There is no doubt in my mind that John Ford is a very fine musician. I like him for the fact that he is adaptable. From Prog-folk to rock to Punk, John can turn his ‘style’ on. I was somewhat taken aback when I discovered that Toronto based musician Thomas D’Arcy was planning a Monks tribute night. The Monks were a band (loose definition) that John Ford and his friend Richard Hudson created in the late 70’s. One cannot fight the fact that The Monks were successful. They had two big hits Nice Legs, Shame About The Face, and Drugs In My Pocket. They were a fun punk oriented band. A band that seemed designed to take the mickey out of the popular music of the time. John Ford denies this accusation, he claims that he and Richard Hudson were embracing the new punk sound, not slamming it.

Nice Legs is a fine example.

Personally I think he is full of BS! But history is what it is.

I was somewhat surprised to discover that The Monks were being reinvented. Toronto based Thomas D’Arcy has planned a Monks spectacular! Best of all, Thomas has lured John Ford into the fray! On July 26 the world will once again meet the Monks! My advice is to lock up your small animals and children!

Quite why anyone would play in the realm of Bad Habits, is beyond me. But I was curious. The obvious way forward was to talk to Thomas D’Arcy. Here is our encounter:

It is hard to know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with an observation. I have been a fan f John Ford for a very long time. I was dismayed but not really surprised when the Strawbs imploded. Hudson Ford, were fun, but they never quite hit the top. I frankly rolled my eyes when they reinvented themselves as The Monks. On the surface it was as if they had lost their minds! Two very talented musicians pretending that they didn’t have a clue!

While John denies it, I still think that they were ‘taking the piss’ out of the popular music of the day.

I don’t think it was taking the piss. You can’t make a record that good with making fun of something as your sole intention. It’s just not possible. I like to think of it more as a tongue in cheek thing. It would have been fun, and various parts of the genre must have seemed silly, but they respected it. Like if I made a hip-hop record today. I respect the genre, but don’t really belong in it. It would be fun, and maybe even good, but a distorted vision of it. That’s sort of what makes Bad Habits so unique.

Tell me a little about yourself, a thumbnail bio?

I am Thomas D’Arcy of many Toronto bands, most recently Small Sins. I will be putting out records solo from now on I think. Technically the Monks covers record is my first release as ‘Thomas D’Arcy’. I do session work, produce local bands from time to time, write music for film, tv and advertising, and generally take a lot of different kinds of gigs. As long as I like what I’m doing, I’ll work on it.
Is this a one off tribute to the Monks, or an ongoing project?

I’m not sure. If I ever record covers of another record, it will probably be a different band. I like to keep moving on to new things, and my solo stuff takes up a lot of my time. Steve and I have talked about maybe covering a Beach Boys record one day. Bad Habits was a great place to start though.

As far as the show, who knows. I think John has already expressed interest in performing this in other cities, and I’m open to that. I know it would be successful pretty much anywhere in Canada. I guess we’ll see how this first one goes and proceed from there.

Why the interest in the Monks?

Since I was a kid I’ve always loved Bad Habits. I’ve toured the country so many times at this point, and that record has always been in the van or bus or whatever. It’s just so much fun to listen to, and pretty much sounds good on any stereo. Such a big part of Canadian culture, and I knew that Monks-lovers would come out of the woodwork to be a part of it.

The poster for the big event, I understand that you are the model. Tell me a little about that. Actually lets pull up the original album cover.

badhabits.jpg

We completely re-made it from scratch. My friend Victor Tavares took the photo, insisting that I shave my legs, which I did. People said it would be itchy when it grew back in, but it wasn’t. He photo-shopped in the white walls, drew the bowl himself and put it all together in such a way that we didn’t use one single element from the original cover. It’s almost too good of a copy though. People keep thinking I just photo-shopped my head on to the original, but no, those are my sexy legs!

july-26-monks-poster.jpg

Who else is in the band?

The house band will be Gregory Macdonald (Sloan), James Robertson (Golden Dogs), Steve Krecklo (Small Sins) and myself. As for the guests on the recording, we have John Kastner from The Doughboys singing Spotty Face, Chris Murphy from Sloan singing Love in Stereo, Chris Colohan from Cursed singing Drugs in My Pocket, Ian Blurton from c’mon singing No Shame, Kurt and Ryan Dahle from Limlifter/The New Pornographers playing on Love In Stereo, Dave Gilby from Pursuit of Happiness playing drums on Inter-City Kitty, as well as a bunch of other guys on a bunch of other stuff. Too much to list really. Some of these guests will be performing at the show, but I’m keeping it a secret as to which ones.

Obviously you are a John Ford fan, are you excited to have the opportunity to play with him?

ABSOLUTELY. I CAN’T WAIT.

Do you like John’s work outside of the Monks?

I have to admit I’ve been a bit lazy with following the other projects. I’ve listened to The Strawbs from time to time, and enjoyed it, but The Monks is what I really connect to in my heart.

Do you have a website, facebook, etc?

Well just a couple.

www.thomasdarcymusic.com

http://www.facebook.com/events/360975840642737/

www.smallsinsmusic.com

Quite honestly I am beyond words. I live way too far from Toronto to attend this event, but I certainly hope that someone takes a video camera along. I can’t wait to see the footage!

Simon Barrett

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