My guitar was a Gretsch Black
Widow double cutaway painted white for me in a German auto-body shop.
They did all our instruments and actually did a passable job that held
up pretty good over the haul. My amp in the beginning was a Fender Bandmaster,
but I trashed the speakers so often that I ended up with a Vox Super
Beatle bottom with a custom-made 100 or so watt amp with amazing treble.
The thing made me half deaf. The guitar would feedback from a whisper.
I used the Gibson fuzz-tones made in Kalamazoo. I got a couple of cases
of them. When I finally burned the last one out I resorted to pure feedback
accentuated with a Fender tone/volume foot pedal. It all looked like
right-legged choreography and turned into a German national dance. They
still do it in obscure, full moon ceremonies in certain backward villages.
My influences were all the country, pop and rock stuff of the 1950s.
Dave always catches hell about being an Elvis fan, but I have to say
that I like him, too. I can't say that I can pick out a single guitarist
to blame my dementia on, but I suppose Chuck Berry will do along with
Bo Diddley, Mr. King and my uncle John.
We all drove the bus and/or car to gigs. Usually we were in three vehicles.
Slept where we found ourselves . . . normally in rooms that were part
of the job or with a girlfriend - old or new. We were hell on women
and loved to break a heart . . . swines about it, if you will. When
we were playing the clubs we'd be in one place for a month. So, what
happened is this: the first night of the gig, the girls would be there
checking us out and making their choices. Within three days, the sorting
process would be complete and we would have our girlfriends for that
month. As soon as we left for the next club, the process repeated itself.
Same girls, new band. Everybody benefited by this cozy, simple system.
We were all jealous of Roger, who always found women with money. Before
we were the Monks, we got lots of nice girls. After we became the Monks,
we got lots of bad girls. They were more fun.
The Monks, I am almost ashamed to say, had not much to do with drugs.
One of us had his bouts with white crosses and worse from time to time,
but didn't see the snakes enough for us to kick him out of the band
. . . but there were times when it was close. There was some minimal
enjoyment of His Highness' Hashish in the last two years, but I can't
say that it increased the sought after dementia levels. I think it made
me mellower and stimulated my urge to sing Danny Boy soft, pretty and
high in a windblown wheatfield with a violin section at my elbow. But
it was not to be. I ended up thinking I Hate You was pretty doggone
sweet and just the song to attract one of the weird and strangely too-smart
girls with. I think so today.
Dave or Roger had their hair cut first and the rest of us were merely
sheep at the shearing. We did it for the total experience. After awhile,
we came to love the haircut. As long as were in full dress Monk stuff,
it kept us out of trouble with the polizei and most ruffians plus it
put us all in the same pew, further bonded us and made us instantly
Fact is, there is a lot more to say and if I live long enough and get
asked enough, I'll say it. Most of it. There aren't many things Monks
won't talk about. I really am not allowed to say much about our CIA
connections and how Eddie and Dave passed me this package which I had
to deliver at midnight, New Year's Eve 1966 to a certain Heinz _____
near the East German border in a town called Fulda. When I arrived and
started looking for Heinz, I found a party in progress and was swept
up in the arms of Hannalore who had recently escaped into the Western
zone and was eager to party down. I never did find Heinz, at least not
that night. The next morning, I found that my car (Roger XKE) had been
blown up, but luckily I still had the package. I noticed only then that
there was a mailing address on the package and so I mailed it and went
home to Heidelburg and drank beer with the Monks up at the castle. Our
future CIA involvements were minimal. Except where South America is
concerned . . . but of course I can't talk much about that even today.
The President wouldn't approve.
We loved the Tielman Brothers . . . used to drive for miles to hear
them. They had seven guys in the band . . . drums, bass and the rest
of it guitars. We were so astonished at the beauty and drive of their
music which they played at amazingly low volume. They made lots of records
which never reflected how good they were live. I think it was because
they didn't do shit for original material.
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