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)


MONK CHANT — 4 Comments

  1. Hmm. Nice beat. Better than some of the dreck that’s popular with the millennials thses days. It’s reminiscent of some of Coltrane’s later work, discounting the steady rythm of course.