In 1982, the drum machine was quietly replaced with drummer Jay Spiegel a.k.a. The Rummager and the band moved from Euro-wave pop toward a more rock-oriented guitar-meets-synth post-punk wash. The band released a cassette EP, an album, and appeared on several compilations before undergoing personnel changes in the mid-1980s that found them with a radically different sound than their electro-pop origins. Ousting all but Spiegel and himself, in 1985 Fleming brought on guitarist Malcolm Riviera of D.C.'s Grand Mal and bassist Rob Kennedy, formerly of D.C.'s The Chumps, and more recently NYC's The Workdogs. The band now turned away from its synth-pop roots completely and developed a twin-guitar driven sound that would later be called grunge by music critics in the late 1980s.
The band's stage show also changed, becoming a kind of glam/trash rock theatre that included light shows, smoke machines, live wrestling with the audience, and even instrument-free lip-syncing. By 1988 the Monkeys had morphed into a full-on rock outfit that lived somewhere between Spinal Tap and The Stooges. Occasionally touring and merging with Maryland's Half Japanese, the band continued their downward (upward?) spiral toward rock 'n' roll suicide toward the end of the decade, eventually re-locating to New York City where they teamed up with such indie celebrities as Thurston Moore, J Mascis, and Julia Cafritz. This supergroup line-up recorded the band's final album, a soundtrack parody called Rake that paid tribute to the 70's blaxploitation film Shaft. The band began to unravel around this time, and Spiegel and Fleming devoted their time to B.A.L.L., which morphed into the major label act known as Gumball in 1992. The band has never officially broken up, and Fleming continues to revive the band when the time is right.
A series of recordings found their way to the record and CD bins through the 1990s as well. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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