The Monks are a band that I have loved for a very long time in a lot of different ways. Bad Habits -- their first record -- has always been a failsafe for van listening on long drives for various tours for various bands: It's a record that has never let me down, that sounds good wherever you listen to it, no matter what you're doing. Steve (fellow Small Sins member) and I have always wanted to cover a record from start to finish, and since he shares my affinity for the Monks, we decided that Bad Habits would be the one.
Of course timing is always an issue. This is a project we talked about for more than a year before ever recording a song, but like many good ideas, the ones that stick in the back of your head over time and still seem reasonable a year later are probably the ones you should pursue.
I started recording bits and pieces alone while recording my own solo record. I've always been a bit all over the place when it comes to making my own music. I'm constantly shifting from slow songs to fast ones, guitar-based music to electronic, whispering voice to David Byrne voice. It's hard to focus. What the Monks helped to do was provide a break from myself. Whenever something of my own seemed a bit stale, or when I just wanted to have fun after taking myself a bit too seriously, I would do another Monks song on the side for fun.
There was no concern for recording any song perfectly. The only rule: If it's not fun, let's not do it. Different guests came in for different songs, all of whom are hardcore Monks fans. Steve ended up playing on it more than anybody -- no surprise. Working on this project was a release. I could try recording techniques that were bound to fail, only to find that they worked -- or not. The project became a studio guinea pig, and a way to cleanse the musical palate.
It wasn't until I had already recorded maybe eight or nine of these songs that I started to try and get in touch with any of the original members of the Monks. The record was not made to be released -- although I guess you always think about that in the back of your mind -- but after tracking down John Ford (one of the original Monks singers), it started to seem like a good idea that people hear this. You see, John enjoyed what I had done so much that he decided he would like to perform on it as well. Imagine, singing a song on a tribute to yourself. Weird, inter-dimensional stuff. Once he was on there, there was no question that the covers record would somehow have to be put out.
So there it is. Thomas D'Arcy presents A Tribute to The Monks, featuring one of the guys from the Monks, Chris Murphy of Sloan singing "Love in Stereo," Chris Colohan of Cursed singing "Drugs in My Pocket," John Kastner of The Doughboys singing "Spotty Face," Ian Blurton of C'mon singing "No Shame," and a handful of other great dudes playing various instruments. I hope you enjoy it, and if you don't already know the band, go find a copy. It is a record that deserves limitless attention.