Life after gabba-gabba

Hey, it’s Uncle Monk, featuring Tommy Ramone
By BOB GULLA  |  August 17, 2006

You might already know that Pete Depressed and his roving Irish rousers the Gobshites are amid a recording experience at Wellspring Studio, with Depressed and Huck Bennert at the console. In the meantime, they have a big gig coming up with Tommy Ramone’s new project, a band called Uncle Monk. The two have had a relationship for some time now. Pete got ahold of Tommy many years ago when he was trying to track down another Ramone, Johnny, to produce a Meat Depressed recording, Pete’s original gang of restless punks. “Johnny said something along the lines of, ‘Nah, man, that’s Tommy’s gig. Give him a call.” So Pete did. And though Tommy didn’t end up producing Meat Depressed, he heard their demo and gave them some great advice. Best of all, they’ve kept that dialogue going ever since. One of those conversations addressed Tommy’s latest project. “Tommy told me about what he was up to,” says Pete, “and that they were getting ready to tour. So I hooked up this show and also one at the Middle East [in Cambridge, Massachusetts].”

Uncle Monk is perhaps the last thing you’d expect from a Ramone. It’s a surprisingly competent stab at real bluegrass, a duet with Claudia Tienan, formerly of the Simplistics. Together, they take a haunting and authentic stroll through a style of music that is as diametrically opposed to Ramone’s former punk rock as any style out there. Ramone’s production chops — he did Redd Kross’s Neurotic and Tim by the Replacements — certainly help, and his musical sensibility really impresses. The sound is bright and the instrumentation crisply defined. Combine that with the Gobshites’ punk rock songs about drinking — turned into Irish barroom singalongs — and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more colorful night of music. And to top it off, rumor has it that Tommy and the Gobshites will join forces on some Ramones covers.

The gig is Saturday night at the Century Lounge. Also appearing will be solo acoustic act Bo Bailey, rockabilly swingers Lonesome Jukebox, and roots band Reverend Bob and the Darkness. Call 401.751.2255.

Onset Blues
Mississippi-born Morris Holt, aka Magic Slim, is bringing some authentic blues to the Onset (MA) Blues Festival on Saturday. Slim, who goes back quite a ways with his great electric blues band the Teardrops, will be headlining the festival, which has become a worthwhile addition over the years to the region’s deep blues traditions. Other notable performers include Ricky “King” Russell & the Cadillac Horns and Lisa Marie & All Shook Up. Opening sets are by Blu Lobsta and the Moondance Blues Band. The fest gets underway when craft and food vendors begin sales at the Village’s Prospect Park at 9 am; the music starts at 11:30 am in the Gregerman Band Shell amphitheater. There are also other sets around the village at other venues, which adds a nice dimension to the experience. An all-day pass ($20 in advance or $25 the day of) gets festival-goers into all performances, including evening shows. Kids on the shy side of 12 get in free. Call 508.295.7072.

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