Monday, February 08, 2010

Nailed to the Cross: The Rise and Fall of the Easter Monkeys



It was November of ’82. Jeffrey Lee Pierce and his Gun Club were scheduled to play their first Cleveland gig at the Pop Shop, a small bar located under its much larger sister venue, the Agora. Every punk and wayward rocker in the area looked forward to it.

But the Gun Club were a disappointment. They were drugged, tour-spent and in poor form, and they struggled to keep the formidable crowd that descended upon the Shop that fateful eve.

It was the opener, Cleveland’s own Easter Monkeys, who caught everyone’s attention. They had not only upstaged the beloved headliner, but they had also openly insulted them when vocalist Chris Yarmock, wrapping the Monkeys’ set, introduced Pierce thusly: “Porky Pig’s next.”

"Everybody knew who I meant," Yarmock laughs today.

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By the early '80s, antagonism was nothing new to Yarmock. He actually perfected it in the late ‘70s, while fronting his first band, the Kneecappers.

"We had a tendency to cause riots," says Yarmock. "For one show, people literally tore the fucking stage down” -- but not before one of the spectators managed to crawl underneath and remove his clothing. Somewhere in there, the band also smashed most of its gear.

During a Communist Party fundraiser show at Cleveland State University, guitarist Gary Lupico sparked a similar riot that ended in police violence. There were inevitable arrests: Lupico, bassist Russell Sherman and several others. It was a regular Kneecapper kinda evening.

The stories were numerous. They lent the band a distinct reputation as punk provocateurs. And more often than not, Yarmock was the ringleader of their frenzied circus. With Lupico and Sherman tethered to their guitar and bass, respectively, and drummer Dave Crane stuck behind the kit, they were mostly limited to the destruction of their instruments and microphone misbehavior; Yarmock had free reign of the stage and the floor. He was unpredictable and volatile, and occasionally, if the situation warranted, violent.

While singing, he would often accost the crowd, or throw beer, or smash and dismantle anything nearby, or physically assault unruly audience members. Sometimes he would forget to sing, and others, he just didn’t feel like it. He would rather get something going. Yarmock’s aggression was always at least palpable.

But it wasn’t mere aggression, either. The Kneecappers had chops. Somewhere in the fury of the live show, they sculpted fairly infectious songs. And they could still stand toe-to-toe with some of the city’s best groups, like the Pagans, whom they always blew away -- “Because we were much wilder,” comments Yarmock.

Maybe it was because bands like the Pagans had managers. The Kneecappers had each other. They enjoyed the kind of chemistry exclusive to very close friends. Musicianship was not the driving factor. There were no hopes of "making it," no delusions of taking the show on the road and enlightening foreign masses. They didn’t have their shit together. And they didn't want to get their shit together. They just wanted something to do.

They first found something to do in '76, at those early Pere Ubu shows at Pirate's Cove, a club nestled in Cleveland’s industrial Flats. It was there that Lupico and Sherman, driving in from the 'burbs, would initially meet a city-based Yarmock, and it was there that they became fast friends. They hung out at every show at the Cove, watching bands like Devo and Peter Laughner's Friction marry art with gut-level r'n'r, witnessing Ubu exercise their uncanny ability to channel the Flats' crumbling, bombed-out doom into a tastefully dark din. And it was at the Cove that they would drink, drug and jaw on about starting a band. Which is eventually, of course, what they did.

After agreeing upon instruments, they gathered at their practice space with cases of beer, lids of grass and bags of crank. They slashed through ideas until they formed songs. They burned through songs until they formed a set. They probably thought of those early Ubu gigs, but they didn't sound like Ubu. They sounded much angrier.

Pere Ubu reflected the sullen undercurrent of the Flats' despoiled buildings, of Cleveland's general sense of desertion. The Kneecappers had more in common with the forces that brought everything to ruin. They had songs like "Blood on the Windshield," “Smokin’ Heroin” and “Urban Kill.” Theirs was a youthful intensity similar to hardcore punk bands like Black Flag. But this wasn't California, and there was no call for disaffected teen solidarity. It was Cleveland, and it was a dismal, decaying post-industrial dystopia ripe for fun-filled riots, and you got yours when and where you could.

"And no one wanted the city,” Yarmock says, “so we just took it." It was easy enough.

But as the ‘70s drew to a close, it all changed. Everything was sidling up to the safe and secure. The chaos had reached its zenith at the Cleveland State incident, and thereafter, the band started focusing on the band.

They wanted to experiment with other areas of music. They wanted to play like musicians. They were adding back-up singers, horn players. They were kissing off punk rock and flirting with funk, reggae and R&B. They were losing their edge.

Yarmock didn't like the forays into funk, reggae and R&B. He couldn't really sing over that stuff anyway. And he didn't want to. So in 1980, he quit.

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He was in Otto Moser's, a bar on East 4th Street. It was late afternoon. Maybe early evening. He sat and tossed back a few. It had been a couple months or so since he'd left the 'Cappers.

Charlie Ditteaux walked in with his girlfriend. Yarmock knew Charlie as the bassist for the Impalers, another Cleveland punk mainstay. Their bands had shared bills. They respected and liked each other well enough.

They started talking, and Charlie disclosed that he had also recently parted ways with his group.

As Yarmock remembers it, "We were just sitting around bullshitting, and I said, 'Yeah, I’m outta the band.' And he said, 'Yeah? I’m hooking up with this drummer,' and it was Linda Hudson. He goes, 'We’re just jamming and we’re looking for a guitar player and a singer.' I was like, 'Well, I’m available.'"

Chris Yarmock didn't yet know Linda Hudson. He just knew he wanted a couple more drinks. He and Ditteaux stuck around Otto's and got soused. They started talking about playing together, and they agreed that it seemed like a great idea. Then they talked about guitar players: They needed one.

Ditteaux looked at Yarmock and said, "I know someone who might play guitar."

The two of them walked around the corner from Otto's to Record Rendezvous, one of the city's better dealers in obscure LPs, 45s and cassettes. Jim Jones worked there.

Jones was well-liked in Cleveland, something of a local creative personality. In the early to mid-‘70s, he’d done time with the legendary (and incendiary) Electric Eels, appearing as an impromptu bassist on a handful of their rehearsal recordings. He had also played with the pre-punk Mirrors, whose stellar VU-inspired art-rock had influenced a number of local outfits and, some would argue, helped pave the way for bands like Pere Ubu, with whom he toured as a roadie in the late ‘70s.

By then in his early 30s, Jones was slightly older than Yarmock and Ditteaux. His health was erratic, so he had left behind the excesses of youth, but he still enjoyed the occasional beer and cigarette, and he still pursued artistic and musical endeavors with a teenaged humor and enthusiasm. He attended shows regularly, often encouraging his younger peers to keep at their bands. He was a sharp, funny, approachable guy.

That night, Yarmock and Ditteaux approached him and asked him to play guitar in their new band. He was all for it.

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Linda Hudson had been drumming since she was very young. It began at age 11.

Her older brothers, Mike and Brian, had a band that practiced in her parents' home in suburban Wyckliffe, OH. Whenever they weren’t playing around Cleveland or rehearsing, they stowed their gear in the basement. So it didn't take long for a pre-teen Linda to wander downstairs, investigate the Pagans' equipment and select the one instrument that looked like it might be the most fun. She banged on the drums.

It was sporadic at first. Then, eventually, Hudson says from her home in Tennessee today, "I just got to the point where I was getting decent at it, and then Mike asked me to drum, and that’s kinda how it started -- drumming in bands with him."

In ’78 or '79 or so, during a break from the first line-up of the Pagans, brother Mike invited her to drum on the sessions that he would ultimately release as the Les Raving Sounds single on his own Terminal Records. She played on three of the songs; the Cramps’ Nick Knox played on the fourth. It was Linda’s first recorded performance. She was around 14 years old.

Over the next couple years, Mike and Brian took her to several Pagans shows in Cleveland and the surrounding 'burbs. Mike would also take her to NYC, where Brian moved with his no-wave unit, Red Decade. While in New York, Linda and Mike sold Les Raving Sounds and Pagans records out of the trunk of his car. They went to CBGB’s and saw the Ramones.

In NYC, as in Cleveland, she met several interesting characters. They were surely more exciting than her high school peers. They were all older, they were wilder, and they weren't waiting for anything to happen. They were getting shit done.

"When I stopped hanging around my school-age friends and started playing in bands and that," she says, "they were all much older than me. Maybe 13 to 15, sometimes 20 years older."

Through her association with Les Raving Sounds, Linda also met Charlie Ditteaux, whom Mike had brought into the fold as a member of the band's constantly rotating line-up.

Charlie was intense. He was tall, skeletal and quiet. And he was an aggressive musician. His bass pushed out an overdriven, trebly cacophony. Live, it often overpowered the volume of the guitar and drums. His sound and his rail-thin frame -- with perpetual dangling cigarette -- made him a foreboding presence.

Once he left the Impalers, he and Linda had practiced together here and there. It was nothing serious. Then Charlie came back to her with a full ensemble. He introduced her to Chris Yarmock, their singer, and Jim Jones, their guitar player.

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It was gradual. The quartet rehearsed when they could at Charlie's place, a townhouse in Five Points known as "Cat City" -- so called because owner Bob Horstemeier played host to some two-dozen felines.

In between dodging cats, draining beers and imbibing in various substances, they managed to work on songs. It was as loose as it was fun: Sometimes Hudson would pound out a beat, which Ditteaux and Jones would adopt and contort to their own purposes. Or a comparatively sober Jones would forge a blunt riff, pound it into the ground; Hudson and Ditteaux would exhume it, prop it up, then ram it into the walls of Cat City's basement. Jones would respond to this with bent rails of feedback, wrenching strings and neck, working pedals and tremolo, while Yarmock, inspired and unhinged, would insert blasts of sax and his own wild vocal accompaniment. Yarmock’s presence was as authoritative as it was dark, and lyrically, he penned notes that were equal parts grave and absurd, inspired as much by Cleveland B-move kingpin Ghoulardi as they were by his coming of age in the city’s crumbling core.

The emerging milieu resembled a near-psychedelic punk caterwaul. They sounded, at times, almost metallic, and at others, meandering and decidedly druggy. Hudson and Ditteaux maintained a solid, propulsive rhythm section that helped carry Jones's wilder guitar explorations, and the Easter Monkeys often played open-ended -- jamming -- which afforded Jones ample room to do just that: explore. His otherworldly guitar, compounded by Yarmock’s ranting lyrics and astral blasts of sax, lent the band a particularly vertiginous quality.

There was a strange bond between the four of them. But somehow, it all worked.

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Meanwhile, Jones and Yarmock moved into a house downtown with Pagans guitarist Mike Metoff and his girlfriend, Char. The new joint quickly became a known party destination for Cleveland’s underground punk and rock scene.

It was at this house, after a few months of practice, that Jones, Yarmock, Ditteaux and Hudson convened one evening. They'd been at it for awhile, but they still hadn't played out. What's more, they didn't yet have a name.

They were tooling around in the living room when someone picked up and tossed a stuffed toy monkey. Now mere party detritus, it was once a gag gift from a girlfriend: a toy monkey given on the day of Christ’s resurrection. The four of them laughed as they threw it around the room, and someone blurted it out: the Easter Monkeys.

It was totally ridiculous, not to mention cryptic. So it stuck.

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The Easter Monkeys played their first show in 1980 at the Sports Page, an inner-city jock pub decorated in home-team gear. A meager crowd that consisted mostly of friends and like-minded bands had gathered there to see their premier. They all avoided the regulars, who were too engrossed by a game on the TV to care about the band anyway.

It was a sloppy, psychotropic set. It was Linda Hudson’s first live performance. It was Yarmock’s first since his days as a Kneecapper, and he had not been tamed. He was duly possessed and behaved accordingly. Jones and Ditteaux, heads down, were all business, as was typical of most shows throughout their career.

They were received fairly well.

They played steadily throughout the Cleveland area for the next year, often sharing bills with groups like the Idiot Humans and Les Black’s Pink Holes. Their set grew. They’d soon amassed a considerable catalog of about a dozen songs, many of them ranging much longer than the typical short/fast/loud quotient of two minutes. Several of their compositions left room for generous improvisation, too, which often worked to the band’s advantage. What didn’t work during rehearsal would sometimes take flight on stage, and vice-versa. Though they were far from the tightest band in Cleveland, they were developing an intense chemistry.

Chemistry soon gave way to a shared sensibility bordering telepathy. Their free-form jams started to gel. Says Hudson: "We had a sense, like a psychic sense, almost -- all four of us, together. We would go off on a tangent for five minutes, then be back on track, and it would all be at the same time. It's really strange to me today to think that four people were in sync like that, and three of them being drunk and high."

Yarmock, too, intensified. At one show, he dropped his pants and passed out drunk onstage, requiring help from an audience member. Thereafter, throughout a series of gigs, he would occasionally fall asleep onstage due to excessive drinking, and the band, laughing, would typically lullaby him as they played on. A bystander or bandmate would wake him after the performance.

Lyrically, however, Yarmock had matured since his days in the Kneecappers. The black humor of his lines brought a decided low-budget quality to the tunes, but they also lent a dark gravity, particularly on numbers like “Nailed to the Cross,” an eight- to ten-minute-long Hawkwind-like punk jam in which Yarmock would brazenly rebuke his Catholic upbringing while his bandmates riffed onward and upward to a fevered crescendo.

After earning something of a reputation as one of one of the area’s formidable live groups, they were invited by Mike Hudson to take part in Terminal Records’ Cleveland Confidential, a compilation LP that would feature the city’s best underground rock groups. They would share company with bands like the Styrenes, the Defnics, the Pagans and Red Decade, to name but a few. The Easter Monkeys agreed to contribute their dirge-like homage to affordable urban entertainment, “Cheap Heroin.”

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It was summer of ’81. Mike Hudson booked them to record at Mike Crossen’s studio on 185th Street. The session was less than ideal. With the compilation’s mastering deadline looming, Hudson pressured the band to finish their take of “Cheap Heroin” as quickly as possible. Ditteaux plugged directly into the soundboard and fried the controls while they made a test run of the song.

Says Yarmock, “With ‘Cheap Heroin,’ we were just running through, getting the sound levels... We had Charlie plugged directly into the board, and he blew it up. Mike Hudson was down there waiting for it, so it was like, ‘You guys wanna go with this?’”

With no real choice in the matter, they went with the botched take of “Cheap Heroin.” It was little more than a recorded practice that made it onto Cleveland Confidential.

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The compilation was finally released in ’82. It was somewhat of a success among local underground rockers. Though they were unhappy with the way “Cheap Heroin” turned out, the Easter Monkeys’ first vinyl venture did earn them a fair amount of attention. They now had recorded representation, and various college radio stations around the Midwest gave them play.

They also had achieved more local notoriety, though you couldn’t necessarily tell by the size of their crowds. They continued to play the same local haunts, including Tucky’s, whose elderly, curmudgeonly proprietor was at constant odds with the local crop of punk and rock bands.

It was at Tucky’s that the Easter Monkeys played their release show for Cleveland Confidential. True to form, Old Man Tucky had been especially painful throughout the evening, and as the Monkeys’ set commenced, he immediately screamed at them to lower their stage volume. Jones and Ditteaux removed their instruments and leaned them against their amps, ratcheting the volume to 10. Deafening feedback filled the room. Hudson kicked over her drums. The band then overturned several pieces of equipment and threw beer everywhere before leaving the stage, causing a great deal of costly damage to the venue amidst ear-splitting noise.

Old Man Tucky was beside himself with rage. His bar closed for good shortly after.

From then on, Jones and Ditteaux rarely concluded a set without cranking their amps and removing their guitars, leaving crowds with peals of unrelenting feedback as they and Yarmock would quit the stage. Hudson, undeterred, would usually play on for minutes. Their set would end whenever she tired of thumping her kit. It became what she referred to as “something of a trademark.”

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In August of 1982, the Easter Monkeys were invited to open for L.A.’s X at the Cleveland Agora. The Agora was one of the city’s largest concert venues and was reserved almost exclusively for popular touring acts. The gig would guarantee the band a shot at a massive new audience.

X were welcoming and kind. “They were nice people,” Hudson recalls -- so nice, in fact, that they invited the Monkeys to share their catered food and beer. The two bands hit it off, hanging out and trading laughs during the lull between soundcheck and the beginning of the show.

Once they finally took the stage, the Monkeys opened the night with a determined confidence. Their characteristic sloppiness disappeared. Instead, their sound had a pinpointed ferocity. Yarmock was fairly sober, too -- no passing out on stage. The band was in full form, and the crowd was duly impressed.

To Yarmock, they were a bit more professional than usual. “It was probably our slickest show,” he bemoans. “We were on good behavior.”

Nonetheless, their focused offering left an indelible impact on a packed house. The Monkeys enjoyed a wildly enthusiastic reception, and many in attendance were surprised to see a local band outdo the touring headliner, who were also at their peak. Even X had to congratulate them on a spectacular set.

It was something of a milestone for the band. They were making good on their still-growing reputation in Cleveland. They were playing to people they didn’t know -- and to people who didn’t know them.

In November of the same year, when they ventured just under the Agora to humiliate the Gun Club at the Pop Shop, they cemented their reputation as Cleveland’s biggest buzz. The momentum was almost dizzying. They knew it was time to record their LP.

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Jim Jones had health issues. His heart had been troubling him since before the Easter Monkeys’ inception. Though he didn’t partake in booze and drugs with the same youthful gusto as his bandmates, his condition deteriorated as the unit moved along. It was if the grind of playing alone wore him down. He occasionally had to bow out of the band to recuperate.

Says Yarmock: “Jimmy quit a couple times here and there. We ignored him. We wouldn’t let him. He would say, ‘You’d be better off with me,’ and all this nonsense, and we’d just say, ‘No, we wouldn’t.’”

Yarmock and the rest of the Monkeys managed to keep Jones in the fold long enough to enter Soundstage 25 in March of ’83. There, they began recording their full-length record with engineer Charlie Watts.

The band knew they would have to maintain a sharper focus in the studio. They were used to playing with a sense of improvisation, but with the tape rolling, they were forced to reign in some of their extemporaneous tendencies. It would be difficult to capture their dynamic sound within the limits and constraints of the studio. Indeed, they had never fully mapped out most of their songs; to a large extent, they relied on premonitions, nods and extra-sensory chemistry to stitch together some of their loosest moments. The sessions at Soundstage 25 would force the quartet to bring a comparably staunch structure to tunes that never really had one.

Confident nonetheless, the foursome played with verve, charging headlong into their catalog. There were only minor setbacks.

As the drummer, Hudson had possibly the most difficult task of driving some of the band’s longer songs, and making her way through the particularly epic “Nailed to the Cross” proved to be downright impossible. Even after downing a six-pack and taking her fair share of speed, she had to pause partway through the eight-and-a-half minutes of free-form punk due to the sheer exhaustion of playing.

“My arms gave out,” she says. “So Jones kept playing -- they all kept playing and doing their thing -- and I started back up again.” Hudson’s negligible gaffe sounded almost intentional in the context of the song, and it was nearly unnoticed once “fixed” in the final mix-down. (Incidentally, her performance on "Nailed to the Cross" -- and the sessions in general -- remains tastefully simple and powerful.)

Ditteaux’s bass sound would suffer an unfortunate loss, as his usual instrument was scrapped in favor of a replacement. His signature treble-tough tone was painfully absent in the recording.

“His bass was in a repair shop at the time for some reason or another,” Yarmock recalls. “He brought in this other fuckin’ stupid bass -- one of those Paul McCartney violin-shaped things, if I remember it right, and it didn’t have the right sound.”

Regardless, Ditteaux maintained a fine low-end rumble. He also contributed his self-penned tune, the Cramps-like “My Baby Digs Graves,” wherein he supplants Yarmock’s low growl with his own timorous vocal, more than a little reminiscent of Richard Hell. (Jones and Yarmock handled bass and guitar, respectively.)

Of the remaining six songs the band committed to tape, Yarmock in particular shined on the glowering post-punk self-elegy of “Heaven 357.” “We’re all gonna get to heaven,” he repeats sardonically, adding “I’ll pull back the trigger with you” as Jones and Ditteaux deliver a haunting background vocal. Another bright Yarmock moment is the pugilistic “Take Another Pill,” wherein his gruff vocal provides a stark commentary on vacuous urban living. Never one to take himself too seriously, he also penned near-nonsense lyrics to a funny little tune he named “Underpants.”

Jones lends a shimmering, spectral jangle to the aforementioned “Heaven 357,” and his metallic riff on “Take Another Pill” is unshakable. Even when playing economically, as is the case on the frantic “Monkey See, Monkey Do," he manages to wring out a turbulent din. His guitar sound remains the trump card of a stacked deck.

By August of that year, they had committed eight songs to tape. They wrapped, and Jones, Ditteaux and Watts immediately mixed the songs down over the next two days.

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Shortly after they finished the Splendor of Sorrow sessions, Jones’s health took a nasty turn. He was, once again, forced to bow out and recuperate, this time for the better part of a year.

“Jim’s always had heart problems,” says Yarmock. “They were serious. We were roommates at the time, and he was out of commission for about nine months. So whatever momentum we’d built up was just gone.”

With Jones out of the picture, the band was on indefinite hiatus.

He gradually recovered, and the band did what they could to pick up where they left off. But the Monkeys were, by then, preoccupied with their own endeavors: Yarmock with his art, Hudson with life beyond high school, and Ditteaux with life in general. The shows were fewer and farther between, and the band had done little to advance by way of songwriting. They hadn’t worked up a new tune since the last year or so. In fact, they had written most of their songs in the first two years of their existence, and there were new leads on the horizon.

They stagnated. Continuing proved impossible.

“I don’t even know what happened, or why we quit playing,” Yarmock comments. “It could’ve been me… I could’ve just walked away and just said, ‘Fuck it. We’re getting too slick, I think.’ It just wasn’t happening anymore.”

As Hudson remembers it, “The practices got to be very boring, and we didn’t laugh anymore. It was just time to end it. We weren’t productive. Charlie was moving around a lot. We were all having problems -- switching jobs, this and that, whatever -- and it just fizzled.”

It was ’84 when it all dissipated.

Just as the band gradually parted ways, so, too, did the LP gradually fall by the wayside.

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The Easter Monkeys and Hit & Run Records released the Splendor of Sorrow LP in 1991, just eight years after it was recorded. It contained the eight studio tracks from the Soundstage 25 sessions, and one live tune -- “Watchoo Wan?” -- culled from a recording of their show with the Gun Club. It also included Yarmock’s smirking “Porky Pig” comment.

Much happened in the interim.

Jones joined Pere Ubu on guitar. He toured extensively. When he wasn’t touring, he rested at home. He rarely touched his guitar. His health was, for the moment, OK.

Ditteaux joined Knife Dance with another Cleveland fixture, Tommy Dark. He got married a couple times.

Hudson moved to Tennessee, where she became involved in theatre.

Yarmock continued to work on his art and began playing with Sherman and Lupico again. It was, for all intents and purposes, the Kneecappers with a different body behind the kit.

Splendor of Sorrow was received quite well by those who heard it. But nearly ten years too late, it was seen as a “vault rarity” for those who never caught the band in a live setting. It also suffered poor distribution, and word didn’t spread as it should have.

Thankfully, Chicago’s Smog Veil Records recently reissued the LP as an expanded CD/DVD package. The latest edition serves up some unreleased nuggets that hint at what could’ve been an excellent second album. Live recordings of “Newspaper Mouth” and “Splendor of Sorrow” -- a tune that, for whatever reason, didn’t make it to the LP of the same name -- are particularly great. On the former track, you can actually hear Yarmock fill his yawp with bits of newspaper as he tries to bark “You ain’t nothin’ but a newspaper mouth!” atop a menacing Jones riff. On the latter, Jones’s guitar switches effortlessly from an ethereal post-punk glow to a belly-level rumble, and Yarmock delivers the most profound of all E. Monkey messages: "I see the splendor/I see the sorrow/They masquerade as each other." Ditteaux and Hudson carry it all with aplomb.

Yarmock contends that the accompanying DVD of live footage -- taken from their show with X at the Agora -- is “too slick.” (“Why couldn’t they have taped a good show?” he laments.) And though the band operates on what he cites as “good behavior,” the DVD provides a clear look at how they generally functioned as a unit, and the sound and video are of high-quality. Linda Hudson’s no-frills/all-kills drumming is especially impressive here, as is Ditteaux’s bass, which sounds eerily similar to Australian bands of the same era, like X and feedtime -- something that was lost in the process of recording their LP. Yarmock’s vocals and sax are in full form, too, and I may be reaching when I mention there’s more than a little David Thomas in his delivery.

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Sadly, Jim Jones passed away on February 19, 2008, due to a heart attack. He was 57 years old.

His legacy is held by many, but most dearly by those who knew him in Cleveland.

“Jim was the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet,” recalls Yarmock. He remembers seeing Jim at those early Ubu shows, when there were all of seven paying customers milling about the Cove -- when Cleveland was his for the taking.

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A heartfelt thanks to Chris Yarmock, Linda Hudson and Mark Tidrick for their time, help and patience.

Do yourself a favor and get the expanded edition of
Splendor of Sorrow here.

For you hunter/gatherers, I highly suggest the Kneecappers' posthumously-released
Urban Kill LP.

And, last but not least, for a great snapshot of Cleveland-circa-'81 -- and an all-around killer LP -- you could do much worse than the fantastic
Cleveland Confidential compilation. GET IT.

5 Comments:

Blogger jim lanza said...

by far my favorite cle band. i was always hypnotized by the monkey's shows.

7:48 AM  
Blogger darwin layne said...

Jim had sent me a cassette of Easter Monkey recordings years before the LP came out. It was played until the tape fell off of the reels. What a great piece about the band. Thanks. We all miss Jim and the EMs dearly.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Lenny Toots Hoffman said...

By far the most comprehensive article on the Easter Monkeys I have ever read. Long live Jones and the Monkeys.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous kiely said...

yup, at the time my favorite bands to see were The Easter Monkey and The Clocks. the Easter Monkeys live was quite an entertaining display. Jim Jones (in the record store) changed my life.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Thanks for the article...listening to the Easter Monkeys now!!!! Lanza, was your radio show "Cheap Heroin" I heard some of this shit as a kid.Imagine that.

10:01 PM  

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