Express & Star

Walsall/Solihull outfit The Punk Monkeys riding Wave of debut single - unsigned column

It's the age-old tale of bands up and down the country, and The Punk Monkeys are loving living it.

The Punk Monkeys Photo: Kate Griffiths Photography

Four good friends who meet in the education system and bond over their love of music - in this case punk and rock.

For the four youngsters - two from Walsall and two from Solihull - the education establishment in question is Birmingham Ormiston Academy.

And who knows where this will lead them?

The two Walsall links are Ben on lead vocals and sometimes fills in on bass and Thom on drums, while Elliot and Jack, who share guitar and bass, are the Solihull lads. All four are aged 18.

"We all met at Birmingham Ormiston Academy, with three of us being music students, and Ben in the musical theatre pathway," Thom tells The Star. "We were all in the same social group to begin with, so our love for punk and rock music became a shared passion that eventually lead us to begin performing together.

"We realised the music and connection helped us work as a group because we all shared the same drive and excitement for creating music. At first, it was casual jamming together so we could each refine our skills and play what we enjoyed.

"As we are all in the performing arts, it seemed obvious forming a band would be the right way to go. The more we played, the more we realised how much we clicked together musically as well as socially."

And so those early jamming sessions became something more serious. Some of them have previous experience in bands behind them, so this was brought to the table and some serious groundwork was put in.

"It gradually enabled us to produce and fine-tune our unique sound and helped us realise we deeply enjoyed what we were doing; beyond being a hobby," Thom adds. "Elliot and Jack used to play in bands throughout school, and often played at social events and parties for fun. Ben and I had also been doing extracurricular musical activities for years.

"As The Punk Monkeys we primarily enjoy playing hard rock, punk and classic rock. We drew inspiration from our early and current music idols; Green Day, The Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Royal Blood, The Jam, The Beatles, The Chats and many others."

The Punk Monkeys Photo: Kate Griffiths Photography

They have just released their debut single, a jangly little number called Everlasting Wave on April 4. It is already reaping rewards for them.

"It is now available on all streaming platforms and is doing well, and our following is growing now that fans can listen to us wherever they are. But obviously, we want to get our name and brand out there as much as we can so more people can enjoy our music and follow our journey.

"The second single is due out soon," he adds as a teaser.

They've done well for themselves and have a good early CV of shows that includes events in Birmingham and further afield supporting various artists. But they've also topped the bill themselves at one of the smaller rooms in the O2 Institute which they view as a real feather in their cap.

"The gig that stands out to us is when we headlined the O2 Institute, in which we played for 40 minutes and achieved an encore from the fans, which really helped us feel as if we are on the right track with what we are doing," Thom continues.

"The enthusiasm from our friends, family and fans is the driving force of our gigs, and the high energy of our performances are hard to forget."

But like many others, all that has been put on the backburner as the coronavirus pandemic continues to play havoc with the events industry and all facets of everyday life. So, like many others, they are looking forward to getting going again when life starts to look like normality once more.

"Obviously at the moment we are unable to perform, however this does not stop us from practising and creating in the comfort of our own homes," Thom said. "We have a few more gigs lined up throughout the rest of the year which we could not be more ready for, and we currently have new songs ready to showcase."

And do they have any advice for anyone reading this who might be thinking of starting an act of their own but maybe isn't so sure how to go about it?

"Our advice to anyone starting a band would be practice together as much as you possibly can. It seems obvious but our level of stage presence and performance wouldn’t be as good as it is now if we were not practicing every day at home or in the studio at our college.

"It’s also very helpful to put your name out there as much as you can. Sign yourself up for open mic nights and increase your social media presence so you can reach people from all walks of life.

"You’ll never know who will enjoy your music until you show them yourselves with enthusiasm and passion. Make sure you and your possible band members click and work well together, as it is essential for the creative process."

And the four-piece will be hoping that bond will help carry them far.

The Punk Monkeys can be found on Facebook @thepunkmonkeysband and their debut single Everlasting Wave can be heard on their Spotify page.