Saturday, 27 February 2016

The Monks

In a way, I can't believe I haven't seen this before, but then, I'm a busy man, and there are over one billion videos on YouTube, with over 300 hours of video uploaded every minute, so it's hardly surprising.

I've picked this less than three-a-half minute clip to share because it is so heavy in significance that it blows my tiny mindholes. When filmed it was just over 21 years since Hitler shot himself in a Berlin bunker. American GIs and British Forces are stationed in Germany. Five of those US soldiers form a band called The Monks and make it big enough to appear on German TV, but don't make much of a blip elsewhere at the time. This clip is so clear and good quality that it looks like a modern recording trying to pass itself off as old, but it's totally legit. The host is like something out of a Coen Brothers film.

Look at the bright young things in the audience, late-teens most of them, born into a wrecked country, but not born into the hateful totalitarianism of the Third Reich. Would a band like The Monks have made it onto TV in mainland Europe if the Germans had won? Would they hell. Because it was filmed in Germany, watching this reminds me we only just got away with it.

The Monks, still serving soldiers at the time, made this avant-garde punk slop with strained vocals and strange time signatures leaving few clues where their influences came from. And they shaved the centre of their heads to look like, yes, monks. They'd go on to become cult heroes. The best description I've ever heard of them was by Denver Dan, one of the founders of Sideburn supporters, The Speed Merchant. He called them The Anti-Beatles.

I love The Monks. If you think you do too, buy the LP Black Monk Time. G


Surly said...

You owe it to yourself to read the book as well. Interesting insight into Monks. One of the members rode his Sportster from gig to gig.

Sideburn Magazine said...

Thanks. I didn't know anything about the book, but went straight on the net and bought it.