RIP The Monks’ Dave Day Dead
posted by January 10 at 18:15 PMon
Just got the news from Light in the Attic’s Matt Sullivan: Dave Havlicek, aka Dave Day, guitarist and banjo player for legendary proto-punk band the Monks, died today. According to Sullivan, Day, who was born and lived in Renton, suffered a stroke or a heart attack on Sunday morning. He spent this week in the hospital before finally succumbing this morning.
According to the Monks’ wiki:
All the members of the Monks were American GIs stationed in Germany in the mid-’60s. They began playing together in 1964, calling themselves the 5 Torquays. The Torquays differed little from other bands of the time: They covered Chuck Berry songs and played music inspired by the British beat groups. But the band experimented together musically.
Dave Day replaced his guitar with a six-string, gut-strung banjo upon which he played guitar chords. This instrument sounds much more metallic, scratchy, and wiry than a standard electric guitar.
The Monks are one of the many bands mentioned in the song “Losing My Edge” by LCD Soundsystem.
There’s a huge backstory to these guys, which I’ll leave to our resident garage rock savant Mike Nipper to tell in a proper obituary tomorrow. Suffice to say the music is really something else, something unique—primal, tribal, freakish, stylized, and made all the more so by the fact it was originally made in 1966.
This is one of those times when you feel like an asshole for catching on to what’s clearly a very, very cool thing after somebody dies. I talked with Dave Day a couple times at Light in the Attic events—he was a badass and a sweetheart, he and his wife Irene hanging tough with the kids, drinking beers, smoking cigs, and shooting the shit. He told me he invented punk rock and opened for Jimi Hendrix. Watching these YouTube vids—and there are several, mostly taken from German TV in 1966—I believe the claim.