Dave “Day” Havlicek Was a Garage-Punk Visionary

More than a Monk.

In Late December, I hosted the year-in-review edition of KEXP's Audioasis and paid tribute to some of the local musicians who passed away in 2007, including Vaccines and Los Hornets frontman Slim McCarroll, New Mexicans guitarist Joe Crawford, and Cowboys leader Ian Fisher. I didn't think that less than three weeks later, I'd already have to be thinking about even more local losses. Early in the morning on Jan. 7, Bellingham-based musician Michael Griffin, who was the violinist in Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live and played in the noise duo Noggin, passed away due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Behead the Prophet drummer Jordan Rain is currently working on a documentary about Griffin and cites him as an inspiration and supportive force within improvised noise circles. "Michael encouraged anyone curious about music regardless of talent and got a lot of people started on a path to true creative expression," wrote Rain in an e-mail. The Monks were a seminal garage-punk band made up of American GIs who met in Germany in the mid-'60s, but thanks to the jovial presence of their electric banjo player, Dave "Day" Havlicek, around the Northwest over the past several years (he was a native of Renton), they had strong ties to the Seattle music community. They were welcomed with open arms and befriended by admiring musicians like the Cops and the family of reissue renaissance men who run Light in the Attic Records, and running into Havlicek at a rock show or house party had become a frequent experience in recent years. Sadly, on Thursday, Jan. 10, the news began filtering through the community that Havlicek had died that day after suffering a massive heart attack a few days earlier. Light in the Attic co-owner Matt Sullivan broke the news to SW, saying, "For me, the Monks are the definition of everything right about rock 'n' roll. They had a truly insane vision and so brilliantly pushed the boundaries—from sound to style. Their sole album, Black Monk Time, stands up against any record, now or then, any genre. We wouldn't be doing what we do if it wasn't for the Monks," he said, referring to LITA's primary mission of reissuing out-of-print treasures by overlooked artists. Funhouse co-owner and booking agent Brian Foss is one of the few who were fortunate enough to catch the band's reunion show in Las Vegas in 2004. "I really didn't know what to expect. I hoped their set would be OK. I still didn't expect much from them. Man, was I wrong! They didn't pretty up their old songs, or jam them out Grateful Dead–style. They basically played the Black Monk Time album as punchy and as stripped-down as possible." Comet booking agent and garage-rock aficionado Michelle "Mamma Casserole" Smith is currently working on organizing a Monks tribute night, though an exact date was not available at press time. "Unfortunately, I never got to see the Monks live, but have been a fan of their sexy, infectious primal garage beat for a long while," she says. "Bands like the Black Lips wouldn't really exist if it wasn't forthe Monks! I met Dave at the Saturday Knights/Cops gig at Havana that I spun at, and immediately Dave, his wife Irene, and I hit it off. He was such a lovable, free-spirited wild man! He will be missed dearly." Monks frontman Gary Burger echoes Smith's sentiments about Havlicek's animated presence, crediting him as the band member who could be counted on for comic relief but also just general kindness. "I think David would most like to be remembered as a guy who was true to his music, who was a real musician and a person who deeply cared about his friends and fans," says Burger. "In the Monks, he was the center of attention with the fans, and he earned it. He always made himself available and was loved for it. When the Monks played Circus Krone in Munich with the Kinks, Dave noticed one of the Kinks being rude to a young fan, turning her away from getting his autograph. Dave made a point to go over to the girl, who was crying,and give her his autograph. It made her day!David was great that way. I will miss him very much and remember him as my good friend who would do anythingto helpother people." I'll refrain from quoting Simon and Garfunkel lyrics, but I am relieved to say that there is some good news to report in the Northwest's cycle-of-life department. Three Imaginary Girls' Dana Bos and her husband, David, welcomed their first child, daughter Ainsley Rose Fiona Bos, on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Both mother and child are very happy and healthy. rocketqueen@seattleweekly.com

 
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