The Monks

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oh, how to do, now? truly a great record. Unique, loud, filled with wierdness and healthy spite. Sounds like the Sonics might have if someone had stolen all of their blues & R&B records. The Fall cover the Monks a few times on record, I think, which says something, though I'm not sure exactly what. The book written by the Monks' bass player, Eddie Shaw, and his German wife, also called Black Monk Time (uh, the book, not the wife), is an good read, too.

pauls, Sunday, 17 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I hate you, hate you, hate you, hate you . . .

I heard Mark E. Smith sneer this and thought it was the triumph of the record, then found out it was by the Monks, never got to hear anymore but have always been desperate too, that and the Seeds, but now I have all the Seeds, the same feeling of hearing and needing to have.

Maryann, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

dude, you *have* heard the Monks! i was there! you went, Who is this - Sean O'Reilly was playing it - he told you who it was, you said it was good! i remember it clearly!

duane Z., Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

black monk time is a brilliant album. the monks are, in fact, nearly as good as the seeds

gareth, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Eddie Shaw's wife not called Black Monk Time, so dud.

mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
Did anyone see the reunion in NYC a year or two ago? I heard it was to happen a day before it did. I have heard very little about how it turned out. Anybody?

Mark, Sunday, 30 September 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

three years pass...
hi there, great article, and i got a kick out of all the comments. thanks for keeping the monks alive, sincerely dave day- banjo player of the monks,. take care, d.d,.

dave day havlicek, Friday, 29 October 2004 12:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Fucking awesome.
I love that record.

TOMBOT, Friday, 29 October 2004 14:16 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Dang, very sweet indeed to see you here, Mr. Day! Good on yer.

For a brief second I was totally surprised at TOMBOT's love, then the obviousness of it became apparent.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 29 October 2004 14:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...
I guess I should use this thread to revive -- Mr. Day was kind enough to drop me a line the other day to pass on some tragic news. Drummer Roger Johnston of the Monks has died. Probably the greatest rumble-tribal-stomp drummer of his time outside of St. Mo Tucker herself.


Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 13 November 2004 21:11 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

don, Saturday, 13 November 2004 21:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Eddie wrote a little bit about Roger at my site, and I just posted it today, along with a bunch of other Monks stuff

Pete Scholtes, Monday, 15 November 2004 23:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Some of the rest of the band is reuniting in Germany next weekend, by the way.

Pete Scholtes, Monday, 15 November 2004 23:30 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

That's an absolutely fabulous eulogy by the reverend at his funeral. Sure, a bit rockist at one point or another ;-) -- but seriously, that to my mind strikes me as a fine celebration not simply of a legend but more to the point, a life. Thanks for the link (and as well for the quote of my post near the end).

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 15 November 2004 23:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
I saw this:

And now I must own everything from this wonderful band.

1966. Holy mother of fuck. God bless, em.

Brian O'Neill (NYCNative), Monday, 24 April 2006 07:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The "Infinite Zero" reissue is a must own for *everybody*.

The "Five Upstart Americans" is good for background 'Study'.

"Let's start a beat" is the heartwarming 'end of the movie' moment. Less essential naturally, but nice.

And you have to get the book. It's worth the effort.

And all the youtube stuff...

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 24 April 2006 07:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I keep watching it, over and over again.
I can't believe something like this exists.

Brian O'Neill (NYCNative), Monday, 24 April 2006 07:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

feel free to add your testimonial here too, Brian:

The Monks vids from YouTube - Classic or Dud?

There is no such thing as too much Monks love.

scott seward (scott seward), Monday, 24 April 2006 09:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

videos still unavailable.

curmudgeon, Friday, 11 January 2008 01:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

better than the sonics

S-, Friday, 11 January 2008 01:42 (eleven years ago) Permalink

true, and the sonics fucking ruled.

GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ, Friday, 11 January 2008 10:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I am so glad the absolutely wretched "Nice Legs" isn't the REAL Monks, because I honestly wasn't sure (well, obviously I knew it wasn't the proper lineup, but I thought it might be a Kokomo moment, you know?).

I guess this thread all that time ago (it was something on 2000/2001-ILM or one of the associated blogs, anyway) got me to pick up Five Upstart Americans, which was pretty neat but not quite as neat as I was hoping. I really should get Black Monk Time, which I still hope is where things really are that neat.

Sort of figured I must be the only ILMer not to have heard BMT, which I've been aware is a shameful hole in my musical education for some time, so I'm surprised this thread isn't a good deal longer. Maybe it all just went without saying?

a passing spacecadet, Friday, 11 January 2008 10:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I dig the shit out of the Monks.

Helltime Redux, Friday, 11 January 2008 18:32 (eleven years ago) Permalink

My friend saw Transatlantic Feedback, the movie about the Monks, in Chicago sometime in the last year or two. I'd really love to see that.
Any info on upcoming screenings or DVD release?

Trip Maker, Friday, 11 January 2008 18:36 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Black Monk Time is amaaaaaaaazing

jessie monster, Friday, 11 January 2008 18:49 (eleven years ago) Permalink


Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 11 January 2008 18:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

(er, Dave Day has passed)

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 11 January 2008 18:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

He's going to be buried in the same cemetery as Jimi Hendrix.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 11 January 2008 19:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Bless you Dave Day. You never knew who I was and not nearly enough people knew who you were but your music meant the world to me.

I'm a Monk.
You're a Monk.
We're all Monks...

It's Monk Time.

NYCNative, Saturday, 12 January 2008 05:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm beginning to wonder if this ain't the wrong board for this...

PappaWheelie V, Saturday, 12 January 2008 05:12 (eleven years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

New documentary out !

oscar, Thursday, 30 October 2008 22:27 (ten years ago) Permalink

This screened at the WFMU fair, apparently. Too bad I was 3,000 miles away. According to that link the dvd release is postponed indefinitely, though it looks to be touring around the country from movie house to movie house--why the hell not in LA??

I bought Black Monk Time about a month ago and it is easily one of the best things I've picked up all year.

scott pgwp (pgwp), Friday, 31 October 2008 06:18 (ten years ago) Permalink

That's hard to do: It's out of print, and hardly ever turns up second-hand. EEspecially the 'infinite zero' one with all the singles/extra tracks.

Mark G, Friday, 31 October 2008 07:16 (ten years ago) Permalink

I've got the release on Retribution Records. Am I missing anything?

I'm so excited about this film coming to Seattle!!!!

The Ungrateful Dead (Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You), Saturday, 1 November 2008 06:15 (ten years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

By way of warm up for... the news that the Monks music is back in print! (Just got an eight in Spin. Geez, what does it take to get a nine or ten?)

Pete Scholtes, Friday, 20 March 2009 02:05 (ten years ago) Permalink

BTW, I posted a 2004 link above about Roger Johnston that has since been broken (ugh, City Pages), so here's that post again:

Pete Scholtes, Friday, 20 March 2009 02:09 (ten years ago) Permalink

The documentary is apparently now available on dvd, too.

scott pgwp (pgwp), Friday, 20 March 2009 03:15 (ten years ago) Permalink

I was all set to preorder both CDs from Light in the Attic but now I can't find any mention of the planned Black Monk Time reissue- not on their front page, in their store, anywhere. I hope they didn't run into last-minute rights issues or some such bullshit.

Telephone thing, Friday, 20 March 2009 04:28 (ten years ago) Permalink

BMT has been on eMusic for months now... not much help if you don't use eMusic, though.

scott pgwp (pgwp), Friday, 20 March 2009 06:08 (ten years ago) Permalink

i love every last song i've heard from this band.

billstevejim, Friday, 20 March 2009 06:10 (ten years ago) Permalink

me too. i wish there was more of the late singles and such, stuff like "cuckoo" and "i can't get over you"

kamerad, Friday, 20 March 2009 06:27 (ten years ago) Permalink

Light in the Attic confirms April 14 as release date for both BMT and The Early Years, with premium vinyl versions due out in May.

Pete Scholtes, Friday, 20 March 2009 21:16 (ten years ago) Permalink

Is the BMT version the same as the old Infinite Zero version or is it like the slightly inferior Repertoire version?

Alex in SF, Friday, 20 March 2009 21:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

"He went down to the Sea" is friggin incredible.

Trip Maker, Friday, 20 March 2009 21:20 (ten years ago) Permalink

Is the BMT version the same as the old Infinite Zero version or is it like the slightly inferior Repertoire version?

What was the difference? Sound quality or bonus tracks? I've only ever heard the Repertoire disc myself, if this ends up sounding better I'll be extremely happy.

On a side note, has anyone heard Light in the Attic's Melody Nelson remaster yet?

Telephone thing, Friday, 20 March 2009 21:25 (ten years ago) Permalink

Bonus tracks definitely. I'm not so much of an audiophile that I can tell the difference.

Alex in SF, Friday, 20 March 2009 21:26 (ten years ago) Permalink

Yeah, bonus tracks.

That version was my singular best purchase last time I was in New York. Mondo Kims.

Gonna be back soon! :)

Mark G, Saturday, 21 March 2009 00:07 (ten years ago) Permalink

Those bonus tracks are a mixed bag. "Cuckoo" is almost my favourite monks moment ever, but "Down to the Sea" and "Love Can Tame the Wild" show what a Fugsian, psychedelic turn they were likely going to take with their second album. Not sure if they're great cuts, but they're food for thought.

staggerlee, Saturday, 21 March 2009 20:32 (ten years ago) Permalink

The Light in the Attic reissue of Black Monk Time has all but two of the bonus tracks from the Infinite Zero reissue of same, the 1965 demos of "I Hate You" and "Oh, How to Do Now." Both of those tracks are collected on Light in the Attic's other Monks reissue, Monks: The Early Years 1964-1965, along with 8 other 1965 demos, and the "Boys Are Boys"/"There She Walks" Torquays single.

As an enticement, Light in the Attic's Black Monk Time adds "Pretty Suzanne," a previously unreleased '67 track. But the remastering and beautiful liner-note photos would be enough to recommend it. I'm keeping the Infinite Zero one too, though, for its own unique liner notes, and because Eddie Shaw autographed it.

Pete Scholtes, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 22:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

^ been waiting for this to show up

meisenfek, Monday, 4 October 2010 10:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

(most memorable)

meisenfek, Monday, 4 October 2010 10:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

So it seems like Eddie wrote another book a few years ago but it doesn't look like it ever got published.

Leopard Skin POLL-Box Hat (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 26 January 2013 22:54 (six years ago) Permalink

I don't know if these interview were linked anywhere else but I never saw them before today so:

Leopard Skin POLL-Box Hat (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 26 January 2013 23:15 (six years ago) Permalink

Also if you never heard the most excellent holiday parody "It's Reindeer Time," by MIke Fornatale you can find it here : So good that it got him a gig as replacement singer and auxiliary member when Gary lost his voice. Now he is doing something similar for The Left Banke.

Leopard Skin POLL-Box Hat (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 26 January 2013 23:43 (six years ago) Permalink

The videos of The Monks playing that German TV show... Man. Seeing them for the first time was like seeing God create the universe.

There's a thread devoted just to those videos here, IIRC.

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Sunday, 27 January 2013 13:35 (six years ago) Permalink


Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Sunday, 27 January 2013 14:19 (six years ago) Permalink

Just realized how many of these tunes feature a "Truck Driver's Gear Change" but what else were they gonna do?

Leopard Skin POLL-Box Hat (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 27 January 2013 21:57 (six years ago) Permalink

That's true, but rather an ersatz mood boost, it's a shift into the deranged - tends to make you want to edge away slowly than have you punching the air.

Say Bo to a (Fizzles), Monday, 28 January 2013 07:41 (six years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Gary Burger has passed away. :(

KCB (Kent Burt), Saturday, 15 March 2014 00:02 (five years ago) Permalink

Aw, RIP.

emil.y, Saturday, 15 March 2014 00:11 (five years ago) Permalink

Its that 'oh, this thread got revived? Uh oh..' monk time

"Ok, now his name was Gary.."


Mark G, Saturday, 15 March 2014 00:15 (five years ago) Permalink

RIP, The Monks were amazing, way ahead of their time. Hell, they are STILL ahead of our time imo.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 15 March 2014 00:17 (five years ago) Permalink

What they did almost 50 years ago still brings out fresh, creative responses on the '07 tribute album, where Gary memorably materializes, still on top of things: Still sounds good. Never did see the doc.

dow, Saturday, 15 March 2014 01:27 (five years ago) Permalink

True hero of music

gimme the lute (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 15 March 2014 02:54 (five years ago) Permalink

RIP. I remember first hearing about the Monks in a WFMU catalog and got the Repertoire reissue shortly afterwards, and I've listened to it pretty consistently since. Dude was great. Love his crazy voice and that guitar sound is still awesome.

brains hangin (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Saturday, 15 March 2014 07:05 (five years ago) Permalink

Sad news. Thank you for the music Gary.

Hinklepicker, Saturday, 15 March 2014 07:23 (five years ago) Permalink

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Saturday, 15 March 2014 08:50 (five years ago) Permalink

Most recent post on The Monks' message board is kind of poignant

I Forgot More Than You'll Ever POLL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 15 March 2014 12:37 (five years ago) Permalink

This was one of the albums Henry Rollins reissued on his short-lived Infinite Zero imprint...1995-ish I guess? Anyway, it was a revelation to twenty-something me.

Johnny Fever, Saturday, 15 March 2014 16:34 (five years ago) Permalink

That documentary is really great, too. Nice to revisit all those guys when they are older and they are totally the most normal, nicest people just living in their little towns maybe singing w the church, etc. They are so humble and chill and yet the music they made in the 60s was just sooooooo off the leash, just wild, wild stuff. They combined punk, industrial, alt country, krautrock, and genres into a rad electro-acoustic minimalist garage rock stomp that no one has come close to topping.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 15 March 2014 16:43 (five years ago) Permalink

i meant "and genres yet undiscovered"

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 15 March 2014 16:43 (five years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I tracked down the Infinite Zero reissue in Mondo Kim's. That's what New York is for!

Mark G, Saturday, 15 March 2014 20:35 (five years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Missed this until now. Gary was so hugely generous and kind, and amazing live. When I saw him with the "Mock Monks" at the Bryant-Lake Bowl circa the Iraq War he growled "George Bush, who the hell is he?" This was after my article came out about them, and when I shook hands with him before the show, he smiled and said, "I have something for you," and gave me an honorary noose, which I put around the collar of my black shirt.

Peter Scholtes, Thursday, 7 August 2014 20:41 (four years ago) Permalink

two years pass...




Third Man Records is excited to announce The Monks' Hamburg Tapes 1967, featuring five unheard tracks from the legendary group. To ring in the announcement, Dangerous Minds has premiered the new track "I'm Watching You," noting that "these songs aren't just some forgotten cast-offs, they're as vital and as punchy as everything else the Monks recorded." The album will see a vinyl and CD release on June 23.

The Monks - a strange, rare group with a story that sounds like a drunk friend's generous hyperbole. A group of American G.I.s stationed in Germany on the precipice of Western cultural revolution starts playing music loosely connected to the rock n' roll craze, contrastingly incorporating a critical and often offensive avant-garde edge. Nothing was off limits - screeching vocals, dark aesthetics, staccato-strummed banjo, sardonic lyricism, critiques of the Vietnam War and full monk costuming down to the tonsure. When viewed on the whole, it seems like an art school student's senior thesis on what the craze means and its future possibilities. Due in large part to original Polydor vinyl collectability and years in the word-of-mouth hype machine, their legend and cult status has steadily blossomed since their last shows in 1967.

Fast forward to 2017, the crew at Third Man, already huge fans, are presented with an honest-to God treasure trove of original Monks photos, newspaper clippings, business cards, letterhead, contracts, postcards and, yes, analog tapes, containing trailblazing, wild compositions completely unheard by public ears.

"I'm Watching You" would have been recorded on February 28th, 1967 at the same sessions that would produce the Monks' final single "Love Can Tame the Wild" b/w "He Went Down to the Sea." The remaining four songs were recorded after hours in the Top Ten Club later that year, just prior to the break-up of the band.

These songs have been unreleased for 50 years and are quite possibly the last music left to be heard by this legendary band.

Hamburg Recordings 1967 track list:

1. I'm Watching You
2. Julia
3. P.O. Box 3291
4. I Need U Shatzi
5. Yellow Grass

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Wednesday, 10 May 2017 19:31 (two years ago) Permalink

Absolute capital C-classic! Thank whomevers responsible that the Beat Club footage of them is still around. They were a very charismatic and entertaining live act. And prolly thank my beloved Fall for helping repopularize them in the 90s. And that one album BMT is a stone avant garage groove from back to front. Addendum re: pic above, wow! Gonna have to get that. Thanx for the tip, NYCnative.

VyrnaKnowlIsAHeadbanger, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 19:41 (two years ago) Permalink


Mark G, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 22:43 (two years ago) Permalink

thank the germans for not being the bbc! _all_ the beat club stuff still exists, afaik, including unbroadcast material.

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Wednesday, 10 May 2017 22:52 (two years ago) Permalink

by the way, has anyone actually heard dave day's "don't ha ha" that he released as a 7" at some point?

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Wednesday, 10 May 2017 22:53 (two years ago) Permalink

Was the Rollins reissue of Black Monk Time before the Fall cover?

Stevolende, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 22:56 (two years ago) Permalink

nah, extricate was 1990, infinite zero issue was '97. apparently the first cd issue of it was an israeli pirate on israphon in 1990.

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Wednesday, 10 May 2017 22:58 (two years ago) Permalink

I believe its a version of "Don't you just know it" with 'authentic' laughing in the chorus.

Mark G, Thursday, 11 May 2017 06:28 (two years ago) Permalink


Trelayne Staley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 11 May 2017 15:19 (two years ago) Permalink

Oh i see

Trelayne Staley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 11 May 2017 15:19 (two years ago) Permalink

pretty psyched for this tbh. just curious about the cover art. i thought by these final sessions they had ditched the haircuts and uniform.

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Thursday, 11 May 2017 18:44 (two years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

Never knew about this Raincoats cover single until just now.

Some Dusty in Here (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 4 February 2018 21:50 (one year ago) Permalink

Also can’t remember if I commented on this thread that Eddie seems to have been named after Lawrence of Arabia

Some Dusty in Here (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 4 February 2018 22:20 (one year ago) Permalink

it's from the tribute album "silver monk time", has some good stuff on there including gary burger with faust (not sure which faust). there's also a nice live show from around that time (2006 or so) of the monks in berlin with the raincoats, the recently departed mark e. smith, etc., guesting.

Arnold Schoenberg Steals (rushomancy), Sunday, 4 February 2018 22:53 (one year ago) Permalink

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