STORY WRITTEN BY GARY GRAFF
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Kongos scored its first big hit two years ago with “Come With Me Now” — and that’s exactly what fans have been doing ever since.
The band of brothers from Arizona — who spent their early childhoods in England and South Africa — has released three albums, including this year’s “Egomaniac,” and kept the hit parade coming with songs such as “I Want To Know” and “Take It From Me.” Its songs have also become staples in video games and movies such as “Holy Motors,” while the WWE used “Come With Me Now” as the them song for 2014’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view event.
“Egomaniac” has the four Kongos back on the road, where singer-keyboardist-accordionist Johnny Kongos says the group will likely be for the foreseeable future…
• “Egomaniac” was actually in motion before “Come With Me Now” prolonged the cycle for its predecessor, “Lunatic.” “We started writing this before the ‘Lunatic’ cycle started in America,” Kongos — the oldest brother at 35 — says by phone from Fargo, N.D. “We’d kind of reach a point with ‘Lunatic’ where we started to think to ourselves, ‘It’s time to move on. Let’s write some new material,’ and in the middle of that ‘Come With Me Now’ blew up, so we had to take that and run with it as long as we could, which interrupted the final recording of ‘Egomaniac.’ But we weren’t complaining.”
• “Egomaniac’s” songs explore a loose theme of “egomania, narcissism in all its facets and stations,” according to Kongos, some of which was spurred by the wake of the group’s own blush with success. “That definitely played into it,” he acknowledges. “It’s not a true concept album, but it definitely has a cohesive theme. That was our first brush with having big crowds and dealing with that, although still on a small scale. I think it’s a little more about how everything and every aspect of life, particularly in this period, is consumed with egomaniac. Every one of us is on our phones all day long, begging for acknowledgement from the world — even political leaders and all that. But we didn’t want to focus it on just the obvious ones. Obviously it’s easy to go after (Donald) Trump or Kanye West, but what we found interesting was how it’s apparent in every part of life.”
• The Kongos range in age from 28-35, and they’ve managed to get along better than, say, the Gallaghers of Oasis or the Robinsons of the Black Crowes. “I think we have all the typical (stuff) that goes along with being siblings,” Kongos says. “But when it come sot the music we manage to keep it separate. I feel fairly confident it never interferes with the core product we’re all working towards. We’ve been together our whole lives, obviously. We’ve learned how to deal with that (stuff) and learned how to deal with our own ego and our brothers’ egos. We understand how they work and move on quickly from any of that (stuff).”