Monkey Power Trio are more of a ritual than a band: Five, sometimes four, old friends get together once a year for a few hours in a studio. Whatever they come up with, they record. They never practice.They've done this so far for six years, and have vowed to continue ... forever.
In celebration of the band's decision to walk the streets of Austin Texas during the SXSW music festival just hanging out and meeting their fans, we offer this abbreviated guide to their work.
We'll start in 1998, with a single adorned by little monkeys and flowers: Things Get Ugly. Five tunes and pretty simple punk rock spiced with ear-piercing recorder and whistle noises. Highlight of this7" is "Fatty Rocks", alternately called "Fatty Arbuckle Licked My Bunghole For a Quarter," which relays a little story about how one day the Monkey Power Trio were walking down the street in the past, and bumped into Fatty Arbuckle, who proceeded to ... You see where this goes. Funny.
Chasing Monsters With Our Love (1999) is my favourite, which is strange considering I could not figure out whether to play it at 45 or 33 rpm for a long time. 33 in the end is clearly too slow, so I figure it must have been recorded in 37 and sped up by 8. Who would do that? (answer: the Monkey Power Trio.) The vocal reminds me of the I Stole My Mom's Wheelchair from High Fidelity.
Someday We'll Reach the Moon is a strung out folk number, very funny and inspiring. The other three songs, Susan Leibowitz, Action Going, and I Run From Fights, are all high energy (and high speed) punk tunes with screamed lyrics: "I am a pussy! I am not a man! I run from fights! I run from fights!" How can you go wrong?
Some might be irritated by the sped-up thing. Fair enough.
Flying Through Glass, "written on the spot, without concern for modern conventions or societal norms," is the 2000 release for MPT. I don't like it much.
"One Day We'll Meet In Heaven" assures us that the band have every intention of continuing their thing in the afterlife, after having played "one day a year for the rest of their lives, until the last one is dead and buried in the grave." If they're playing Fatty Rocks or I Run From Fights, I'll be there (god willing). But if they're playing half-baked unfunny jokes like "Smeet", I'll be listening to Garth Brooks with my Dad and his wife. "Bug Bug Crawl Crawl" is an okay idea, but I got so wrapped up in the question of whether a song could actually have a "copyright infringement clause against it" I couldn't listen. "Planet of the Apes is Real" is a great title, and that's all. I hope the 2001 recording brings back a bit of the earlier energy. Keep it up, boyz, but don't keep this up. Boo.
Interested people really have to check out the Monkey Power Trio Website to appreciate the band. Find it at and play around. The band bios are great, and the funland really is a fun land. I look forward to hearing more.