Monster mosh: No monster throws a party like My Monster.
My Monster celebrates the release of its first full-length CD with an all-star party
By Ryan Osterbeck
SEAN "Freak Monkey" Fuller, bassist for the band My Monster, has something to scream about. They're called San Franciscans.
"I heard on Live 105 last week," says Fuller, "some listener called up saying, 'Where is music for us?' meaning the thirtysomethings out there that grew up with '80s and '90s alternative. I wanted to reach through my radio and scream at them and say 'IT IS IN SAN JOSE! DON'T YOU EVER GET OUT OF [SAN FRANCISCO]?'"
Meanwhile, in San Jose, My Monster have seen the live music scene grow along with them, and their CD release show at the Blank Club on Friday night is their kind of quasi tribute to their roots and influences in a local scene that's far from dead. Think of this show as a sort of crash course on the new, maturing forces directing San Jose live music.
The band will bring members from some of the hardest-working, hardest-rocking local outfits—OTTO, Jade of Days, Atomic Mint, Point 3, Kung Fu Vampire—up onstage for inclusive sets.. It's a definitive reflection of just how tight-knit bands in the local scene have become.
My Monster have nearly grown into the potential that they, and we, always knew was there, and now it's their time to prove who they are as a band. The intense and emotive four-piece have just completed their first full-length CD, In Tune With the Voices in Your Head, and have just come off a string of powerful performances at area venues that they've simply rocked. Now, My Monster is poised to bring its attitude-laden alternative rock to the masses.
"This album is the culmination of almost five years of musical creativity as a band," explains drummer Joey Guthrie. "As we go along, our sound is getting more progressive and heavy."
My Monster has a distinct edge over many other local outfits, due in no small part to the twin vocal and guitar attacks of Joyce "Statis" Kuo and MC Shockey that plays out in a delicate counterbalancing dance between serenity and chaos, between love and hate. My Monster makes solid emotional music that hits like a strong kick to the gut, and soars over the random heartless cacophony on the airwaves.
"The lyrics represent love, loss, the struggles of our society," explains Shockey. "We spent a lot of time getting the parts right. ... The new music is darker and more dynamic."
But the sublime aural blending doesn't stop with the two guitarists/vocalists duking it out on the front half of the stage. Behind Statis and MC, Guthrie pounds the kit with a focused calmness while Fuller directs the musical traffic with his bass lines, driving the sound exactly where it needs to go.
It's tight, it spans varying genres and, yes, it's alternative—but what's the secret sauce?
"The new album has a lot of pop sensibility," says Statis, "but I think we secretly want to be a metal band. We started taking a more artistic approach to our music after spending time in the studio."
After several recording attempts at various local studios, ITWTVIYH was eventually cut at the Bones & Knives Studio, working closely with producer Terry Carleton, who also worked with the band on their No Sirens EP.
While sticking to their battle-tested energetic style, the sound on their new tracks (and what's reflected in their live performances) is more mature—and eminently more polished—than My Monster's previous works. Shockey, the main force behind nearly all of My Monster's music, is also largely responsible for the new material, but all the members of My Monster have their hands and personal styles in the creative process—a dynamism that is readily apparent in the band's live shows.
"Our live performances can get a little out of control sometimes," says Statis, "and we have a blast."
"I just flail around and hope I hit the right notes," adds Fuller; "recording is a whole other ball of wax."
Guthrie concurs, "Live performances [are] the only reason that studio time is tolerable."
My Monster plays on Friday (March 2) at 9pm at the Blank Club, 44 S. Almaden Ave, San Jose. Tickets are $10. (408.292.5265)
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