Above: Monogamy Party may be done, but Kennedy Carda will never stop smoking and drinking in back alleys.
One day at a show in Tacoma, a hirsute 19-year-old bass player named Yos-Wa walked over to a red-haired 14-year-old Iggy Pop acolyte named Kennedy Carda and grabbed him by the ankles.
“He picked me up and dumped me out for change, and I just happened to have a fuck ton of change that day in my pockets,” says Carda. “I was like, ‘Fuck this guy!’ But then we started hanging out like every week, going to shows.”
Six years later, after recruiting a drummer named Keith Tucker who had never actually played drums before, Monogamy Party wailed its way into the world—a batshit-crazy noise-punk band that has, since its inception three years ago, always seemed as though it were about to completely fall apart.
So it wasn’t entirely surprising that the band recently announced it was officially throwing in the towel after a series of farewell shows, to the collective bummer of the Seattle music scene.
It’s a wonder, in fact, the band lasted as long as it did. Even at its peak, Monogamy Party was literally about to fall out of a window and die.
“One night at the Black Lodge, we had this impromptu show with our friends MTNS,” says Tucker. “All of a sudden, 40 people came in, and it turned into this sweaty tribal mess.”
“They were literally holding me out of the window of a three-story concrete building while I was singing,” says Carda. “I remember thinking ‘This is a dumb idea,’ but also thinking, ‘Fuck that, nobody can top this!’ ”
Above: Monogamy Party's self-proclaimed best show/near death experience.
Nik Christofferson, founder of the label Good to Die, released the band’s first EP, Pus City, and subsequent full-length, False Dancers.
“Kennedy just wanted to fuck with people,” he says. “There was this one show at The Comet for Noise for the Needy where Kennedy stripped and was completely naked for a long time.”
On tour, Monogamy Party’s reputation got it booked with a variety of insane groups, including one New York band called Jugger-nut whose members Tasered themselves during the first song and closed the show with the singer hammering a nail through his penis.
The band also played a Montana storefront that specialized in swords for the zombie apocalypse, whose blacksmiths tempered their blades with bath salts, the powdery drug that drove a man in Miami to famously cannibalize a homeless man’s face.
“You know, I was never really into the shock aspect, or the whole ‘free sex, do drugs’ thing,” says Tucker. “I was more into the idea of punk as this DIY community where bands treated each other like family, not necessarily a place for people to be naked and climb all over stuff.”
The age-old debate about what “punk” means ultimately drove the band apart. Carda wanted to realize his punk-as-performance-art ambitions, while Yos-Wa and Tucker just wanted to play loud music—a tension best exemplified when the two vetoed Carda’s idea for "Monogamy Party Pill Cutters" as a merch item.
The intra-band rift grew. Carda wandered the streets of Capitol Hill in a post-tour vision quest for four days searching for a solution, until he met Ricky Claudon (formerly of Pleasureboaters) drinking coffee in front of Bauhaus and reading an obscure French novel. Claudon owned neither a guitar nor an amp at the time, but joined the band as a guitarist, filling out its drum-and-bass-only set up. Claudon’s blazingly unique guitar style found him sticking forks and knives between his strings to create warbling “feminine bouquets of noise” on top of the band’s aggressive, testosterone-driven riffs (best exemplified by "Wasted Time" below).
With Claudon, Monogamy Party recorded its first, and ultimately only, LP, False Dancers, in a double-wide trailer with electrical problems in Granite Falls. The album cover came from a photograph the band found digging through a pile of old boxes full of colanders out in a barn, surrounded by free-range chickens whose feces were strewn across the yard.
“There were fucking peacocks on the property and rabbits chewing through wires,” says Yos-Wa. “It felt about right for us.”
Despite the success of False Dancers and the promise of Claudon’s singular guitar style, a slew of van breakdowns and weather-related gig cancellations grated on the band’s fragile bond, and the decision was made to call it quits.
In the first of the band’s three post-breakup shows, May 1 at Chop Suey, Carda took shrooms backstage, none of Yos-Wa’s effects pedals worked, and Tucker couldn’t hear his drums.
“It was a disaster, but in a way it was cool,” Carda says. “I’ve always said if we’re going to go out, might as well go out falling completely-fucking-apart all over the place."
"We’re fucking punks, dude.”
MONOGAMY PARTY’S FINAL SHOW With Kinski, Sandrider, Deadkill, Haunted Horses, Blood Drugs. Black Lodge. 9 p.m. Sat., June 7.