Dave Day: Monks banjo player


Dave Havlicek (Dave Day), banjo player, guitarist, singer and songwriter: born 1941; married; died Renton, Washington 10 January 2008.

Dave Day was the electric banjo player with the Monks, the rock'*'roll band made up of GIs stationed in Germany in the Sixties. They first played surf and beat music in the style of the Ventures and the Sonics, but soon developed a striking look – involving tonsures and the occasional cassock – to match their proto-punk sound.

Using chanting, feedback, improvisation, repetitive riffs and primal rhythms, and delivering subversive tirades against the Vietnam war and the atomic bomb, the Monks were ahead of the times. The debt that bands such as the Fall, the Fuzztones and the Gossip owe them was repaid when these musicians took part in Silver Monk Time: a tribute to the Monks in 2006. The Krautrock connoisseur Julian Cope has called the Monks' only album Black Monk Time "a gem born of isolation and the horrible deep-down knowledge that no-one is really listening to what you're saying".

Dave Halicek, born in 1941, was stationed with the US army in Gelnhausen, Germany, in the early Sixties where, as Dave Day, he joined the Torquays. In 1965, they recorded and released a single, "Boys are Boys"/"There She Walks", and soon became the Monks. Day switched from rhythm guitar to a six-string banjo, which he electrified.

"I used two microphones that were placed inside the banjo, a Vox amp and a speaker," he said. "I played the banjo like a guitar, only a lot harder." Day's banjo added a staccato element to an already frantic sound. "The GIs enjoyed us as the Torquays a lot more than the Monks," Day said. "But our Monk music was way before its time."

After leaving the army at the end of 1965, the group signed to Polydor in Germany and issued three singles as well as Black Monk Time (1966), an album recorded on four track which became very collectable over the years, with original vinyl copies changing hands for up to $1,000, until the first of many reissues on CD in 1994. In 1967, most of the group returned to the US and simply hung up their cassocks, but Day stayed on in Germany until the mid-Seventies.

In 1999, the Monks reunited to perform in the US for the first time, at Cavestomp, a garage band event held in New York. They subsequently appeared in Germany, Austria, the UK and Spain. A documentary, Monks: the transatlantic feedback, was released in 2006.

Pierre Perrone

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine