I was talking to KEXP engineer extraordinaire Kevin Suggs the other day, and the band Diamond Fist Werny came up in conversation. Having moved to Seattle in 2001, well after their heyday, I had never even heard the name, but apparently they were a pretty big deal around here in the ’90s, doing their own thing in the midst of the grunge explosion. Their own thing consisted of Todd Werny on lead vocals and guitar, Tim Soba on drums, and Axel Mundi on bass clarinet, with live visual displays from Julius Brown. With a lineup like that I knew I had to hear these guys, and I hoped there would be a record or CD in the KEXP stacks to post on the blog.
Diamond Fist Werny (written some places as Diamond-Fist Werny) is a hard band to track down information on and there’s not a lot of their music floating around out there, but Youtube user d1n6bat has done us all a huge service and posted a bunch of their music (here’s “The Man Who Lost His Dreams” to get you started). It’s great to have the music available to hear, but these videos also act as a magnet for wonderful comments from DFW fans, such as “I saw these guys play with the Posies at the Evergreen State College in ’94? I’ll never forget that the singer was wearing a belly shirt made of carpet. It was also the first time I ever smoked out of a bong”; “I used talk with Axle a lot after the shows. He is truly a genuine being. The trance the crowd would go into during this song was stunning. The sound out of the PDX/Seattle underground was like a 747 passing through your heart chakra headed straight for your third eye!”; and “i saw this band in seattle in ’93. i never forgot them or their incense.”
The more I read and hear the more bummed I am that I was too late to witness Diamond Fist Werny for myself, but we can at least take this moment to remember them.
“Debut from this local Seattle trio. Interesting textures of guitar, soprano sax, bass clarinet mixed with acoustic + electric percussion. Try 1 (new version) 2, 3, 4, & 6 - A.K.A. ‘The Sandman.’”
“I think I’m getting tired of this . . .”
“That’s because it’s an EP!! Good effort, esp. 1, 2 + 6. Lead singer is Native American - you can really hear the influence in the rhythm, melodies + occasionally lyrics. We need more Native American music here, where we claim we play ‘A World of Difference’ . . .”