Black Monk Time
By Thomas Edward Shaw
& Anita Klemke

Published by Carson Street Publishing

Review by Douglas Wolk from CMJ NEW MUSIC MONTHLY: November 1995

When the Monks first appeared in public - furiously bashing out songs like "I Hate You" and "Shut Up," cutting their hair into tonsures, making their instruments screech with feedback - the world was nowhere near ready for them. It was the mid-'60s in Germany, the Cold War was all that was on anyone's mind, and punk wasn't going to happen for another decade. On the German tour circuit, the Monks were billed as "stars from the U.S.A." - though they never had a record that charted, and never played outside of Europe. Thomas "Eddie" Shaw was their bass player, an ex-GI driven by a vague grasp of Ayn Rand and an unstoppable desire to be a rock star. Black Monk Time tells the band's story, from its origins as a GI cover band endlessly cranking out "Green Onions," through its constant stumbling onto genius (they basically did what they did to meet girls), to its break-up right before a proposed tour of Vietnam. What the book is most valuable for, though, is its look at the grueling life of a touring band then, when a group would take up a residency at a club for a month and play 8 hours a day, 7 days a week - the same crucible in which the Beatles and dozens of other better-known bands were forged. And if you see a copy of the Monks' album, also called Black Monk Time, grab it - it's amazing stuff.

Buy a copy of BLACK MONK TIME