Let's Start A Beat!
TO BREAK UP FOR THIRTY YEARS, GET BACK TOGETHER
FOR A WEEK AND SOUND LIKE YOU'VE NEVER BEEN AWAY
AT ALL . . .
Review by Todd Lucas
when a band reunites after three decades of inactivity,
the results are spotty at best. Of course, there
are exceptions to this rule. Some bands manage to
produce a sound that rises above the mere nostalgia
associated with the occasion, a triumph for most.
But bands just don't split up for 30 plus years
and then get back together for a week, only to sound
like they were never apart at all...ordinarily.
the Monks ever an ordinary band? Five American GI's
stationed in Germany during the height of the beat
craze? Five guys whose music was always a couple
of notches beyond unique to begin with? A rock and
roll band that used a banjo and generous amounts
of organ? Hell, there was next to nothing ordinary
about the Monks to begin with. Why shouldn't I believe
this disc sounds so damn good? Their entire repertoire,
plus a bonus jam and it all sounds magnificent!
at Cavestomp '99 got a real treat. Now, I'm especially
sorry that I missed it. As great as Let's Start
A Beat! is, I can't imagine it compares to having
seen this performance first hand. The songs herein
are every bit as intense as on the original recordings
and these guys only practiced a week before their
Cavestomp appearance! Okay, so rock and roll is
obviously in their blood.
hard to pick favorites here, though I've always
been partial to "Blast Off!" for its near
Nuggets sound. And that improvised "Monk Jam"
is as good as anything here. I just can't believe
how well these guys played after all those years.
Time stands still for the Monks, at least for one
weekend in 1999. I'm truly sorry I missed it.