Imagine, if you will, a group of U.S. servicemen, who are stationed in Germany in the mid-1960’s, who eventually decide to form a band. They record one album, make a television appearance on a German TV show, and then they disappear for nearly three decades.
Yet that one album has become a major influence for hundreds of punk, pop, metal and rock artists, and you can hear the experimental, energetic sounds of a new musical movement. Right there in the proto-beats and rhythmic chants.
Meet the Monks.
No, not Benedictine monks. These Monks apparently took a vow of energy. And they pumped it into their guitars, drums, organs and banjos.
And the one album they recorded – a German-only pressing called Black Monk Time – is absolutely amazing.
And the first single that was released from Black Monk Time, “Complication,” sounds like it was a textbook studied by nearly every 70’s punk and 80’s dark wave band. Not bad for a track that was recorded in 1965.
Your eyes do not deceive you. They are actually wearing tonsure hairstyles, similar to those worn by your average stereotypical Friar Tuck-style monk. Add some black clothing and noose-like neckties, and the image is complete.
And if you want to see what the Monks actually sounded like in front of a live audience, you’re in luck. The Monks appeared on a German music television show in 1966, and we have this raucous appearance by them, captured on videotape for all to enjoy.
Here’s a non-album track, “Monk Chant,” followed by the track “How To Do Now,” as performed on the German show Beat Club.
I know. Mind blown, right?
You want to hear this album?
Crank up the speakers and enjoy.
Meanwhile, I’m going to cram this LP into my afterlife listening library. Because, if nothing else, the music from these Monks could certainly wake the dead.