Ianitza Hristova sat down with Juno Award winner in 2012 and 2014 nominee MonkeyJunk, composed of Steve Marriner, Tony D and Matt Sobb, before their concert at the l’Astral in Montreal to talk about the Juno award winning and much lauded band. The trio of musical talent explains how they came up with the name MonkeyJunk and what it means, why they play together, and their start in the musical field.
Steve, Matt and Tony have known each other for the “longest time ever” and have played together in various bands prior to creating Monkey Junk. The guys have been friends with one another for about two decades now. About six years ago when band members Steve and Tony were going over some songs for a gig that Steve had, they decided that “it would actually be pretty cool to form a band containing just two guitarists, drums, and harmonica with no base player.” They called up Matt, tried this musical combination out, and found that it worked pretty well. Monkey Junk was born and officially took off.
The name of the band was inspired by an interview that Edward James House Jr. gave where he mentions the term “MonkeyJunk.” With a big smile on his face, Tony asks, “Would you like to know what MonkeyJunk means? MonkeyJunk means to be goofy.” The name resonated well with them. These guys are certainly not silly; they take their music seriously. However, they have a lot of fun producing their music at the same time, which explains why they have so much success with it. They essentially play out of friendship.
What influences MonkeyJunk? They listen to a wide variety of music, however they gravitate to rock, jazz, blues, and classical when they want to “cleanse their musical palate.”
The trio describes their musical genre as swamp, roots and rock, essentially a blues genre that has more of a funk, New Orleans influence, with edgy rock as well. The members all proclaim they are self-taught musicians.
The performance that the guys put on at l’Astral was great! Among the many songs they performed could be heard some from their three CDs such as I Wanna Put a Tiger in Your Tank, While You Are Mine, and Yearnin’ For Yesterday, as well as new material such as Peublo, which cannot be found on their CDs. That night Steve dedicated a song to one of his dear friends as well as to a member of the audience who attended each and every one of MonkeyJunk’s shows in Quebec. In that song, dedicated to this hardcore fan, Steve showed off his soulful harmonica playing. He called the harmonica “the whistle of misery.” The energy on stage was very high. The guys did not stop jamming until the end. And Steve’s French accent was oh so sweet! Tony and Matt were very much in their elements. One could see that the boys were definitely playing from the heart! MonkeyJunk’s music touches core notes.
MonkeyJunk played at L’Astral on April 10th.