage bands when he was 14. “Then once I got a gig and I got paid a couple bucks,” he said. “I liked it ever since.” He has performed in local clubs since then, playing the guitar, drums and other percussion instruments. He had some moments of national fame when he performed in a music video starring longtime friend Louie Cordero, a Newport Beach resident. Cordero led hip hop group Louie Louie, whose video for “Lap of Luxury” made it to the airwaves. Gino went on to become the musical director for Carmelo’s restaurant in Corona Del Mar, and later performed the Las Vegas circuit as a percussionist for about 10 years. His uncanny ability to set up the groove on the drum kit, congas, bongos, and to conjure up eclectic sounds such as gongs, tablas, chimes, and even sitar drones, all while delivering a stimulating and highly energetic visual performance captivates audiences show after show, making him an invaluable addition to the Monkey Finger line-up.
Influences: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Santana, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield The Bar-Kays, Slave, War, Tito Puente, Oscar DeLeon, Pancho Sanchez