Living Like a Monk

How Minnesota musicians revived '60s rockers the Monks

Soon Fesenmaier and Patterson were covering the Monks' "Oh, How to Do Now" with the Spectors for a 1993 OXO Records single recorded in Burger's Bemidji studio. "They stayed at the place here and had a huge party," says Burger. "Hell, they were crazy." Shaw and Dave Day flew in for the sessions, and Shaw wrote liner notes. Shaw's memoir Black Monk Time appeared the same year on Carson Street Publishing, and a Monks revival seemed underway. Before the reunion, drummer Roger Johnston moved up to Bemidji from Texas, and appears in Transatlantic Feedback cleaning a church there. "Roger wasn't doing real good before," says Burger. "He had an alcohol problem, and during that time he went through treatment. But he never really was top notch physically again."

Johnston was unable to participate in shows after the 1999 event. He died in Bemidji, shortly before the Monks' last reunion, a 2004 gig in Spain, and was buried by his friends and bandmates in Minnesota. "Roger had a tough life," says Patterson. "But the Monks was definitely something he was most proud of."

At the graveside, each of his fellow Monks took turns with the shovel, saying quietly, between tossed mounds of dirt, "It's beat time...it's hop time...it's monk time."

The cutting edge: the Monks back in the day
Play Loud! Productions
The cutting edge: the Monks back in the day

Also in this Sound Unseen package:

Righteous Babes, Old Joys, Sound Unseen is a nostalgist's toyland by Rob Nelson

My Band Is More Oppressed Than Your Band, Alienation equals authenticity in Sound Unseen's rock docs by Lindsey Thomas

What Remains Of Us, 'Old Joy' finds hope within a dying tradition by Amy Taubin

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