Suns of Defiance has styled its own brand of music known as Heavy “Mental” fusing rock guitars, conscious lyrics, a soulful pocket and world percussion. The debut album, titled “The Art of Patience”, displays the bands veteran musicianship, intense focus and polished production. While the live band has made an indelible mark on the L.A. music scene with pure rock fury, guitar solos, costume changes, ripped up parking tickets and in your face percussion antics.
Don Tonic is the creative spark behind Suns of Defiance. His musical experience began early on as a percussionist in school band. By the time he’d finished high school, he’d already learned lots about symphonic, jazz and contemporary music; could sight read and played numerous percussion instruments. But it was playing snare drum in the marching band that has defined his life’s path and paved the way for his exacting, rudimental drumming style.
He got his first drum set at age 16 and began playing cover songs with guitarist Derek Robbins. The duo made local fame playing three hour plus sets at house parties. But upon writing their first four songs, the “Center Stage” band was born. Their style was experimental metal with a dose of punk rock and alternative.
Somewhere along the way though, Don grabbed the mic stand during a rehearsal and discovered that he also had a talent for singing. Heeding a friends’ advice, he studied under renowned vocal coach Al Kohen who taught him the proper mechanics of a pro vocalist. He became the de-facto singer and lyricist for the band but both contributed equally to the song writing. (Did I mention he sang lead & played kit at the same time?) Center Stage haven’t performed live since 1996 but they’ve remained an active musical duo & best buds to this day. This experience has been the foundation and inspiration for Dons future vision of a band & a brand all his own.
The next 14 years saw him freelancing as a drummer, percussionist, D.J. & event promoter. Highlights include: percussionist with the Tampa Bay Symphony; snare drummer for the Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder Drumline; musician & D.J. for Holland America Cruise Lines; performed live & recorded with numerous bands & producers; numerous D.J. & percussion sets at the Winter Music Conference in Miami; performed live percussion gigs with dozens of world class D.J.s; was trained in Arabic, Afro Cuban & West African percussion & founded “Sonic Entertainment” a musical event and promotion company now in its 13th year.
In the studio, Don Tonic is the primary songwriter, lyricist, singer, drummer, percussionist & producer; along with a talented team of veteran guitarists, bassists, engineers & co producers. However, the live band/s consists of Don as singer/percussionist & some ultra-talented backing musicians:
Suns of Defiance/Los Angeles line up:
Kevin Katich – Drums
Carlos Felipe Flores – Guitars
Nate “The Fish” Olmos – Bass
David Abrams – Guitars
(Special thanks to our musical brothers who’ve also shared the stage & supported us: Jonas Blomqvist, Jessie Sanchez, Vince Falzone, Johnny Blade, David Fry & Carlos Alvarado)
Suns of Defiance/Atlanta line up:
“Solar” Steve Mullican – Guitars
Eli Browder – Vocals, Guitar
Chris Parker – Bass
Austin Robb – Drums
Coleen Lewars – Vocals, Percussion
The futures’ looking bright for the Suns of Defiance Family. And they’re only now just starting to get warmed up!! (Puns intended).