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The Monks' Dave Day, R.I.P.
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under miscellany 11 Jan 2008 9:43 AM


This has little to do with comics, but I was crestfallen to read on Pitchfork this morning that Dave "Day" Havlicek, the amazing electric banjo wizard for The Monks, passed away yesterday. The Monks were one of the most badass bands who ever lived; if you don't believe it, check this shit out (or any other clip on YouTube). A group of misfit GIs stationed in Germany during the mid-60s found each other, shaved their heads, and became the first proto-psychobilly/punk rock punk rock band, and they wrote killer songs. Anyway, Dave had long since settled just outside Seattle and I had the pleasure to meet him. In the mid-1990s my then-roommates Jeremy Eaton, John Ramberg, Andy Schmidt and I were rabid Monks fans, and one night we met Dave and his wife at a Young Fresh Fellows show at the Crocodile Cafe. They'd been invited by Scott McCaughey of the Fellows, and we were introduced though him because John and Scott were pals. The four of us were beside ourselves and couldn't believe we were getting face time with a legend like this. But the Monks hadn't had their big renaissance yet (they had domestic CDs reissued in the late-1990s and reunited for a few gigs over the last ten years), and we were amongst a very few folks talking to the Havliceks. In fact, Dave couldn't even believe that there was anyone in their early 20s who knew about the Monks. We told him we not only knew about the Monks, we routinely danced to the Monks. We all talked at the bar for what seemed like a couple of hours, and the Havliceks couldn't have been more gracious to us, and at the end of the night we all exchanged info and promised to get together again. My roomies and I talked about having them over for a BBQ and jam session, which Dave expressed interest in. But we never did it; I think we doubted that he could really have an interest in us stupid kids. This is sure to be one of my great regrets -- I could have jammed with a Monk! Anyway, a decade has passed, and a few months back, I was in the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery one afternoon when Dave and his wife walked in; they were in the neighborhood for a motorcycle show and knew the guys from Georgetown Records (our retail neighbors). We talked for about 20 minutes - amazingly, they remembered me -- and exchanged info again, but that was the last I talked to Dave. R.I.P., Mr. Havlicek, you were a major inspiration to me, and a real sweetheart.