The Monks were a bunch of American G.I.s in Germany who picked up on the beat-group fad; they started a bar band called the 5 Torquays that seems, from the evidence, to have been just like every other group of Beatles wannabes. After they got their official discharges, they got a lot weirder, changing their name, adopting costumes and turning considerably more confrontational to keep the attention of easily bored audiences in Hamburg nightclubs — six hours of originals and covers a night, bassist Eddie Shaw has claimed, and eight hours on Sundays. Sometime in 1965, they recorded a bunch of demos (originally released in the late '90s as Five Upstart Americans, most recently reissued as The Early Years); their gimmick at that point was that every song began with a churchy introduction by organist Larry Clark before singer/guitarist Gary Burger started screaming.
By the time the Monks 'sole full-on studio album Black Monk Time came out in early 1966, they were frothing, feverish punk rockers, a decade ahead of their time, whose best songs were called "I Hate You" and "Shut Up." A review of a performance in the German paper Bild-Zeitung declared them "noise, noise and no melody — robot music." It would be a good long while before many people could read that as a compliment. (Douglas Wolk, eMusic)