The Monks: Bad Habits

Met her on a blind date, helping out an old mate
Waiting at the corner, she’d be dressed in black
There was I expecting a really tasty bird
He said she was good looking, I should have doubt his word
When I saw her there she was a real disgrace
I thought nice legs shame about the face

Downed a gin and soda, tapped me on the shoulder
Whispered in my ear” it’s getting kind of late”
When I took her home we hardly said a thing
I walked her to the door, expected to go in
She looked me up and down and really put me in my place
She said” nice legs shame about your face
Nice legs shame about your face”

The Monks were big in Canada, selling a ton of records in 1979 to a bunch of kids like me wanting to dip their toe into punk but still needing that ‘fun’ element that was so non-existent in a lot of early punk. Like an English Ramones without the street cred, if you get my drift.

The primary players were former members of The Strawbs, an English folk/progressive band along the lines of the Moody Blues, who decided it would be a fun idea to switch gears and form a ‘punk band’, most likely to capitalize on the craze. They even wrote a clever little song called “Johnny B. Rotten”, a song that John Lydon apparently despised. Never mind those bollocks though, Bad Habits was and remains an important, albeit forgotten, power pop classic and is finally being recognized for the classic it always was. Some important Canadian Bands have even seen fit to organize a tribute album. Bands like Sloan, The New Pornographers and The Doughboys have all agreed to participate.

Bad Habits is one of those rare albums that you remember totally loving from your childhood that doesn’t age a day when you hear it again almost (gulp!) 33 years later. It still sounds great, funny and fresh as it always did. Took me forever to find a copy, and you can find a copy on Amazon now fairly easy for $9.82. It’s not one that you can get for a nickel, but not bad for less than a tenner. They did, by the way, release a sequel to Bad Habits called Suspended Animation, but other than maybe 4 tracks (King Dong (hehe…you said ‘dong’), Don’t Want No Reds, Don’t Bother Me (’cause I’m a Christian), and I Can Do Anything You Like) it really paled by comparison. It was released only in Canada, natch.

Here’s a more in depth article that my friend Dave was kind enough to tip me off about that discusses the history of the band and the details of the tribute album.