I Can't Get Over You
Boys Are Boys and Girls Are Choice
Monk ChantOh How To Do Now
Live, 1999Shut UpComplicationCuckooPretty SuzanneLive, 2006That's My Girl
The Monks were a garage rock band, formed by American GIs who were based in Germany in the mid-to-late 1960s. They released one album, Black Monk Time, which was characterized by repetitive, primitive music and chanted lyrics.
They reunited in 1999 and have continued to play concerts, although no new studio recordings have been made. The Monks stood out from the music of the time, and have developed a cult following amongst many musicians and music fans.All the members were American GIs stationed in Germany in the mid-1960s. They began playing together in 1964, calling themselves the 5 Torquays. They covered Chuck Berry songs and played music inspired by the British beat groups, but the band experimented together musically. Band member Gary Burger said: "It probably took us a year to get the sound right. We experimented all the time. A lot of the experiments were total failures and some of the songs we worked on were terrible. But the ones we kept felt like they had something special to them. And they became more defined over time."
The Monks played The Top Ten Club in Hamburg, where The Beatles had played earlier in the 1960s. Upon their discharge from the army the band developed a distinctive musical style, and took up a distinctive name and image to go with it. The transition from their earlier, more conventional and less provocative aesthetic to the abrasive and cutting-edge sound of their Black Monk Timeperiod was partly induced by the influence of "a pair of loopy existentialist visionaries" called Walther Niemann and Karl-H.-Remy. Remy, a university student of design in Ulm, and Niemann, a student of Folkwang Arts Academy in Essen, "designed" the Monks as "anti-Beatles": short hair with tonsures, black clothes, ropes around the neck, image of being hard and dangerous.
At the beginning of 1965, Dave Day and Roger Johnston, on a whim, got their heads shaved into monks' tonsures. The rest of the band followed their lead, and to complete the image, the band took to wearing a uniform - all black, sometimes in cassocks, with nooses worn as neckties. Burger describes the band's "look" as completely their management's decision. Eddie Shaw later claimed in his band autobiography Black Monk Time that the nooses were symbolic of the metaphorical nooses that all humanity wear. His explanation exhibited a literal translation of gallows humor. The same attitude seems to be exhibited by the blunt lyrics of the band. The brazen attitude toward sensitive subjects was reportedly not well met. They received confused audience reactions at concerts, and one attendee attempted to strangle Gary Burger at a show in Hamburg, for perceived blasphemy.