In our ongoing series title Skaround the World, we’re now going to take a journey to Northern California, San Jose to be exact. This is where we catch up with a great ska band called, Monkey!
In my opinion, they are one the coolest bands in the world of ska. They are a mix of Traditional, 2Tone, 3rd Wave ska-punk all rolled into one big burrito of goodness.
Sonically speaking, they are a five-piece band, but hands down they put on one of the best live shows you’ll ever see, period.
Their live shows and the way they get the crowd going are something that’s not to be missed. The band has done it all, they’ve even been recognized by their peers and industry professionals. They’ve won several awards, including a Bammie, which trust me is a very prestigious California music award!
Up until this whole covid thing took root, Monkey was touring throughout the year and was hitting over 200 live events annually. With 5 full albums under their belt, 25 compilations, video games and movie soundtracks, the band has become commercially viable and consequently, they’re now in high demand.
This band has put out enough music for the entire world to smile. Their touring has taken them from your back=yard pub to Canada, Great Britain & Mexico. They even had plans to get back on the road as soon as everything let’s up a bit!
While on the road, these cats have provided support for some of the biggest names the world of ska. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Bad Manners, The Specials, English Beat, Fishbone, The Skatalites, Hepcat, The Slackers just to name a few.
Words of Wisdom
“Growing up in the 80’s, I loved a lot of different types of music… but ska was always my favorite.”
In the past year alone, they embarked on a 3 week tour for the 30th Anniversary Ska Parade Tour with yours truly dj’ing the tour and taking out Viva Ska Radio for the 8th anniversary. Let’s just say I got to see Monkey perform every night for damn near a month and it was fantastic. The bands on that tour with them were Los Kung Fu Monkeys (yes 2 bands with monkey in the title), Hans Gruber and The DieHards, Joker’s Republic & The Holophonics. I couldn’t have ask for a better tour.
Lead singer Curtis Meacham said they’ve been practicing since ’95, and played their 1st gig the following year. He remembers it well… it was the last Wednesday in January of 1996 and they played the Cactus Club in San Jose. After giving it a little more thought… Curtis said technically a smaller show happened late December ’95. It was a skinhead x-mas party. He recalls that their guitarist quit after show and announced that he was marrying the sax player, who also quit. So then technically the later show in 1996 is when the band really got going.
It was Mid January ’96, their first show with the new lineup at my house at Meachams home. The show featured: MU330, Flat Planet, Los Rudiments, Slapstick and Skankin’ Pickle. Monkey played last, and got cut 40-seconds into their first song, because the police finally had enough of the noise complaints! That’s a show I would’ve loved to have seen.
From then on it’s been non-stop touring, recording and playing one-off shows and just being fantastic people and an amazing band.
Over the year I’ve gotten to know them, and I now call them family. Needless to say, I’ve had good times and a few drinks with this band. I even had the pleasure of having them play my wedding last September and Mike Park Of Skankin’ Pickle and owner of Asian Man Records joined in to sing a few Pickle songs. I couldn’t have been happier.
Whenever we’re allowed to go back to live shows and get back to dancing and rockin’, you definitely need to take the time to see Monkey Live. There’s just no no show like it on the planet. I may be a little biased, but it’s always a good time. From wall to wall, you see everyone dancing their asses off and the band never leaves out the stops.
I can’t wait to see them live again! Trust me, they are one of the must see acts in the world of ska. Until then, search the band and support them and check out a band I call family.