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The Monks

Biography

Cited as forerunners of both punk and Krautrock, the Monks were a five-piece garage band made up of GIs stationed in Germany in the 1960s. With tribal drumbeats and unheard levels of abrasiveness and aggression, they stood far apart from arguably every other person playing rock 'n' roll music at the time, undoubtedly contributing to almost total obscurity until the re-issue of their first album, Black Monk Time, in 1994. Songs "I Hate You" and "Shut Up," delivered with a pronounced absurdism, were still light-years ahead of the pack in terms of open hostility. Like a punk-rock version of the Fugs or a way more far-out Troggs, the Monks' music was idiot simple and robotically repetitive, presaging the Fall, the Stooges -- pretty much everybody. They are also legendary for the fact that all the members shaved their heads into monk tonsures, wore black cassocks and nooses around their necks onstage, and had an amplified and almost unbearably tinny banjo instead of a rhythm guitar. They never enjoyed anything close to commercial success, but judging from the fact that they were rhyming the words "complication" and "constipation" in 1964, money and fame were not the object.
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