The Monks (UK band)
|Genres||New wave, pop punk|
|Years active||1979–1980; 1981-1982|
|Associated acts||Hudson Ford, High Society, Strawbs|
|Past members||John Ford
The Monks were an English pop punk/new wave band, formed in the late 1970s by three former members of Strawbs—Richard Hudson (guitar), John Ford (vocals, guitars, synthesisers) and Brian Willoughby—along with Terry Cassidy (vocals and synthesisers) and Clive Pierce (drums).
Their first album, Bad Habits, was recorded and released in 1979 after the success of "Nice Legs Shame About Her Face", which reached number 19 in the UK Singles Chart. The song was a demo that was not intended for release. It was offered to another band who turned it down before a French record label released it in its original form. Ford later commented in Mojo magazine that "it was a bit of a problem when it was a hit." The album failed to produce further UK chart success, however — the British punk audience turned against the band, dismissing them as inauthentic punks, once it became widely known that they had been associated with the Strawbs. In an appearance on the television programme Juke Box Jury, Johnny Rotten derided the Monks as "patronizing rubbish" and as a poor imitation of The Sex Pistols.
The band had more significant success in Canada, pushing the single "Drugs in My Pocket" into the national Top 20. The single was an especially big hit in Toronto, peaking at #4 on the CHUM Chart. The Canadian audience lacked the Strawbs baggage, and, according to Ford, were thus more willing to "take the album for what it was".
They dabbled with 1930s-style music in 1980 as High Society, before recording a follow-up Monks album, Suspended Animation, which was released exclusively in Canada in 1981. They supported the album with a 21-day tour of Ontario, with the most notable venue on the tour being a show at Toronto's Massey Hall. Chris Parren (keyboards) joined the band for that album, and Willoughby was replaced by Huw Gower during the supporting tour in 1982.
The band later recorded several tracks for a third album to be titled Cybernetic Sister, but the album was never released. A CD reissue of Suspended Animation in the 1990s included six bonus tracks from the aborted recording sessions.
In 2004, Ford rerecorded "Nice Legs Shame About Her Face" and "Suspended Animation" on his solo album Backtracking, released on Whole Shot Records.
In 2012, Canadian musician Thomas D'Arcy organized The Monk's Bad Habits Tribute, a tribute concert to the band, at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern. Ford performed alongside a lineup of Canadian musicians, including Chris Colohan, John Kastner, Ian Blurton, Kurt Dahle, Ryan Dahle and Chris Murphy, performing tracks from Bad Habits, and was presented with his double platinum certification plaque for the album's Canadian sales. All of the musicians involved in the show, including Ford, also participated in the recording of a track-by-track tribute album, A Tribute to the Monks, which was distributed as a free download from D'Arcy's website.
- John Ford - vocals, guitars, synthesisers (1979-1980, 1981-1982)
- Richard Hudson - bass, synthesisers (1979-1980, 1981-1982)
- Terry Cassidy - vocals, synthesisers (1979-1980, 1981-1982)
- Clive Pierce - drums (1979-1980, 1981-1982)
- Brian Willoughby - guitars (1979-1980, 1981)
- Chris Parren - keyboards (1981-1982)
- Huw Gower - guitars (1982)
- "Nice Legs Shame About Her Face" (UK number 19)
- "Ain't Gettin' Any"
- "Johnny B. Rotten"
- "Drugs In My Pocket" (Canada number 18)
- "Love in Stereo"
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 375. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Doherty, Mike (25 July 2012). "The Monks: British punks that ruled Canada … and nowhere else". National Post. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "Nice Legs Shame About The Face". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
- Krewen, Nick (25 July 2012). "The Monks' Bad Habits hard to break". Toronto Star. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "Monks seek out faithful in Ontario". Toronto Star, 13 May 1981.
- "The Monks just the ticket". The Globe and Mail, 19 May 1981.
- "Thomas D'Arcy Pays Tribute to the Monks with Members of Sloan, New Pornographers, Change of Heart". Exclaim!, 11 July 2012.