By Emily Carney
Remember the hilarious bowling alley scene in The Big Lebowski, in which Walter goes insane and brandishes a gun telling some poor sap with a mullet to “mark it zero”? The background theme forever passed into ubiquity—it is called “I Hate You,” and was one of The Monks’ signature songs.
The Monks were one of the first bands who actually changed my life. I discovered them when I was in the military and their brusque sound qualified my own military experience—which wasn’t exactly puppies and kittens, but that’s another story for another time . . . At any rate, I always try to turn people on to the cult of The Monks.
The men of The Monks—Roger, Gary, Larry, Eddie, and Dave—were American G.I.s stationed in Germany. The band formed in 1964 and, soon, rejected the more melodic sounds of popular bands like The Beatles and focused on their rhythm section. This resulted in songs like “Shut Up,” which was the aural equivalent of a strident slap.
Their debut album, Black Monk Time, was released in 1966 and passed into history; in the late 1990s, the band’s legacy was rediscovered by indie rock fans and the album rightly passed into legend.
The band did some TV appearances in Germany, which pay testament to the band’s “Monk” aesthetic and their badass sounds. While they may have disbanded in 1967, their legacy remains timeless. Black Monk Time will always be one of my all-time favorite albums and completely embodies the cacophony of the 1960s and the military.
Some Monks TV appearances from the 1960s plus an early demo of “I Hate You”: