|Origin||Zrenjanin, Torontal, the Banat|
|Associated acts||Black Yé'ii, Desert Ride|
The band's albums, Seven Thunders Roar and Dust, Hunger and Gloom, won the 2017 and 2019 Percy Award for best Rock Album, respectively.
Formation and early years (2012–2016)
The band was formed in Zrenjanin, Torontal, in 2012 by high school friends Sandor Kasztó, twin brothers Antoní and Josep Companys, and Zladko Stojanović. All of them come together from different backgrounds: Sandor Kasztó is a Sierran-born Banatian, who's the youngest son of Hunor Kasztó, the leader of the Banatian government-in-exile in Porciúncula; the Companys brothers are descendants of Lluis Companys, the leader of the Generalitat de Catalunya and are part of the Catalan émigré community of the Banat; and Stojanović is the son of the former Banatian ambassador to Sierra. The band name comes from Kasztó and Stojanović's fascination with Native American culture, especially the Navajo, Hopi and other Puebloan people.
At first, they all played in school at school events, and were inspired by classic Stoner Rock bands such as Kyuss. They recorded their first album at ages 18, called First Communion, and released it in November 2012, which gained them some fame online. In the original set-up, Stojanović was lead singer, and Kasztó was cast as drummer. They instantly became a local hit, and held their first concert at the Zrenjanin Rock Festival. This encouraged them to produce a new album, which was released in August 2013, called The Seeds, which garnered them more followers. At this point, they received a cult following, and started making small local tours throughout the Banat.
In 2014, the band saw a split in how to continue, and as such, only an EP was put out in September 2014, called The Seeds, Vol. 2. After the band had figured out their differences though, they experimented a bit more, and in 2014, they mixed up their formula a bit, giving drummer Kasztó a chance to record a mostly non-vocal EP Wet Cactus with him as vocalist, while Stojanović played drums. The album was an internet hit, and spread the band's name in Anglo-America, with significant fan-bases in Brazoria, the Northeast Union, the United Commonwealth, Rainier and Sierra. The band also released its first single in advance of Wet Cactus, called "Ride The Way For Free". The June 2015 release gained them the attention of Polygon Records subsidiary Stereophone Records gained interest in them, and invited them to a meeting in Palma in order to discuss a contract. The band signed a contract with Stereophone Records that evening, and announced the release of a new album for November. While in Palma, they gave their first ever international concerts in Palma and Ibiza, with success.
Seven Thunders Roar and Stormy Monday
For their next album, it was decided that the original set-up was required, so the vocals were done by Stojanović. Stereophone Records sponsored for the band a ride to any place they'd like for inspiration. All four members agreed that place would be North Shore on the Salton Sea and the Navajo and Hopi Nations. After several weeks in both places, they felt confident to record and returned to Palma in order to record the album. Surprisingly, the band knew exactly how to record the album from the get-go, and the raw recording session took exactly 47:58 minutes, as long as the album was. Impressed, Stereophone Records pushed for a November 2016 release, with two singles being released in anticipation. The first single, "I'm the Mountain", was released on October 12th, 2016, and was the longest single ever released, and still holds the record to day. Immediately, it became a huge success, debuting at nr. 1 on the Sunset Sierra Mainstream Rock and Active Rock charts and staying at the top for six weeks. The second single, "Indian", was released on November 2nd, 2016, and topped the charts at nr. 3.
When the album, named Seven Thunders Roar dropped, the band gained international mainstream recognition, winning several awards for the album, including 2017 Percy Award Best Rock Album, and were a nominee for the 2017 Percy Award Best New Band. The "Seven Thunders Roar" tour, split into an American and European leg took them through Sierra, Rainier, Brazoria, the United Commonwealth, the Northeast Union, Superior, Quebec, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Mariana, Poland-Lithuania, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and the Banat.
Due to the tour, no record could be recorded for 2017, and as such, the band hastily recorded the Stormy Monday EP, which included several old songs never featured anywhere and a newly recorded version of their song "Stormy Monday". The EP was released in December 2017.
Dust, Hunger and Gloom
Rumours of a new album came about in early 2018, as the band finished their Seven Thunders Roar tour. The band decided to record with the same set-up as Wet Cactus, in order to switch up the gears a bit and give recognition to the biting tone of Kasztó's voice, which brought them to stardom. As such, the band set to writing a new album, which was endlessöly teased online. The first single was released of the album, "Full Moon Over My Head", was released on April 13th, 2018, and topped at nr. 2 on the Sunset Sierra Mainstream Rock and Active Rock charts. While weaker than their first single of Seven Thunders Roar, it still gave the band confidence to move forward. The new album's title, Dust, Hunger and Gloom was revealed a day later.
The second single from the album, "So Long", was released on May 1st, 2018 and instantly debutted at nr. 1 on the Sunset Sierra Mainstream Rock and Active Rock charts, and stayed there for four weeks. The album itself was released on June 15th, 2018 to critical acclaim. Dust, Hunger and Gloom won several awards, including the 2019 Percy Award for Best Rock Album. The band sold over 500.000 units, topping the number sold by Seven Thunders Roar.
The Dust, Hunger and Gloom tour had three legs, with a North American, a South American and a European leg. The band gave concerts in Cisplatina, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Sierra, Rainier, Brazoria, Superior, the United Commonwealth, the Northeast Union, Quebec, Mariana, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Poland-Lithuania, the Czech Republic and the Banat.
Pilgrims and onwards
Rumours about a new album were aplenty online, and the new rumoured title of the album is Pilgrims, as detailed by a reported leak on Reddit. The album was supposedly slated for release in the fall of 2019.
On November 1st, the website of the band displayed a countdown for Thanksgivings 2019, and the hype created from it managed to take down the website for 2 hours, and the community waited for singles to be released in advance, like before. However, none were released, and the wait became anxious. On November 28th, however, the album was released online and in stores, and the album gained momentum. The entire album rose to nr. 1 on the Sunset Sierra Mainstream Rock Albums and Active Rock Albums charts, and the lead song Thessalia topped at nr. of the Sunset Sierra Mainstream Rock and Active Rock charts, and it stayed there for four weeks.
The album was received very well critically, as it focused more on the original doom metal and sludge metal sound of the band when it formed, not on the desert rock it became famous for. While some fans were unhappy with the new sound, a lot of fans were happy to see the music diversify and overall approval of this album is high, but still only third-highest.
The Pilgrims tour has three legs, with a currently ongoing North American, a South American and a European leg. The band started the tour in New York City in the Northeast Union on Thanksgivings after the Thanksgivings parade, and is scheduled to host concerts in the Northeast Union, Quebec, the Maritimes, Superior, the United Commonwealth, Brazoria, Sierra, Rainier, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Cisplatina, Mariana, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland-Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania and the Banat.
Thunderbird's style is generally categorized as stoner rock and desert rock, specifically as desert rock revival, similar to classic Palm Desert Scene bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu. They are also considered to be bearers of the legacy of the music scene of Palm Desert, Inland Empire. In an interview, Antoní Companys said:
We do love the music of Palm Desert, it's been our inspiration for music, especially for Sandor and Zladko, who lived in Sierra for significant amounts of time. We didn't originally set out to be a desert rock band, we just composed music we like. You can see that our minds were in a completely different place with First Communion. We evolved over time, our style did with us.
The band's earlier work shows a lot of inspiration from doom metal and sludge metal, two genres directly related to the Palm Desert rock scene, and these influences are especially evident in the band's first album, First Communion. The band claims their major influences come from bands such as Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Black Sabbath. Acid King, the Melvins and Eyehategod.
Thunderbird and especially the band's fans were accused of latent racism and whitewashing due to the band's single "Indian" and subsequent adoption by Thunderbird's fanbase of 'indians' as their nickname. Several articles by the left-wing Northeastern magazine Future's Herald claimed that by their ignorance, the band was spreading dangerous messages against Native American communities.
However, defense of the band has been spearheaded by Native American personalities and groups, such as fellow desert rock revival band Black Yé'ii, the Navajo-Hopi Observer, Democratic-Republican mayor of Winslow, Apache Helen Quotskuyva, the United American Indians of the Northeast Union, Kiowa writer N. Scott Momaday, the Wampanoag Nation and the Comanche Nation. They argue that the term Native American is a second attempt to name the diverse and culturally very different groups, and to take away a name that they have internalized and made their own. They also argue the term, while nice sounding, removes the person who hears the term from the group, due to its vagueness.
- Sandor Kasztó – lead vocals, drums (2012–present)
- Zladko Stojanović – drums, lead vocals (2012–present)
- Antoní Companys – guitars, backing vocals (2012–present)
- Josep Companys – bass guitar (2012–present)
- First Communion (2012)
- The Seeds (2013)
- Wet Cactus (2015)
- Seven Thunders Roar (2016)
- Dust, Hunger and Gloom (2018)
- Pilgrims (2019)
- The Seeds Vol. 2 (2014)
- Stormy Monday (2017)
- "Ride The Way For Free" (2015)
- "I'm The Mountain" (2016)
- "Indian" (2016)
- "Full Moon Over My Head" (2018)
- "So Long" (2018)
- "Thessalia" (2019)
- Seven Thunders Roar (2016-2017)
- Dust, Hunger and Gloom (2018-2019)
- Pilgrims (2019-2020) (ongoing)
|2017||Young Artists of Sierra Award||Best Rock Song||"Indian"||Nominated|
|Best Music Video||"Bright Like The Morning"||Won|
|Percy Awards||Best Hard Rock||Seven Thunders Roar||Won|
|Favorite Artist of the Year||Themselves||Nominated|
|Sierra's Choice Awards||Best Rock Band||Themselves||Won|
|Best Rock Album||Seven Thunders Roar||Won|
|Rock Song of the Year||"I'm the Mountain"||Won|
|2019||Sierra's Choice Awards||Best Rock Band||Themselves||Won|
|Best Rock Album||Dust, Hunger and Gloom||Won|
|Rock Song of the Year||"So Long"||Nominated|
|BAM Awards||Rock Album of the Year||Dust, Hunger and Gloom||Won|
|Percy Awards||Best Hard Rock||Dust, Hunger and Gloom||Won|
|Best Rock Song||"Aquelarre"||Won|
|Trident Awards||Song of the Year||"Full Moon Over My Head"||Nominated|