Without going into too much detail, the late 80s/early 90s, Oakland-by-way-of-Santa Barbara band MONOSHOCK were both personal friends and a favorite mind-erasing band of mine. Aside from the more classic local “garage” acts of 1993-94, it was my contention that they were the San Francisco Bay Area’s finest band when they were around – a total monster of fuzz, distortion and really inventive ways of blowing apart a conventional rock and roll song. I’ve told their story a couple of times and a couple of different ways – here at my old blog Agony Shorthand, and again here at Detailed Twang, when I posted the 45 of theirs I put out on my short-lived label. (I’ll re-post those songs again someday).
Not long after that first one, bassist Scott Derr’s Blackjack Records put out a second, “Soledad / Striking a Match in the Year 4007”. That’s when I knew these guys were for real, in a recording sense (live it was already a no-brainer) and had a pretty deep bench of material to pull from. This is when they were still a trio, mind you (I think some of the blood got sucked when they added sax & keyboards), and at the point where they were realizing how much noise and panic they could wring out of three guys and a batch of distortion boxes.
It’s been said before, but singer/drummer Rubin Fiberglass was absolutely born to rock. I can totally see him at the start of “Striking a Match...” - where they do a couple of piss-takes before getting into the song - with his sunglasses donned even at 11pm, lubricating his vocal cords with god-knows-what, and getting’ his Iggy on before switching over to “the voice” that he used so fetchingly on all their material. In fact “Soledad” is a pretty great study in vocals, when you pay close attention to it. All three fellas get their god-given turn at the mic, with Fiberglass leading things in the chorus and main verses. The whole stream-of-consciousness bizarro-world lyrics & vocals from guitarist Grady Runyan during the “break” were not only the inspiration for this post’s title, but also for the title of the band’s posthumous collection “Runnin’ Backwards From The Ape-Like Superman”.
These recordings came straight from my 45, and not from that collection, which has slightly cleaned-up version of all their 45s. Please do your best to secure both, and keep supporting goodtime rocknroll music.
Play Monoshock, “Soledad”
Download MONOSHOCK – “Soledad” (A-side)
Download MONOSHOCK – “Striking a Match in the Year 4007” (B-side)