|History of the Monsters ...so far
|Monsters from the Surf first practice was in the spring of 1985.
Mark “Smed” Muldoon (guitar), Ron Johnson (drums) and Kevin
O’Brien (bass and vocals) had been playing together for several
years, originally with Tommy and Pete Lancaster (now a popular
Hagerstown, MD blues musician) as the Six Quick Beans. They
then became a 3-piece known as The Six, doing surf, garage and
standard rock and blues with Bob Malzone singing for a while
including two memorable Krazy Otto’s shows. Rob Hornung, a
guitar-playing friend of Kevin’s (both from New Carrolton, MD)
came to a practice in 1985 and the rest is history. The band
gradually began doing mostly surf, punk, garage and rockabilly
stuff. Eventually Rob and Kevin began writing originals. At this
time the band was influenced by the likes of the Ventures,
Ramones, Cramps, Dick Dale, Link Wray and DEVO.
They played one party as “Bud and the Intoxicators” with Jon
Brown on vocals only to be quickly shut down by police. The band
contemplated the names “Heavy Leaking Pumps” and “Boogers
and Phlegm” before deciding on “The Cone of Silence” which only
lasted a short time before Ron accidentally taped
“Monster From The Surf” off late night Channel 20 (DC) .
After watching the movie, following a Swirl Lane practice, the band
name was changed.
The band's first show was at the Kazz Club in DC in March 1988
($4) with a great turnout (mostly friends). MFS played many great
shows during the late 80s – early 90s at the d.c. space (where they
encountered cat-sized rats and had equipment stolen at several
shows) with bands such as Go To Blazes (MFS 1st space show),
The Untamed Youth, The Rhomboids, Date Bait and the A-Bones.
The Monsters have played many great parties – No Survivors, with
guest singer Jack's incomparable Batman vocals, Smed’s dive
through the bushes and Slip ‘n Slide destruction before any kids got
to use it and Rob's de-pantsing, The Roedown, the unforgettable
outdoor party (July 4, 1992) in Upper Marlboro with the bone
crushing water slide and of course, Micknick's annuals. Many hole-
in-the-wall bars – Café Tattoo, Memory Lane, Sidebar and Ottobar,
15 Minutes (place with cafeteria), Phantasmagoria (frequented by
the infamous “Dancing Guy”), Politiki, Iota Club and O’Carrolls with
some great bands including the Car Thieves, the Spins, El Quatro,
Janine Wilson, Jumpin' Jupiter, Beatnik Flies, Ubangis, Garage
Sale, Agent Raygun, Space Cossacks, Johnny Love and Speed,
Glenmont Popes, Amazing Crowns, Hillbilly Hellcats, and Reach
Around Rodeo Clowns.
Over the years, the Monsters have also played some larger venues
– 9:30 Club (both old and new) in DC and Roots Café, Feltchers
and 8x10 in Baltimore. They've had some memorable shows with
Dick Dale, the Slickee Boys, Southern Culture on the Skids,
Laika and the Cosmonauts, Barrence Whitfield, Bill Kirchen & Too
Much Fun, Deke Dickerson & the Ecco-fonics, the Swinging
Neckbreakers and Grandsons of the Pioneers. The band has
played in every Night of 100 Elvises to date (18 so far), a charity
event for the Children of Johns Hopkins held annually at the
Lithuanian Hall in Baltimore with 25-30 bands & Elvis impersonators.
The Monsters were chosen to compete in the DC region's Little
Steven's Underground Garage Battle of the Bands in 2004 with
nine other bands which included the Nuclears (the original
winners), the Tail Draggers, Los Hermanos Rodriguez and the
Beatnik Flies. While the Monsters received a great crowd
response, the judges did not agree.
Band members have changed somewhat over the years with Kevin
leaving (to form Blue Miracle) in 1993 and being replaced by Tom
Quinn on bass. Alex (from Date Bait) filled in for about 6 months
while Tom sailed around the world. Smed moved to Texas in 1994
and the Monsters went 3-piece until Mike Micknick began playing
rhythm in 2000. Smed moved back to Elkton, MD (11/2 hours from
College Park where the band now practices), and jams with the
band when he can. Michael Miller, Kevin, Theresa Hornung, Lori
Carpenter and Walter sing with the Monsters on occasion.
Practice sites have covered a wide range of places. The band
initially practiced in Randy and Judy Johnson’s garage on Friday
nights while their baby son was sleeping (?). From there practices
were moved to a detached garage (Bonitas House) in a scary part
of DC. After a year or 2 of this, they began getting together in the
basement of “Flying Scissors Unisex” Hair Salon. Again, this was a
short stay and practice began at the DAV Hall in Bowie where the
boys could hang with the Vets afterwards for a pitcher and a few
games of shuffleboard. Micknick's auto shop was used periodically
after this and finally, the band wound up at Rob’s house when he
lived in Calverton and then in College Park where he now resides.
After years of putting a song here and there on compilation CDs
and a handful of less-than-satisfactory studio sessions, the
Monsters finally finished their long-awaited first CD at the end of
2004. The follow-up CD "Refrigerator" was released in 2008.
|One of the Monsters
almost became famous
(click to enlarge)
|Smed at dc space
in the late '80s