Monsters From The Surf

Posted by Ingrid On August - 20 - 20102,748 views

Monsters from the Surf is a kick ass band based out of the D.C. area that will get you going and have you laughing at the same time. They have been mixing together surf, punk, garage and rockabilly for twenty five years, creating a sound that is truly undefinable in the best way possible. Part of their charm is that they don’t take themselves too seriously. I got a chance to ask lead vocalist and guitar player “Monster” Rob Hornung a few questions about MFS and I found him to be much like his music, laid back and fun with a uniqueness all his own.

So you guys have been around for a really long time! Can you tell us a little about how you got started?

The rest of the guys, Ron Johnson (Drums), Kevin O’Brien (Bass) and Mark ” Smed” Muldoon were playing with a friend on lead guitar who didn’t fit in. He told me about them and I got a tape of the Ramones, Ventures, Cramps and ” Surfer Joe” by the Surfaris from them. I already dug this stuff so I joined. This was the spring of ’84.

What have been some of the band’s major influences musically?

As I already mentioned The Ramones, Ventures, Cramps but also Agent Orange and JFA, local D.C. hardcore bands, Devo, Dick Dale and old surf instrumentals. Also I was big into rockabilly so I dug the Stray Cats and lots of old rockabilly bands like Johnny Burnette and the rock and roll trio Ronnie Self and Elvis of course! We’ve played over 50 Elvis songs. Also, dug the low-fi sound of the Mummies and other garage bands. Oh, and the Sonics. There’s so much different things that we dug!

In addition to original recordings, you’ve done a lot of covers. Do you have any favorite artists you like to cover?

We’ve covered a lot of these bands. Love to play Ramones and Sonics, Dick Dale etc.

Your music incorporates a lot of different styles, can you tell us a little about that and what makes you so unique?

What makes us so unique I guess is the chemistry. We never took ourselves seriously and have fun! Even now we have a new bass player, Tom Quinn (since 1991) and Mike Micknick on rythm. Kevin and Smed still play and sing with us on occasion and it all works well ’cause we like to have a good time and entertain people. Our sound is ours because nobody dictates how we should sound. I choose most of the songs but they end up sounding the way they do because we just go at it and don’t try to sound like a certain style!

You’ve played a lot of different venues, any crazy stories you can share with us?

Nothing too wild but the one time we played the Grog and Tankard in D.C. was pretty screwed up. While we were playing there was a local “bum” who came in and was drunk but was having a good time and not really bothering people. He was up front in the crowd and having fun. Little did I know the owner ( who I didn’t know) was up front and started messing with him and I thought that was a dick move so during our song ” Beach Blanket Bimbo” I was singing the chorus and glared at him and shouted ” You’re a fucking asshole!” It rhymes real nice. He didn’t like that so he promptly shut us off and told people to leave because we were assholes. A large friend/fan got into it with him and we split real quick because we heard that the owner had ties to some sort of middle eastern mafia and they weren’t nice folks to deal with. We were expecting to get ambushed by machete weilding crazies but got of there ok. I’ve since heard some scary stories about that place!

I love the name Monsters from the Surf! I know you tried out a few names before that. Can you tell us about how you decided on MFS?

Monsters from the Surf came about because our drummer was watching Count Gore Devol’s Creature Feature on our local channel 20 and he was showing ” Monster from the Surf,” one of the worst horror films ever made. It fit us well. Before that we were the Cone of Silence. You know, the glass cone that Maxwell Smart and the Chief would sit under to talk about secret stuff and it never worked!

What’s your favorite classic horror film?

Monster from the Surf of course is among my fave horror films but also Bloodfeast and the other H.G. Lewis films, Spider Baby, Last Man on Earth, The Other and Brain That Wouldn’t Die. I got lots of them!

Any interesting hobbies you like to take part in when you’re not rockin out that you can share with us?

When I’m not playing guitar and singing with the Monsters I do paintings and other art. I started painting about eight years ago and do some pin-up and pop culture type lowbrow art. That’s how I met Taffeta Darling, who recommended us to you. She’s a fan of my art. I’m a big fan of her! Also I play sax for the Taildraggers, a garage band that leans towards blues/ soul music and classic stuff like the Seeds/ Electric Prunes.

What can we expect from MFS in the future?

We’ve put out two CDs and have played out for many years. We’ll keep playing I think until we get really old. Granted we don’t play much anymore but when we do we make sure it’s a blast for all involved!

Indeed. Clearly this is one group that understands making great music is all about having fun doing what you love. Check out their website( which is very entertaining in itself!) and give ’em a listen, it’s a guaranteed good time!

Welcome to the Monsters from the Surf Official Website!

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