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L.A. Beat

MonkeyJunk celebrates 15 years with new videos, music and tour

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Get ready to rock out March with the Geomatic Attic who are going to get you dancing with MonkeyJunk and Peter and the Wolves, March 30 at the German Canadian Club.


Ottawa based blues trio MonkeyJunk have been putting their own unique brand on blues music for 15 years, so they are excited to be play again together in between many other projects.

 Frontman Steve Marriner has a great new solo album “Hope Dies Last,” and spends a lot of the year touring with Colin James.

 Drummer Matt Sobb also has several different projects and plays with guitarist Tony D’s (Diteodoro)  band.

MonkeyJunk return to Lethbridge with Peter and the Wolves, March 30. Photo by Richard Amery


 Sobb is excited about the 15th anniversary tour  with MonkeyJunk , which is just one of many plans they have for  2023 including releasing videos and a new single, due out March 24.

“It feels like it’s gone by super quick and a lifetime all at the same time. It’s kind of  strange,” Sobb said.


“When you’re going about your business you don’t really notice how much time goes by. But it’s kind of an opportunity to look back at all the miles we‘ve driven and all the places we‘ve been and it’s kind of fun to look back and look forward too, ” Sobb said.


While Marriner is also busy with other projects, Sobb and Diteodoro go back a long way even before MonkeyJunk formed.


“Before we formed MonkeyJunk, I played drums in the Tony D band. And Tony has fronted his own band for many many years, since the early ’80s. And so I’ve been playing with Tony since 2001. So when MonkeyJunk isn’t active I play with Tony in his band and I also play around the Ottawa scene with a lot of local bands here as well. Tony is busy continuing on with his own career. And all those things happen in between MonkeyJunk happening,” Sobb continued.


He noted it can be challenging to put the Monkeyjunk suit back on after spending time on other projects, but Sobb said the band has a special connection.


“That’s a really good question. And depending on the size of the break in between our shows or getting together the studio or what have you, it kind of varies. It’s crazy to me, well not crazy, but it’s intriguing to me how when we get together it’s like time never passed. It’s like that comfortable old sweater you just throw on and go. And it feels like time hasn’t passed at all. I think that’s the mark of a pretty good band that there’s that chemistry musically and personally and camaraderie,  just the cohesion that happens when the three of us are in a room or on a stage,” he said.

MonkeyJunk have some  big plans for their 15th anniversary including lots of touring beginning with a quick tour of Alberta, starting in Coleman at the Rumrunner, March 29.


“Beginning with this tour, we’re headed back out to to Alberta. Alberta’s been a great, great area for us almost since the start of our band and we‘ve played in Lethbridge many times. This show as well as I think pretty much every show we’ve done in Lethbridge has been organized and presented by the great folks at the Geomatic Attic by Mike Spencer and his crew. Mike is great. He’s always supported us and we’ve always had a great time in Lethbridge as a result. And then we’ll be playing a few other shows including one in Coleman, Alberta down near Crowsnest Pass and of course Calgary and Edmonton,” he said.

“Mike Spencer and the Geomatic Attic has always been great to us and we really appreciate their support,” he said.


“We really appreciate the support of live music fans in Lethbridge. We’ve always had great shows. I think it was two years ago that Mike had set up a one day festival up  and it was like on top of a parking garage and it was great. Folks came out and we had an amazing evening there. It’s always been great in Lethbridge. We‘ve made some lasting friends there and just can’t wait to get back there and see everybody again,” he said.

“We’re very excited to get back to Alberta. Hopefully the weather will be okay. We’ll see,” he said.


They are also releasing a series of live videos including one with harp master and multi- instrumentalist Paul Reddick, who the band has worked with for many years .

“We came up with this idea. We’re doing a couple of things to commemorate our 15th anniversary  as a band. And one of the ideas  we had was to do a series of live videos. And invite some friends and colleagues and co-conspirators and people that we have a  history with or that have been influential to us and what have you. So far we’ve released two of them. Our plan was to release 15  for the  15 years throughout the  calendar year 2023. The first one was just ourselves the three of us. The second one was with Paul Reddick,” he said.

“ For those that don’t know Paul, he is unofficially referred to as the poet laureate of the blues in Canada. He’s just an incredible artist in his own right, a fantastic songwriter and a lyricist. And we‘ve collaborated wth Paul several times over the course of our three latest releases . And just artistically we just seem to really fit well together,” he said of the song “One Had Wings” from their third album “All Frequencies.”


 The way it started is we had a song written and we didn’t have lyrics written and we were having a bit of a tough time. We got this instrumental track done, let’s send it to Paul and see what he can come up with. And quite literally the next day he had a complete set of lyrics that were so fitting to the mood that we were feeling and they stuck. We recorded the song with those lyrics. And that song‘s called “Once Had Wings” and that’s the song that’s featured as part two of our video series. And Paul’s a great harmonica player as well and we’ve been fortunate to do some shows together where he’ll get up with our band and as a guest and play some of his songs and he’ll play on some of our songs . So it’s a real kindred friendship, you could say,” Sobb said.


They don’t have a new album coming out this year, but they will be releasing a new single on March 24 called “Shotgun Love” which they recorded last September in Vancouver and finished recording at Jimmy Bowskill’s  Ganaraska Recording company in Port Hope, Ontario where Steve Marriner recorded several of the tracks from his solo CD “ Hope Dies Last.”


“ That’s where we’ve done some of the live videos. So that’s very exciting for us. It’s just one song for now and we’ll see how the rest of the year progresses. But I’m very excited. All three of us I think are very excited about the prospect of releasing new music to the world and specifically in Canada,” he said.

“ We started working on songs during the pandemic and there was a lot of stopping and starting and we kind of came up with ideas, but they were just fragments of songs. This is the first song that has seen completion and you’ll all get to hear it on Friday, March 24,” he said.


One of Sobb‘s other projects is a rockabilly band, so he is excited to trade notes with Peter and the Wolves in Lethbridge, March 30.

“We have not played wth Peter and the Wolves yet and I’m very excited to get to meet those guys and see them play and play together. One of my other projects here in Ottawa is a rockabilly band so I’m excited to compare notes and chat about influences and favourites,” he said.


“But the bottom line with this show is high energy music music get people up and dancing. I have no doubt that’s what they’ll deliver and that’s what we’ll deliver too,” Sobb said, adding they will be playing music from all their albums as well as the new single.


“As far as our show goes. We’ve always tried to play songs from the full range of all five of our albums. And we‘ll continuing to be doing that and of and of course we’ll injecting the new single into the live show. We always like to throw in a cover here and there. While we’ve always pride ourselves in being an original artists we also really feel indebted to the musicians and bands that have influenced us and like to pay tribute to them. So there’s always a couple things thrown in,” he said.


“We’re all very busy with other projects in addition to MonkeyJunk so time can be a bit of at a premium lately. But we have carved out some time to prep for this tour and we]re going to be bringing some old songs from our records that we haven’t played in quite a while and maybe some new covers and old covers we used to play. But the only way to find out is to come to the show,” Sobb chuckled.


Sobb noted Monkeyjunk combines a lot of different influences and styles. 


“ Quite often Monkeyjunk is talked about in the blues music circles , which is great. The blues is the central influence of our band. When we started the band it was our intention to put a new and unique spin on traditional blues. From that point I think our band has evolved quite a bit into a more contemporary original band that definitely has one foot in the blues and definitely also has another foot in a fairly wide range of other genres and influences ranging everywhere from folk music, roots music, rock and roll for sure, funk,  R and B and soul and stuff like that. There’s kind of  shades of all of those types of influences that have seeped into our songs. But as far as the live show goes, specifically the Lethbridge show, it’s all about big energy and dancing and having a good time. So folks can definitely expect a pretty upbeat night of music,” Sobb promised.


“ We never want to play the same show twice. We want to keep it fresh and all that. But it’s really exciting to me that when time does pass between getting together that we seem to jus t right get back on it,” he said.


The details of the shows are available at

Tickets for the blues and rockabilly dance party with MonkeyJunk and Peter and the Wolves are $50.

 The show begins at the German Canadian Club at  8 p.m., Thursday, March 30.

— By Richard Amery l.A. Beat editor

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 April 2023 14:23 )  
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