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New Manganista single inspired by lucid out-of-body experiences

“Why didn’t I think to write a song about this before?”

Manganista: exploring the absurdity of being human.
Manganista: exploring the absurdity of being human.

Ever wondered how to leave your body? According to Matt Rhea, frontman for Manganista, all it takes is a dark room, a comfortable bed, and the liberal sampling of a popular nasal decongestant. Years ago, relates Rhea, “I was taking Benadryl nightly to help with insomnia, and every time I would stop taking it for a while, I would get these out-of-body experiences for about a week or so before falling asleep. They felt like something between being awake and a dream state, but probably leaned more towards the being awake side.”

Rhea was aware of what was happening, but felt “this extreme state of relaxation. You start to feel a buzzing sensation throughout your body and it feels like you can’t move. It takes a real concerted effort to break out of it and move your limbs again. But if you give in to the feeling and let it do its thing, you start to feel like you’re rising out of your body, towards the ceiling and even beyond. It was similar to one of those lucid dreams where you suddenly realize you’re dreaming but you’re still able to continue the dream state. You want to try as much crazy shit as you can before you wake up.”

That experience factors into Manganista’s new single, “Angeline” (b/w “Human Being”). Rhea threw in a little poetic license, imagining an angel dubbed Angeline joining him in his midnight frolics. He wrote lyrics, the band added music, and hey presto, they had their new A-side. On the flipside, “Human Being” consists mostly of Rhea’s rejection of humans, or anything he can understand as humans. He happened to be watching coverage of the Ukraine war when the inspiration-as-alienation hit, but he admits, “I constantly feel more like an observer of humans than a participant. It’s like I’m living in the longest episode of Seinfeld in the history of the world. I’ve felt that disconnection from other events in the news before, but more often, it’s the little mundane things that make up our day that get me noticing the absurdity of being human. Ideas for songs are weird. Sometimes it just hits you out of nowhere, and you’re like, ‘Why didn’t I think to write a song about this before?’”

A San Diego native in a band made up entirely of lifelong locals, Rhea grew up mostly in La Mesa but clocked time with his grandparents in City Heights. “Different parts of town seem to have a certain feeling based on familiarity. Kind of like learning a new skill. In the beginning, it’s awkward and feels foreign, but eventually, it becomes a part of you. My grandfather owned the 7 Seas Locker Club downtown on Broadway. The city seemed so intimidating and exotic in comparison to La Mesa. Now, it’s just where I go see Padres games.”

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The band name? “We used to be called Scaramanga, named after Christopher Lee’s character in The Man With The Golden Gun. For some reason, we thought we needed to change our name when Dusty [Norberg, drummer] joined the band, and our bass player at the time came up with Manganista. It’s a combination of the ‘manga’ part of ‘Scaramanga’ and ‘Sandinista’ from the Clash album. I kind of liked it, because it was a made-up word and didn’t mean anything. No baggage.”

Selected highlights from past gigs include “playing the Pride festival in Balboa Park with A Flock of Seagulls. The singer looked at our six-foot marimba and said, ‘You know, they make keyboards that do that.’ Getting asked to play ‘Rock the Casbah’ at a Clash tribute show at the Casbah put together by Adam Gimbel. Some drunk lady at Pete’s Place yelling out during our set, ‘What’s the deal with this cruise ship music?’ A show with Deal’s Gone Bad at UCSD where the PA and lights were supposed to be powered by people pedaling stationary bicycles. It didn’t work.”

Upcoming Event

Kavana, Manganista, The Psychlops

  • Saturday, March 2, 2024, 6 p.m.
  • Humble Heart, 4873 Newport Avenue, San Diego
  • Age Limit: All ages / $8 - $10

More

The band plans to re-work the two new songs into ska, reggae, and dub versions, but has alrady posted videos for the original versions. Rhea directs, smushing together online clips in the public domain, but also including flashes of Frankenstein, Duck Soup, and a dude with werewolf fangs who is definitely not Michael Jackson, prancing around in Michael Jackson’s red leather jacket. “The Thriller ripoff is a spoof from Donga, an ‘80s Indian film,” confesses Rhea. “YouTube it. You won’t be disappointed.” The band’s upcoming outings include March 2 at Humble Heart in OB.

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Manganista: exploring the absurdity of being human.
Manganista: exploring the absurdity of being human.

Ever wondered how to leave your body? According to Matt Rhea, frontman for Manganista, all it takes is a dark room, a comfortable bed, and the liberal sampling of a popular nasal decongestant. Years ago, relates Rhea, “I was taking Benadryl nightly to help with insomnia, and every time I would stop taking it for a while, I would get these out-of-body experiences for about a week or so before falling asleep. They felt like something between being awake and a dream state, but probably leaned more towards the being awake side.”

Rhea was aware of what was happening, but felt “this extreme state of relaxation. You start to feel a buzzing sensation throughout your body and it feels like you can’t move. It takes a real concerted effort to break out of it and move your limbs again. But if you give in to the feeling and let it do its thing, you start to feel like you’re rising out of your body, towards the ceiling and even beyond. It was similar to one of those lucid dreams where you suddenly realize you’re dreaming but you’re still able to continue the dream state. You want to try as much crazy shit as you can before you wake up.”

That experience factors into Manganista’s new single, “Angeline” (b/w “Human Being”). Rhea threw in a little poetic license, imagining an angel dubbed Angeline joining him in his midnight frolics. He wrote lyrics, the band added music, and hey presto, they had their new A-side. On the flipside, “Human Being” consists mostly of Rhea’s rejection of humans, or anything he can understand as humans. He happened to be watching coverage of the Ukraine war when the inspiration-as-alienation hit, but he admits, “I constantly feel more like an observer of humans than a participant. It’s like I’m living in the longest episode of Seinfeld in the history of the world. I’ve felt that disconnection from other events in the news before, but more often, it’s the little mundane things that make up our day that get me noticing the absurdity of being human. Ideas for songs are weird. Sometimes it just hits you out of nowhere, and you’re like, ‘Why didn’t I think to write a song about this before?’”

A San Diego native in a band made up entirely of lifelong locals, Rhea grew up mostly in La Mesa but clocked time with his grandparents in City Heights. “Different parts of town seem to have a certain feeling based on familiarity. Kind of like learning a new skill. In the beginning, it’s awkward and feels foreign, but eventually, it becomes a part of you. My grandfather owned the 7 Seas Locker Club downtown on Broadway. The city seemed so intimidating and exotic in comparison to La Mesa. Now, it’s just where I go see Padres games.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

The band name? “We used to be called Scaramanga, named after Christopher Lee’s character in The Man With The Golden Gun. For some reason, we thought we needed to change our name when Dusty [Norberg, drummer] joined the band, and our bass player at the time came up with Manganista. It’s a combination of the ‘manga’ part of ‘Scaramanga’ and ‘Sandinista’ from the Clash album. I kind of liked it, because it was a made-up word and didn’t mean anything. No baggage.”

Selected highlights from past gigs include “playing the Pride festival in Balboa Park with A Flock of Seagulls. The singer looked at our six-foot marimba and said, ‘You know, they make keyboards that do that.’ Getting asked to play ‘Rock the Casbah’ at a Clash tribute show at the Casbah put together by Adam Gimbel. Some drunk lady at Pete’s Place yelling out during our set, ‘What’s the deal with this cruise ship music?’ A show with Deal’s Gone Bad at UCSD where the PA and lights were supposed to be powered by people pedaling stationary bicycles. It didn’t work.”

Upcoming Event

Kavana, Manganista, The Psychlops

  • Saturday, March 2, 2024, 6 p.m.
  • Humble Heart, 4873 Newport Avenue, San Diego
  • Age Limit: All ages / $8 - $10

More

The band plans to re-work the two new songs into ska, reggae, and dub versions, but has alrady posted videos for the original versions. Rhea directs, smushing together online clips in the public domain, but also including flashes of Frankenstein, Duck Soup, and a dude with werewolf fangs who is definitely not Michael Jackson, prancing around in Michael Jackson’s red leather jacket. “The Thriller ripoff is a spoof from Donga, an ‘80s Indian film,” confesses Rhea. “YouTube it. You won’t be disappointed.” The band’s upcoming outings include March 2 at Humble Heart in OB.

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The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

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