After a decade of radio silence, three old friends decided to pick up their instruments and make music together again. While outside, an ongoing pandemic, rising social injustice and endless political brawling have occupied the world writ large. A required shift from art to activism…or even an individual’s departure from society has dealt a gigantic blow to live music’s midsection. Agoraphobic audiences and empty venues have left musicians with fewer outlets for their craft. So, when Kimono Draggin’ decided to reform amidst the sociopolitical heat of 2020, it posed several crucial questions. Is the timing right for a comeback? Are they still relevant? Can the world be a better place with them? Well, maybe. But there is one imperative question which may still cling to the mind of the listener…who is Kimono Draggin’?

If you ask them directly, they will simply explain that she is an 800+ year old martial arts master who exists on the astral plane and advises their band on how to save the world. But the band’s closest friends and fans (a.k.a. Draggin’s) would probably just say that they are 3 weird dudes who play crazy music. But, again, who really is Kimono Draggin’? Such a simple inquiry, yet, one which requires the context of time to accompany it. You must, instead, ask who they are during the specific year, month or day in question. Otherwise, the contrasting answers from various listeners will only disorient you further. And even after compiling all of the collective answers, you still could not truly understand Kimono Draggin’ unless you have witnessed their performance firsthand. 

On stage, Joe Nolan scratches feverishly at his guitar while drawing listeners away from their mundane musings and into an auditory journey through the sown fragments of his own psyche. Chief devotees, Joshua Hatton and Chris Swirski drive the progression of Nolan’s vision through a layered foundation of chest-pounding rhythm. Verse after subliminal verse, their melodies leave you bewildered, but with a heightened appreciation for chaos. It’s loud…it’s fast…and it’s crass, but the undeniable calling from deep within beckons you for more of it.

Throughout the early 21st century, the eccentric prog-punk trio posed as crime-fighters, unruly gang members, rejects from outer space, a mob syndicate, and…even in the nude. Ironically, they seem to craft their music in a similar manner; a stream of cacophonous chords and bouncing tempos which appear to have been harmonious from the moment of their inception. The band’s worst fear is to be pigeon-holed into a genre. They counteract this sentiment by confidently dancing across a thin wire between artistic intention and a complete identity crisis.

Is Kimono Draggin’ the embodiment of a musical cult? Not likely. But let us assume the band is fueled by a greater intention than the devil may care aura emitting from their presence. While possibly not cultists, one can clearly see the trio’s motivation to put us under their spell. And they will do it regardless of who is listening because they don’t know any other way.  

–Dr. Gideon Stoneshire, PsyD