Music interview: The Monkeywrench
Formed in 1991 and founded by members of Mudhoney, The Big Boys and Poison 13, The Monkeywrench are set to tour Australian shores for the first time ever. We spoke to Tim Kerr from the band:
Hi Tim and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. Firstly, welcome to Australia. This isn’t your first time here but it is with The Monkeywrench. What prompted you guys to get together again and the subsequently do a world tour?
It’s mine and Tom’s first time to come over. Tom’s older band Gashuffer made it to New Zealand but not Aus. Two of the bands I was in almost came… Lord High Fixers and Now Time Delegation. This all came to being because we got back together at the request of Drive Like Jehu for All Tomorrow’s Parties. We were then asked to play Fun Fun Fun (now Sound On Sound), which are both songs from the first band I was in, The Big Boys. I then asked everyone if we could maybe finally try to get to Australia since I had never been. Martin sealed the deal by saying he wanted to play one more time at home.
You are tireless musicians and play in many other outfits. Does playing and collaborating with other bands help bring a renewed sense of vigour when returning to the Monkeywrench project?
I think any time you get with friends to have a musical conversation you should approach it like you might never get this chance again, so every self-expression venture should be with vigour (smile).
It’s often a difficult process to synchronise a band that consists of so many individuals performing in other outfits. How does The Monkeywrench bridge that gap and formulate new tracks for an album?
You rely on everyone to feed off of each other for ideas.
Does The Monkeywrench provide a great experimental platform for you all where you get to explore musical styles and techniques that are a little outside of your bread-and-butter bands?
I can only speak for myself, but I think you should always be reaching, exploring because there is so much that you can tap into when it comes to self-expression. Anything else leads to stagnation.
Having been instrumental to the indie rock scene and having watched it evolve over two+ decades, what is your current view of the musical landscape?
Something is always brewing deeper underground that has no name, or uniform, or rules and I personally hope that DIY spirit will outlast life. Expect more joyful turbulence, it comes in cycles (smile).
Having meet and worked with so many amazing artists and individuals over the years, were there any words of wisdom spoken to you that really resonated with you and altered the way you approached making your music?
Not so much words as much as validation to be doing some sort of self-expression if only just for yourself. One “breakthrough” for me was the idea that ALL sound is valid and that there are so many more ways to get sound out of an instrument then what the rules say. Use everything you can to get your particular message out. That opened lots of doors and windows inside of me and gave me lots more ammunition to work with.
It is interesting mapping the trajectories of some bands and seeing how some break through the stratosphere and some simply break up. Considering that you have been a mainstay in the industry for many years, are there some acts that have surprised you with their lack of success or longevity?
If there was an answer to this one or some sort of outline, we would all be rich (big smile). The list is endless. The bigger question is why are YOU doing this?
Lastly, what can punters expect when they catch you during one of your capital shows?
Hopefully a big grin on their face.
Thanks for your time.
THE MONKEYWRENCH AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016:
THURS 17TH NOV – CROWN & ANCHOR, ADELAIDE
FRI 18TH NOV – THE TOTE, MELBOURNE
SAT 19TH NOV – RIVER ROCKS, GEELONG
SUN 20TH NOV – CHERRY BAR, MELBOURNE
WED 23RD NOV – BRISBANE HOTEL, HOBART
THURS 24TH NOV – THE BASEMENT, CANBERRA
FRI 25TH NOV – NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB, SYDNEY
Keep up to date with The Monkeywrench on Facebook.
Interview by Courtney Dabb.