I'm thinking back to 1997, the first year that New Brunswick hosted the East Coast Music Awards in Moncton. As the local music watcher for CBC, I got elevated to the lofty post of guest analyst on Morningside, with Peter Gzowski broadcasting live from the festivities. And about halfway through the discussions of various fiddlers and songwriters, Gzowski threw me a curve ball, asking, "Now what's all this about The Monoxides?"
Luckily, I was fully informed of Moncton's hometown heroes. The Monoxides had played the night before at a showcase that I'd witnessed in a smallish club. Standing quite close to the front just before the show, I realized I was beside Chris Murphy of Sloan. He took a look at the lineup of amps and speakers buzzing away on the still-empty stage, pulled out a pair of earplugs, and advised me, "This is going to be really loud." Realizing I was talking to an expert, I quickly scuttled to the back to avoid serious hearing loss.
They were more than just loud, they were explosive and fun, where punk meets rawk. 1997 was the year of excitement for the Moncton outfit. The band was signed to BMG's Canadian label Vik Records, and had a debut album released, Galaxy Of Stooges featuring the favourites "(Can't Get) Excited" and "Little Bitta Rosie." It was produced by The Pursuit of Happiness leader Moe Berg, who still calls it one of the best experiences of his career. A follow-up, The Free Release Of Energy followed in 2000, but then things slowed down. Aside from occasional gigs and a rare tracks collection, there's been no new music in those 23 years.
Until now. What a great feeling it is to hear a brand-new Monoxides track, "Let Her Know." The song comes out Wednesday, June 28, and is fresh, exciting, and punchy, full of '70's guitar and hooks, a classic earworm for those wondering if real guitar bands still matter. Even better, it's just the start of a busy summer of activity for the group. On August 25, the classic debut Galaxy Of Stooges is getting a re-release, this time on vinyl. As for shows, the band will be part of the big Canada Day celebrations at Moncton's Riverfront Park, along with their old pals Sloan, Les Hay Babies, and the Elsipogtog Spirit Singers. They are also part of the big Area 506 Festival in Saint John, joining Billy Talent and others on Aug. 5. And for that up close and personal experience, the group is doing an in-store appearance in Saint John on Aug. 19 at Second Spin Records.
More good news: There's another single scheduled for release later this year, and that's leading up to a full album planned for 2024. I can get excited!