By Patti Pagni

After the band’s van, with attached trailer carrying about $30,000 worth of instruments and equipment, was hot-wired and stolen while at a stop-over in Detroit in 2017, the Mungion (pro: MUNG-yin) band, comprised of three Elmhurst College graduates, didn’t let that sour note stay with them. They took it on the road.

The band’s first-ever month-long headliner national tour kicked off Feb. 8, and is taking the band from Kansas City to Atlanta with nearly 20 stops in between.

“We never found the van, but what can you do?” said York High School and Elmhurst College grad Joe Re, 30, who plays keyboards for Mungion. “And we’ve almost made back what we lost,”

Joining Re on the national tour are his bandmates: bass player Sean Carolan, 28, and drummer Matt Kellan, 26, who are both Elmhurst College grads. All three men participated in the college’s jazz band. Guitarist and lead vocalist Justin Reckamp, 27, rounds out the band.

The name ‘Mungion,’ according to Re, was a “funny word that stuck” when the progressive rock jam band was trying to come up with a name for the band in 2015.

All four musicians take turns writing original songs and, according to the website, “blend a fusion of many elements including rock, jazz, metal, Latin, funk and more.” The band also plays a limited amount of cover songs, but Re says the set selection is really “show-specific.”

Three of the band’s members also rely on teaching music lessons for income, including Re who has a healthy number of students to whom he gives piano lessons. The combination of teaching and playing in the band eats up a lot of time, but Re says it’s all worth it.

“Gigs and touring are a lot of fun, but there is definitely a lot of planning and a lot of time involved,” he said. “We rehearse three times a week. We’ve made good progress every year, and our goal is to be able to sustain ourselves.”

The band’s hard work is paying off; Mungion is booked with gigs and festivals all the way through July. Its last booking was a three-night sold-out show last December at the Tonic Room in Chicago.

After the tour circles the band back to the Midwest, Mungion plans on bringing some good luck to the St. Patrick’s Day circuit when it plays March 16 at Durty Nellies in Palatine.

“We’re hoping to bring out a lot of people,” said Re. “Our fan base has grown every year, and…yeah, it’s a lot of fun.”






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