Today the Venice Paparazzi spotlight shines on The Gumbo Brothers’  Johann Stein

Photo by @mezcalpapii.

How many years in Venice?


Tell us about your music/band:

16 years ago me and three Venice based musicians started a band called The Gumbo Brothers. Myself on guitar and vocals, Gregory Sonnier bass and vocals, Jon McBride saxophone/keyboards, and Reggie Longware on drums.


Our music was always heavily influenced by the music of south Louisiana, especially New Orleans funk . The initial reason for putting the band together was to perform at the after party at our first Venice Beach Mardi Gras Parade. Therefore, our first set was comprised of New Orleans Mardi Gras songs, Cajun songs and other funky dance covers. The following year the band released it’s first EP of original music entitled “Ass Shakin’ Funk,” followed by two full length albums of original music: Funky Freedom in 2006 and On Fire in 2007. Since the beginning, the band has performed relentlessly around town at night clubs, bars and parties. We have performed on the Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Dance Series concert and headlined the Hollywood and Highland Summer Concert.

Original founding members: Jon McBride(original), Reggie Longware (original),Sebastian Leger,Johann Stein (original),Gregory Sonnier (original), Shaunte Palmer.  Photo courtesy of The Gumbo Brotheres

The band has also made appearances on TV, performing original Gumbo Brothers music, including the show NCIS. In 2013 we traveled to Chiangmai, Thailand to perform at the Lanna World Music Festival. In 2017, we released a single entitled ”Summertime,” produced by Venice based producer Andy Kravitz.

Photo credit: David Villafana

Your job in the band:

Guitarist vocalist songwriter band leader and these days even banjo player

Band’s Influences:

Funk, New Orleans funk, soul.

How many years have you been a musician, and how did you get into it?

I’ve been a musician for over 30 years. I started on the trumpet when I was 10 and then started picking the guitar a couple years later.

The Gumbo Brothers: Devon Taylor, Sebastian Leger, Johann Stein, John Montgomery

What projects are your currently working on?

The band currently has two new original concept shows mixing hip-hop with traditional New Orleans Jazz .  The D.R.E. Meets Bourbon Street on Fridays at Sassafras in Hollywood and Biggie vs the Big Easy on Saturdays at Black Rabbit Rose in Hollywood.

Best memory/show:

Performing at the Santa Monica Pier concert. View video below.


What advice would you give someone starting out in your field?

Practice…a lot!

What causes do you support?

I support world peace.

Finish off the statement, Music is…

A universal language.

What’s one thing we can do to make the world a better place?

I believe that many of our fellow citizens are already living as good Samaritans and doing their part to make the world beautiful. In my opinion, it’s the powerful world leaders who need to do a better job.  They need to stop funding bloody wars, lying to and poisoning their own citizens, and start treating everyone the way they expect to be treated…but hey.

Johann Stein and Gregory Sonnier (original member) at the Venice Beach Mardi Gras. Photo courtesy of The Gumbo Brothers


List any of your favorite Venice businesses, event(s) or activities?

Surfside, The Townhouses, The Venice Ale House, The Venice Beach Mardi Gras Parade, The Neptune Parade, and The Venice Beach Music Fest.

Among the many musicians and bands here in Venice, who are your favorites?

Some of my favorite Venice musicians are Suzy Williams, Gregory Cruz, Lorenzo Pye, Michael Jost, Vinnie Caggiano, Matthew DeMerritt, Miss Jessica,Norwood Fisher, and so many that I’m forgetting to mention.

Photo courtesy of The Gumbo Brothers

Any shoutouts?

Thank you Venice Paparazzi!

Who should Venice Paparazzi cast the spotlight on next?

Greg Cruz

Johann Stein and Gregory Sonnier (original member)

How can one find you?

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