Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Not Walking Dollar Signs

February 1, 2008

Not Walking Dollar Signs
The Ghost of Monkshood develops a following by sticking to its ideals
By Marilyse Diaz

In a world where the blogosphere is whipped into a frenzy over a new band every week and bands are plucked out of their hometowns for multi-record deals after few or absolutely zero local shows, it’s refreshing to see a band that’s doing music the old fashioned way: creating a fan base by playing relentlessly. Norman-based Ghost of Monkshood strives to inspire that fearless creative community.
“It’s important to share ideas and stay in touch with the community,” said Chase Spivey, founding member and guitarist for the Monkshood. Spivey told a story about a certain local band which latched on to the Monkshood as they got more and more popular, then moved on from the Monkshood quickly when they scored a record deal.
“They were businessmen,” Spivey said. “It really wasn’t about the music, just making money.”
Chris McDaniel, bassist for the Monkshood, echoed the frustration with the current state of music.
“A lot of bands will do anything for an opening spot,” said Chris McDaniel, of the Monkshood.
That’s not to say that Spivey and McDaniel don’t believe in being aggressive in support of their own music. Much to the contrary, they believe that the right type of aggressiveness, even the right type of ego, is necessary for all bands to succeed.
“You’ve got to stay unique, stay passionate,” said McDaniel.
Spivey agrees.
“You have to believe in [your music] for people to take it seriously,” said Spivey.
The band does believe in its music, and as a result doesn’t pander to anyone. Instead of pandering to people to find fans, The Ghost of Monkshood finds a way to relate to people through their music. Their unique passion for their music, as well as their genuine love for their fans are both major factors in attracting people to get involved and help create a music scene that is excited about the music.
The Ghost of Monkshood brings their values into how they reach and interact with their audience, something many bands rarely consider. Sure, if people think a band is entertaining they will go to see them again but the Monkshood understands that keeping things fresh is important.
“We like playing house parties and [giving] them something new,” said McDaniel. Spivey was even more succinct.
“I don’t like to repeat myself,” said Spivey.
They certainly don’t have any trouble keeping it fresh. Like Oklahoma’s weather, one can never know what to expect from these musicians at any given time. The band has had training in 10-15 different instruments – who knows what kinds of sounds they are capable of? In addition to vast technical prowess, Monkshood has a unique approach when it comes to instruments.
“Everything we see can be an instrument,” said Spivey.
So what does this hardworking, passionate band with tons of musical ability that connects with its fans sound like?
In true form, Spivey related it back to the fans. Spivey suggested that when thinking of the Monkshood’s psychedelic, experimental pop sound one should think of it as “shower music.”
“You’re just you, no ego. [Your] real self,” Spivey said. “I don’t believe in genres.”
The things that make the Monkshood admirable as musicians are their ideals and how they truly have mutual respect for their fans. They are humble people with abstract ideas; those characteristics alone are hardly found in artists today.
The Monkshood’s next album is coming out soon, but it won’t be for sale. No, instead of paying these musicians for all their hard work and creativity the Monkshood is simply giving the album away for free.
“[We] just want to get it out there,” said Spivey. They haven’t decided on a name yet, but are releasing their album on the band’s website ghostofmonkshood.net
The members of Ghost of Monkshood are real artists, not wolves in sheep’s clothing. They have defined themselves as a band that sees their fans as people and not walking dollar signs. They give to the community through their dedication to their art and the community gives back through its loyal support. Not many bands have that kind of following, and few can hope to attain it. It all begins and ends with the fans for Spivey:
“We’re trying to inspire people,” he said.

Band websites:
ghostofmonkshood.net
www.myspace.com/ghostofmonkshood

Marilyse Diaz
mjork@independentclauses.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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