"It certainly isn't anything that I would have expected, but it's wonderful!"--Larry (Clark) Spangler, former keyboard player, the Monks
In the above quote, Larry is describing the remarkable recent resurgence of interest in the music of his former band the Monks, but he might well be describing the music itself, an aggressive, feedback-filled pre-punk form of rock whose unique mix of harsh tones and brutal rhythms remains as startlingly different today as it was in 1966. Back then, the band's only album wasn't even put out in the U.S., and the group quietly disbanded and vanished, seemingly remembered only by hardcore record collectors and a few scattered European fans and considered a footnote in rock history at best. Then thirty years later, something strange happened: the music started coming back.
Today the Monks' fan base is larger than ever before and growing every day with American rereleases of their music, a highly-praised book by a former member of the band, the development of a big-budget Hollywood film, and a pair of documentary projects delving into the band's history. Four of the five ex-members of the band have even reunited and played together at an early 1998 recording session.
I tracked down and interviewed all five former members of the Monks to find out how this music has found its way into the current cultural lexicon and what effects the 'Monks revival' has brought to their lives--over thirty years after they recorded it...