by Dan Bolles
With (perhaps) the only Vermont performance of fabled proto-punkers Death tonight at Higher Ground, I've been on something of an early punk and rock and roll kick this week. Obviously, Death weren't the only band exploring the roots of what would eventually become punk rock in the early 1970s. There were others, including Rocket from the Tombs in Cleveland and Australia's the Saints — to name only a couple — both of whom got their starts roughly around the same time Death was blowing out garages in the Motor City, and a few years before the "official" advent of punk.
But the genre's roots can be traced even further back, to at least the mid-1960s — and earlier, if you want to get really particular. Below is a concert video from 1965 by a proto-proto-punk outfit comprised of American GIs station in Germany, the Monks. Rumor has it, they were among the first bands to explore the use of feedback. That's probably not true, though they may be among the first to do so with banjo. And they are almost certainly the first to do so with banjo, in Germany. So they've got that going for them, which is nice.
In any event, here's "Cuckoo," by the Monks, live in Germany. (Big thanks, to my brother, Tyler, for posting this sucker to Facebook yesterday!) Hope to see you all at HG tonight.