And now, let's rewind to the early 1990s, when thrash-funk ruled Northern California music clubs. Fungo Mungo from the East Bay was one of the top draws, with a slap-happy bass sound and killer live show that made it a fixture of such local haunts as the Cattle Club. It got to the point where Fungo Mungo headlined the Crest Theatre and a little up-and-coming band named No Doubt opened the show.
Fast forward to 2012. That funk-rock scene is now just an exercise in 1990s nostalgia, with Fungo Mungo spending the better part of the past two decades broken up. During that time, its members splintered into other bands and musical projects, with bassist Arion Salazar joining the platinum-selling pop-rock band Third Eye Blind.
You can relive those halcyon days of funky punk tonight at Harlow's, where a reunited Fungo Mungo will play such party-rocking favorites as "Downtown Oakland" and "Homies." The band also has some new tunes to share, showing a sense of growth and musical maturity gained over the years.
"It feels really good," said singer Damion Gallegos. "We've all evolved as human beings and everything is very musical. We're finding the music still has an effect on a lot of people, but we don't want to be a time capsule band."
At its height, Fungo Mungo had an album released on Island Records, the home of Bob Marley and U2's former label. Along with such bands as Primus, Limbomaniacs and Psychefunkapus, Fungo Mungo was a key ambassador of the San Francisco Bay Area's funk rock scene. The Cattle Club was a very sweaty home base for these bands in Sacramento, where Fungo Mungo developed a kinship with future local superstars the Deftones.
"At that time, everyone wanted to be like the Red Hot Chili Peppers," said Salazar. "Primus was just starting out but hadn't blown up yet, and Faith No More was big. The club scene wasn't dance-oriented it was live funk music. We all had different influences, but we were just a bunch of kids who loved jumping around and playing funk."
But as with most bands, the good times weren't meant to last. Sales of "Humungous," Fungo Mungo's debut for Island, were disappointing and the band got dropped from the label. Once the band's momentum stalled, Fungo Mungo was basically done.
By then, Salazar was playing with Third Eye Blind, where he'd soon find rock stardom and co-write such singles as "Never Let You Go" and "10 Days Late." Guitarist Mike Johnson and keyboardist Damon Ramirez formed the Chums, and drummer Jeff Gomes joined Bay Area favorites M.I.R.V.
Gallegos honed his recording and producing chops. His CHUBStudio in Oakland recently served as home for a Boots Riley hip-hop album that will be released on Epitaph Records.
"When Fungo broke up, we all went our different ways," said Gallegos. "But everyone continued on. They're all great musicians and nothing was going to stop that."
A Sacramento connection helped bring Fungo Mungo back together. The Deftones asked if Fungo Mungo would play a 2009 benefit show in Los Angeles for Chi Cheng, the Deftones bassist who's been in a coma since a 2008 car accident. The members of Fungo Mungo accepted, and have kept on their reunion trail ever since.
The band's first few shows featured Craig McFarland of M.I.R.V. playing bass, with Salazar returning to the fold in 2012. For the former Third Eye Blind bassist, Fungo Mungo was a gig he couldn't refuse.
"I love these guys," said Salazar. "Fungo Mungo was very much a gang of guys who always treated each other with fairness. Jumping back in, it feels like no time has gone by. They were never not my friend. They are the closest thing I've had to brothers."
The band's been working on a new batch of songs at CHUBStudio and honing a more grown-up sort of sound. New tracks including "My Life" show a deeper sense of soul and classic rock influences, with heightened pop flavors. But as always, that undercurrent of funk is never far away.
"We have all this talent, and Arion's back with his Third Eye Blind pop sensibilities that's going into the songwriting," said Gallegos. "We've had all these life experiences and this studio lined up. How could we not put out a lot more music now?"
Though Ramirez, the keyboardist, now lives in Southern California, the rest of the band meets weekly to rehearse and work on new tunes. The band's planning to gather enough material to release an album, and then get more shows booked.
After all these years, being in Fungo Mungo just feels fun again.
"The band was like a bright fire that got stomped out fast," said Gallegos. "Now, we've all come back and it feels really good. It's just about playing and letting everyone know we're back."
When: 9 tonight
Where: Harlow's, 2708 J St.
Information: (916) 441-4693, www.harlows.com