DJ MONKEY'S "ANOTHER EVOLUTION"
AIRBORNE MONKEY RECORDS
DJ Monkey: Biography
Style: Alternative Rap
DJ Monkey sounds like the name of a solo performer--specifically, a solo performer who is part of hip-hop or club, dance and rave music. But DJ Monkey, in this case, is actually the name of a band; DJ Monkey is no more a solo artist than Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jethro Tull, Jesus Jones or Janet Vodka (four other bands with solo artist-like names). Stylistically, DJ Monkey is incredibly difficult to pigeonhole; their work has been influenced by everything from alternative rock, funk, soul, jazz and hip-hop to spoken word and beat poetry. It would be time-consuming to list every artist who has affected the risk-taking, unpredictable DJ Monkey in some fashion, but suffice it to say that the Los Angeles residents have been directly or indirectly affected by everyone from Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Gil-Scott Heron, David Bowie, James Brown and producer Nile Rodgers (of Chic fame) to experimental alternative rappers such as De La Soul, Q-Tip, A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets. DJ Monkey doesn't necessarily identify with the more thuggish and gangsta-minded side of hip-hop; like the alterna-rappers who have influenced them, DJ Monkey approaches rapping as an extension of beatnik and hippie culture. In fact, DJ Monkey co-founder Joey Alkes (b. New York, NY, Jun. 29, 1946) has been quoted as saying that when the hip-hop revolution was getting started in the late '70s and early '80s, he didn't consider it to be radically different from the way beatniks experimented with jazz in the late '50s.
DJ Monkey was formed in Los Angeles in 2002 by Mick McMains (a guitarist, keyboardist, drummer and producer who includes Earl Slick on his resume) and Alkes, a veteran songwriter/vocalist whose material has been recorded by the Plimsouls, Phil Seymour, the Roadrunners and others; Alkes co-wrote the Plimsouls' hit "Million Miles Away," which was heard in the 1982 teen movie Valley Girl. Alkes has also worked as a music critic and a manager; the artists he has managed over the years range from alterna-rockers They Eat Their Own to L.A. shock rock combo Haunted Garage to the Atlanta-based Mother's Finest (an excellent, soul-flavored hard rock/heavy metal band that had a small following but never enjoyed as much commercial success as it deserved). DJ Monkey's other participants have included guitarist Ian McMains (Mick McMains' son), rapper Lil' TipToe, hip-hop deejay MR1 and saxophonist/flutist Mitch Rafal, a.k.a. Count Daddy-O. Not to be confused with Stetsasonic's Daddy-O, Rafal is an ex-member of the quirky, eccentric Space Shot Orchestra (which enjoyed a small cult following in the '80s) and has backed Latino rapper Kid Frost. Actually, Alkes and Rafal were both a part of the Space Spot Orchestra; Alkes co-wrote "The Sphinx," the tune that group is best remembered for. Another Evolution, DJ Monkey's debut album, was released independently on Alkes' own label, Airborne Monkey Records, in 2003.
~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
"Original. Emotional. Fresh. Provocative. Hip."
" 'Another Evolution' could be the most important CD of 2004."
"...melding innovation, the avant-garde and street level music..."
Mark Kirby/DreamForge.Com/Brooklyn, NY
" A daring attempt to synthesize a slew of musical and literary disciplines..cool-jazz/hip hop/soul fantasia...a unique project." Music Connection/Los Angeles
"Just when you thought all musical avenues have been thoroughly explored, along comes an act that blows away past assumptions and rewrites the music books. DJ Monkey is such an act."
John Sollenberger, 'Club Note/Night Life' Pasadena Weekly
This very well may be the most unique, interesting, and best music you'll hear this year and for some to come. Bending genres and blending enough Beatnik swagger and harnessed recklessness to stir up both Ginsberg and Kerouac, this L.A. collective lays down a foundation of seamless and cool drum and bass perfectly tamed into a dark seedy ambiance by edgy trip jazz sax and flute. Vocals are sung, spoken and/or rapped, the group boasts four vocalists, and the entire mix of elements combines with a classy delivery and production to create a clearly vital and relative statement.
Francisco H. Ciriza Night & Day-San Diego Union Tribune/ What's Up Magazine
"They scratch, they dance, they scat, they bump. They wax philosophical, subversive, surreal and comical all on the same canvas. They are jazz, hip-hop, r&b and poetry. ..." Wasim Muklashy, getunderground.com
"...this (Another Evolution) is definitely a five star album...22,000 people said so on the URSCENE-FM Charts! Some of the songs from this CD are actually the first ever to score a perfect 10." Jay Bee (a.k.a. The Educated Thug) Urban Scene Magazine and URBAN SCENE RADIO (URSCENE-FM)
"Did I tell you how much I love the CD? Sort of John Trudell meets OZomatli. "
Filmmaker Eric Mofford