I can't really remember the name of the banjo I played, but it had to
be a good one the way I played it. I remember trying different kinds of
strings, like steel, gutted, nylon, etc. I think I liked the gutted strings
the best, because for one thing they were easier on the fingers. I used
two microphones that were placed inside the banjo. It wasn't an electric
banjo. I used a Vox amp and speaker. I think there were two 15" speakers
inside. I played the banjo like a guitar, only a lot harder. I had more
or less a slapping rhythm to it. Sometimes it was very boring, but then
again that's where part of our sound came from, so I'm proud of that.
I always seemed to get special attention when I laid down my guitar and
picked up the banjo. Some people would walk away from the stage and some
would ease up and get a closer look. Ha, ha. They somehow knew what was
coming, something loud, angry and mysterious. It was also fun for me to
watch their faces as I swung the banjo over my head and smile back at
them. I have fooled around with a normal banjo, but I never took time
later in life to learn how to play it properly. That's for country folk.
As for guitar players, there were a lot of them. I think the first one
was Les Paul. I was about 12 years old at the time. I was attracted to
the echo effect, which I'm pretty sure he was credited with inventing.
The song was Mocking Bird Hill , which Les Paul and Mary Ford made famous.
A few years later, I was crazy about Bill Haley and his Comets. The three
favorites of mine that really got my attention were Duane Eddy, Chuck
Berry and Link Wray and the Wraymen. That was before I really started
playing the guitar. Later on before I joined the service and went overseas,
it was the Ventures, the Chantays, the Wailers, the Sonics and even Chet
Atkins. Some of these bands were from right here in the Great Northwest.
When I arrived in Germany, the Torquays used to go see a band called the
Tielman Brothers. They were awesome. Gary, Eddie and I picked up a lot
of tips by just watching them. They were very exciting. Later on we got
to meet the great Jimi Hendrix. He was very interesting, one of the all
The American GIs were mostly good to us. Sure, they got drunk and rowdy
sometimes if we didn't know some of their songs. They would yell or flip
us off, but it was no big deal. They were also lonely and missed home,
so they would just let off some steam. I personally think they enjoyed
us as the Torquays a lot more than the Monks. But our Monk music was way
before its time, so back then I didn't blame them for not understanding
The British groups were all pretty good and so were the German groups.
It was a new sound, what more can I say?
When we went on tour, we took turns driving the van. Sometimes I would
fall asleep at the wheel. It got a little scary, but what the hell. For
the most part, we slept in the same bars that we played at. They usually
had rooms for the bands to sleep in. Sometimes we had little creatures
visiting us in the middle of the night, if you know what I mean. Sometimes
I got the feeling they never changed the sheets, but we were so tired
after playing all night that we really didn't care. We just wanted to
get some sleep. I remember one time when I got the damn crabs from one
of the rooms that I slept in. That was hard to explain to my girlfriend
at the time. We both had to do some shaving and it wasn't much fun. I
bet till this day in time she thinks that I caught it from some other
Talk about drugs, speed and other things, they were as easy to get as
going out and buying an ice cream cone. I personally never got hooked
on them, but I did do my share of drinking; sometimes too much. I would
sometimes take some speed, but only to keep me awake when it was my turn
to drive the bus. Drugs didn't influence our music at all because the
band never used them. At least as far as I could tell.
I thought the German people were just great for the most part. Without
them coming to listen to the Torquays and the Monks, we never would have
been known. They were a great audience.
Our managers had a lot to do with our stage personalities. We did shave
just the back of our heads at first, but I think that Roger said "What
the hell. If we're going to be Monks then we might as well shave our heads
and look like real Monks." We all agreed.
At the time, I had no favorite group that really excited me. The only
group who really excited me before we became the Monks was the Torquays
themselves. I mean, I'm not kidding. The Torquays were a band that really
made me feel at home. Besides the time in Frankfurt at the K-52 Club where
we got our asses kicked out because the new England craze had just come
out. I was shocked at the time, but I had to tell myself that this is
it. It was time for us to go back to Gelnhausen, Germany where we first
started and re-group. But of course I think that's what we all thought.
It was really embarrassing to me personally because I thought we really
had it going, but we really didn't. In my opinion, that's when the Torquays
grew up. We went back, got our shit together and woke up; and took time
to smell the roses. It was as far as I can remember at least one month
of real, I mean real hard practicing and going over songs over and over
and over before we even thought we could got out and be ready to play
the German public again. You got to remember, here we are big shot Americans
who thought we were God's gift to music, but little did we know how much
more we would have to learn! I was at the time so scared within myself
that I didn't think I would have it in me to be what I thought I was i.e.
a cool guy. I've never told the band this, but that's when I started hitting
the bottle pretty bad. I was getting to the point where I thought if I
drank a little before I got up on stage I would be better. But I think
I got into the habit sometimes of going overboard when I would drink.
That was a big mistake of mine and it did probably hurt us sometimes.
That's what happens, though, and I'll have to live with that. Sometimes
I thought of getting on drugs or speed or whatever because that was cool
at the time. I had tried it a couple of times and I couldn't handle it.
Drugs would make me feel as if I was going to want to walk out in front
of a car or screw the band up or just plain not give a shit about what
I was going to do next. I'm glad I never got hooked up on them. I'll take
a whiskey and coke please, thank you very much. Well, enough of that.
I liked the Yardbirds very much. We used to do some of their songs. I
remember when Gary used to play his 12 string on their song, For Your
Love. We had a lot of fun playing the English style of music until the
day came when we realized we had to do something different.
Who came up with what regarding the Monks, I have to honestly say the
Monks did with a lot of help from our managers. And all the ideas we had
within ourselves. The Monks as far as I can remember wrote the songs together.
Sure, one or two of us might have come up with the idea or the rhythms,
but it took the whole band to make it happen. And that's all that counts.
The managers were also right there with us. They helped inspire us very
much. All in all we did it together. Just as the Mayflower made it, I
hope the Monks will make it, too. God Bless our Monk fans. Without them,
the Monks would have been pressed between the pages of Time. A special
thanks to Will Bedard for taking the time to keep the Monks Alive. Thanks
a lot, Will. It's Hop Time! Ha, ha! As for myself, this has been one hell
of a ride. I hope the Monks can keep riding. It's Monk Time! God bless
you all. Anybody interested in a Monks T-shirt or copies of Dave Day's
7" I Want the Right to be Free b/w Don't Ha Ha (with Gary Burger
producing and Eddie Shaw playing bass) should contact Day Records at 201
Thomas Ave. S.W. Renton, Washington 98055 or fax 425-255-3613. The T-shirts
are too cool for school and go for $20 apiece. The 7" is a steal
at $5 a pop.
copyrighted by the Monks