To appreciate The Monks, you not only have to think back to other bands who were gigging around Hamburg, Germany in the early to mid Sixties, a little band called The Beatles cut their teeth in the same scene a few years earlier, but also to some of the bands who would follow them.
While The Beatles took in those cuts of early American R&B, and used some of those lessons learned to become the biggest band in all the land, The Monks took an entirely different path, one into obscurity and into the hearts of record collecting freaks. By focusing their tracks on rhythm and repetition, eschewing such things like choruses, they not only made themselves stand out from the pack, they did so in such a manner that it all but guaranteed their early demise.
When you listen to the drumming on tracks like “Love Come Tumblin’ Down,” you’ll notice similarities to the types patterns and rhythms later popularized by The Velvet Underground. Heavy on bass drum and toms, they’re almost tribal in nature.
Now, enjoying The Monks, which is something entirely different than appreciation, is much simpler. Press play.
MP3: The Monks – Love Come Tumblin’ Down (Early Version)
As mentioned earlier, Light in the Attic Records will be reissuing the Monks classic album, Black Monk Time, as well as The Early Years, a collection of pre-Monks recordings and demos, next month on LP and CD. Both albums are now out on MP3.