The Monsters was probably the first truly serious band I was in. It was comprised of myself (vocals) and two of my closest friends at the time—Andy Ianello (drums) and Zac Davis-Kelly (guitar).
Illustration by Ryan Buckley
Zac, Andy and I used to skateboard just about everyday together in middle school, until one day Andy broke his leg, leaving him immobile. More than anything, this is probably what lead to the band becoming any more serious than any of the other music we had been playing at the time. We practiced almost everyday in an old converted barn in my backyard (known as the "Scary Barn") and, fittingly, played our first show at a basement Halloween party.
As might be expected, our lyrics were mostly about monsters and horror, etc.
We recorded some low-budget tapes and created our own "record label" on which to release them, named Scary Barn Records.
Though most of the shows we played were small, local punk shows, we had a highlight when we got to play with some larger, well-known punk bands from Boston (The Freeze, The Showcase Showdown).
I can't mention enough here how much positive support we got from a lot of the older people we knew at the time. The local record shop where Zac and I used to hang out all day, Spinnaker Records, sold our tapes and helped to actually get our stuff distributed by larger record distros. And the local skateshop, The Boarding House, where we would also hang around all day and basically scare off customers, kept our tapes in the normal rotation of music that was played there. Andy's dad donated some of his drums for us to beat the hell out of; god knows my parents dealt with our noise and antics every day; Zac's mom vouched for us when we set up a huge show; our friend Shane MacKenzie freely gave us his own money to start Scary Barn Records with in the first place; our surfer friends let us play our first show at their house (making us play our set twice); and I know that, at least once, our flyers and tapes were made with other people's donated money.
Eating pizza and playing with The Monsters in the Scary Barn were some of the best times I can remember.