Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Tale Of Two Bands

In honor of Independence Day, I wanted to listen to some American music yesterday.  I settled on The Junk Monkeys, a rocking band from Detroit, Michigan USA circa 1980s/1990s, particularly from the era where the 80s turned into the 90s.  This got me thinking about the band and wondering why they weren't more successful.  They were labelmates with the Goo Goo Dolls on Metal Blade/Warner Brothers.  Playing more punk/garage rock than heavy metal, both bands were sort of odd fits for a label that more often signed bands such as Slayer.  But why did the Goo Goo Dolls go on to become multiplatinum superstars while the Monkeys have their records out of print and don't even rate a Wikipedia page?  I saw both acts at Cedar's in Youngstown, Ohio USA and both acts were great and rocking (yes, there once was a time when the Dolls were rocking--check out Hold Me Up for proof).  Were the Goos better-looking?  More willing to make bland pop/sell out?  Did they work harder?

Beats me.  Both bands seemed to tour pretty hard and deserved to be successful.  Alas, only one was in the commercial sense (aesthetically, both were pretty successful; check out any of the Monkeys' records for a rocking good time--I'm fond of Five Star Fling myself).  Fortunately, the Monkeys are still playing, but only around Detroit.  Maybe the Dolls should take their old labelmates out on tour as an opening act, but I suspect the ferocious rock of the Monkeys would frighten the average current Goo Goo Dolls fan.

If you want to experience some Monkeys, then you can hear "Sad Letters" on YouTube.  The clip looks to be a bootleg, but at this point I suspect the Monkeys don't care.  They're probably happy that people still want to listen to them.  Maybe in the same alternative universe where Al Gore took the presidency in 2000, the Monkeys are a charttopping rock band.

I bet that's a nice place to live.

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