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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Monks’ Dave Day Dead

posted by on January 10 at 18:15 PM


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really something else, something unique—primal, tribal, freakish, stylized, and made all the more so by the fact it was originally made in 1966.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.



RSS icon Comments


Those haircuts were pretty fucking brave.

Posted by Paulus | January 10, 2008 6:58 PM

NOOOOO!!! Dave was the sweetest ol' Rebel.

Posted by Damn | January 10, 2008 7:05 PM

Post-war Germans had/have great taste in art - always picking up on the best of American kultur. Never ceases to amaze me. The Monks fucking smoked!

Posted by bronkitis | January 10, 2008 8:01 PM

Never knew we had such a legend living so close to us here in Seattle. I never knew you but you will be missed.My best regards to the Day family.
The Monks and even their haircuts were a wow when I first heard them.
Looking forward to Nipper and his comments on Dave.

Posted by Biggie J | January 10, 2008 8:14 PM

I do believe I met Mr. and Mrs. Day at the Saturday Knights/Cops show at Havana last spring, and they were tremendously kind people. They were having more fun than anyone else there!

My sincerest condolences to his whole family.

Posted by rlv | January 10, 2008 10:54 PM

RIP Dave

Posted by lar | January 10, 2008 11:23 PM

i'd only seen the "monk chant" half of that video. "oh, how to do now" kills live. thanks for posting. rip dave of monks.

Posted by josh | January 11, 2008 7:39 AM

Wow, it's not often I get the chills at 9 a.m., but that video is amazing.

Thanks for the tip, I will investigate further.

Posted by Jeff | January 11, 2008 9:12 AM

Met Dave in Berlin in 2006; what a lovely man. My condolences to his beautiful wife.

Posted by Robert Green | January 11, 2008 9:45 AM

Rare did a mixtape of mine not remind my friends that it was Monk time. RIP.

Posted by Sam M. | January 11, 2008 10:07 AM

what a shame. The Monks were astounding and had a uniquely peppy negativity.

Posted by Geoff | January 11, 2008 12:07 PM

now I am sad. RIP Dave.

Posted by kathotdog | January 11, 2008 12:48 PM

I am so sad to hear about Dave's passing. What a sweet guy he was. I'm so glad I got to know him. It was a lot of fun hanging with him at the Bumbershoot Festival this year (he was like a little kid having so much fun while watching fellow 60's icon Roky Erickson). I hope his wife Irene and the whole Monks family are holding up alright under the circumstances.

Posted by Chrispo | January 12, 2008 1:09 PM

I met Dave Day at The Fall show in Seattle around 2004; he and his lovely wife were spiffed up in black for a night on the town, and looking quite fine. Th had an air about them that commanded respect, even from across the room. Not knowing many people in Seattle at the time (or any that I could convince to go to the show with me) I was alone in a crowd of strangers and when Dave and Irene staked out a spot at the bar I immediately wanted to talk to them. When he told me who he was (in a very low-key manner) I pretty much geeked out on him ("I used to do a garage punk show at my college station and I played your music EVERY SHOW. You sir, are as a GOD to me!") and he took it all in calm, classy stride. They were both SO sweet and friendly and accommodating it made my year. They bought me good whiskey and Dave regaled me with stories; he even gave me his card... it was black with gold lettering, it had little musical notes and scales around his name. A King among men... a very sweet man who will be missed. My deepest condolences to his wife and family. Long Live The Monks!

Posted by Ramon | January 13, 2008 6:20 AM

There are alot of things that could be said about david but it was always said he was a
sweetheart,and that he truely was. David
well thought of in his hometown and when he would show up with his guitar and strap on amp at Uncle MO's everyoned a great time. David's only was interested in people having fun and enjoying music. Even upon returnig home from the legandary CAVESTOMP shows and when Dietmar & Lucia came to town to film for thier film you stayed your huble self. I was glad i got to see you one last time a few months back sittin at uncle mo's enjoying a drink. you really did care for your fans and I'll tell the story about your show with the Kinks to anyone who says otherwise. I love you Dvid and i will charish the time we all had forever!

Posted by patrick s | January 14, 2008 3:37 PM

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