Diego’s Umbrella covers just about everything

diegosThere’s usually an encore at a Diego’s Umbrella concert and most inquiries to its band members are answered with a punchline.

So what happens at your concerts?

“People lose their inhibitions,” Tyson Maulhardt said.

“And their contact lenses,” added Ben Leon.

Myriad forms of music — rock, European gypsy, flamenco, polka, Latin, punk -– are shaded by Diego’s Umbrella. That’s how the band was named, right?

Nope. It’s named after a tattoo.

“Back in the day when we released our first demo album we had to put a name on it and we had a lot of really stupid band names on there,” Maulhardt said. “That one, we went out to get some beers and my roommate wrote it down. He has a portrait of Diego Rivera on his bicep. We thought it was perfect at the time.”

And with acclaim and success all across the globe, Diego’s Umbrella has been flexing its muscles ever since.

“Mostly our calf muscles, ironically,” said Leon, who because his heritage is unique to the band is referred to as “the token Ecuadorian.”

Maulhardt is “Facehorn,” because, he said, he “is the talker in the band, a nonstop jabberbox.”

Even though the bassist is named Red Cup, he, too, has a nickname: “the Animal.” Jake Wood is “the Samurai,” so give him space when he marches across the dancefloor with a bass drum. Jason Kleinborg is the gypsy, and Vaughn Lindstrom is “the Juergistador,” although if he’d won a city of San Francisco election he would be known as “the Comptroller.”

While the majority of the video for the song “Moneymaker” from the band’s most recent album “Proper Cowboy” was shot in Las Vegas, part of it was recorded during Diego’s Umbrella’s last performance in the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room. The band has a penchant for humorous videos, and Lindstrom deadpanned a political candidate for comptroller who avoided a would-be assassin with a big, black beard which concealed most of his facehorn.

More than anything else, Diego’s Umbrella is said to play gypsy rock.

“Everything we’ve been named genre-wise has come from somebody else,” Leon said. “Back in the day we used to call it Mexicali-gypsy-polka. Eventually somebody called it gypsy rock and we thought that summed it up quite well. Gypsy has a lot of meaning to it. There is a heavy dose of Bakersfield gypsy.”

Wedding performances helped cultivate the sound.

“It’s been years of appreciating different styles of music around the world and wanting to give it our Californian mix and the fusion aspect,” Maulhardt said.“We take everything we love: punk rock and Latin music and Balkan music, Irish music. We’ve been influenced a lot based on the traveling and the touring. We’ve played some Jewish weddings, some Persian weddings. … We’re authentically unauthentic.”

That last punchline sums it up pretty well.

Diego’s Umbrella

When: 10 p.m. Thursday, April 11

Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room

Cover charge: free

Diego’s Umbrella: “Moneymaker”

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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