100 Monkeys
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    Genre: Rock
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Scene Magazine

Decidedly without ego, their music
is hard to describe. A first pass
resulted in this: they sound like The
Doors if Jim Morrison had spent time in the
Caribbean (too bad Rolling Stone beat us to
the Jimmy M comparison). But whoever said
nailing down a 100 Monkeys would be easy?
“We like to say that there’s twenty monkeys
in each of our heads,” says Jackson Rathbone,
whose parents are from Louisiana. “You see
one of us, you see twenty monkeys. I think
that’s where our inspiration comes from.
We all have really diverse backgrounds in
music, but we all really vibe on the same
tunes.” The five-man band is comprised
of Jackson, Jerad Anderson, Ben Johnson,
Ben Graupner and Lawrence Abrams.
With terrestrial radio dying a swift
death, FM is replete with commercialized
clones who can’t write, sing or play
instruments. Homogenization is being
rewarded. Success apparently no longer
requires any musical ability, something
that the Monkeys have in spades.
“We’ve all been in music all of our lives.
We’ve all been in different bands, though I
think Lawrence beats us all,” laughs Jackson.
“He used to play with Ike and Tina Turner
and tour with the USO.” At fifty-eight years
old, Lawrence “Uncle Larry” Abrams is
by leaps and bounds the group’s patriarch.
After several live listens, this is certain:
at every 100 Monkeys show, five gifted
musicians distill a myriad of musical talents
down to funk. A mix of sing-along rock,
reggae, bongos, cowbell and baritone
vocals aplenty, their raucous shows are
pure fun. The stripped down sound of 100
Monkeys is the death knell of disingenuous
pop. They are the antidote to Auto-Tune.
“We’re music lovers.” Jackson says. “We
like to take a little bit of everything. Take
our new album, Liquid Zoo. It’s got really
soulful numbers and ballads, poppy reggae
tunes, punk, hard rock songs: it’s all across
the board. We’re really excited about it.”
For the last several months, 100 Monkeys
has been selling out shows around Louisiana,
where they are based due to Rathbone’s
commitment to playing vampire Jasper Hale
in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. It’s
a role that has shown a bright light on the
band since 2008’s Twilight. “It’s always great
to have an audience to draw people to the
different things that move us, like the Spencer
Bell Memorial Foundation. We’re able to
get Spencer’s music heard literally around
the entire world and that’s just an incredible
feeling,” says Jackson. “Luckily I’ve had a
certain success, but I’m definitely not where
I want to be yet. We’re always pursuing.
That’s the artistic endeavor, to never really be
satisfied. And the thing we’re most terrified of
is complacency. We’re always hungry. We’re
always fighting it. That’s why none of us sleep,
and why 24/7 we’re producing films, albums,
acting in films, writing stories for movies,
playing on tour, recording. There’s just not
one piece of the arts that we don’t enjoy.”
Proving that point, band members
Rathbone and Jerad Anderson, along with his
wife and producing partner Kristina Lauren
Anderson, debuted Girlfriend at the 2010 Toronto
International Film Fest. The film sold out all of
its screenings. “We
both acted in it as
well, and it was
only natural to have
the band score the
movie,” says Jerad.
“It’s about a small
town single mom
who is romantically
pursued by this
kid who has Down
Syndrome. He gets
in the middle of this
love triangle with her
ex-boyfriend, who’s
played by Jackson,
and chaos ensues.”
A throwback
to the minimalist
movies that defined independent film in the
early 1990s, Girlfriend is a deftly crafted example
of character-study cinema. It features standout
performances from veteran actress Amanda
Plummer, Raising Hope’s Shannon Woodward
and the film’s star, newcomer Evan Schneider.
“He’s been an actor in the theatre for years since
he was a little kid,” says Jackson. “We were lucky
enough to put together the first leading role for
an actor with Down Syndrome in a feature film.”
“Evan’s a brilliant actor, actually,” says
Jerad. “His life goal is to be an actor.
He’s been in like four films now. We
have a distributor and we’ll probably be
coming out in the springtime of [2011].”
Girlfriend’s gentle, understated score is a far
departure from 100
Monkeys usual on-
stage antics. Rather
than a showcase
of keyboard
bravado and guitar
funk, the film’s
original music
showcases the
band’s range with
calming drums
and heartrending
strings. A natural
extension of the
band’s background,
composing for
film is something
they are looking
to do more of,
both for their own projects and others.
In addition to Girlfriend’s release, 2011
brings their second studio album, Liquid
Zoo, set to debut in late February. And soon,
they’ll premiere a new music video for “The
Fair,” shot at the Louisiana State Fair with
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back star Jason
Mewes, who was in town filming Zombie
Hamlet. We can tell you this: the future for
100 Monkeys is filled with promise. And
funk. For more, visit the Monkeys official
website at www.100monkeysmusic.com.

Scene Magazine


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  • Members:
    M. Lawrence Abrams, Ben Johnson, Jerad Anderson, Ben Graupner, Jackson Rathbone
  • Sounds Like:
    described by SPIN.com as “funk rock”, by RollingStone.com as “tribal sounds with vocals recalling Jim Morrison’s baritone croon.” Beyond Race Mag says “sing-along-worthy, sometimes bluesy” & MTV says a mix of “Iggy Pop with theRaconteurs.
  • Influences:
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
    01/11/11
  • Profile Last Updated:
    06/08/18 14:45:29
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