Jyck Monkey Time
Jyck Monkey Time (Lance 2004) The Knights' Vocals during the '80s and early '90s Dick Stewart was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1940 and grew up near a small Hispanic community in the city's Northwest Valley called Los Griegos. There, Spanish was spoken almost as often as English and many of the Hispanic residents communicated with each other in a mix of words or expressions from both dialects. The Hispanic youth did the same thing, but in a manner that the adults couldn't understand. All generations of young people manufacture a lingo that they consider hip and call their own, but when more than one language is used, the more secretive it can be. Although Stewart is Anglo, he learned the English/Spanish code-switching slang well simply because most of his buddies were kids of first-generation Mexican-American families. Many of the songs in this album reflect that time of his life. In the early 1960's, garage instrumental guitar rock and roll was in full swing with The Fireballs and The Ventures leading the pack and Stewart was smitten with this new expression. In 1961, together with his best friend in high school, Gary Butler, they formed The Knights. At first, most of the band's playlist consisted of covers from the two aforementioned groups, but soon thereafter, Stewart began to compose his own guitar instrumentals. His first, "Precision," was released in early 1964 and became an instant hit regionally. Dot Records took notice and made a pledge to release it nationally, but quickly changed it's mind when The Beatles came to the U.S. in Feb 1964. With the exception of Stewart, the rest of the band members moved on and The Knights became a vocal group. He replaced the drummer and rhythm guitarist, added a saxophonist and keyboardist, then changed the band's name to a more acceptable one for the times: King Richard and The Knights. In January 1968, the band disbanded, but Stewart changed genre gears, promoting Mexican-American music via his new label, Casanova Records. He also continued as a guitar instrumental artist and hit with a version of "El Rancho Grande" in the Hispanic market. In November of 1979, Stewart, his wife, Judi, and their three children (Shelbi, Ritch and Jason) moved to a mountain community just east of Albuquerque. Soon thereafter, Stewart began to write and record songs about the diverse personalities and partying habits of many in the mountain community who enjoyed playing softball, volley ball, and even Trivia around a camp fire during the nighttime hours. In addition, the two most popular local taverns, The Windmill and Molly's, were their choices of frequent, continued celebrations. The songs in this album are a history of those "jycky" times on the east side of the Sandia and Manzano Mtns from 1984 through 1993 when The Knights were known as either The Mtn Riff-Raff or Jyck Monkey Band; and the invention of the word "Jyck" (pronounced "jick") became a key term widely used by those who just wanted to enjoy life to it's fullest: 1. 'El Chuco Blanco' - Dick sings about his membership in a Pachuco gang in the '50s when he attended Valley High School in Albuquerque.(Here are some of the Pachuco slang words and their translations that are used in this tune: 'ranfla' - jalopy, 'calcos' - dress shoes, 'guisa' - chick, 'guero' - light skinned, 'llantas' - tires, 'lisa' - shirt, 'tramos' - pants.) 2. 'Jyck Monkey Time' - Coach Dick "The Jyck" sings about his mostly biker softball team, The Jyck Monkeys. The animal sounds are not soundbites. The team's second baseman, Steve Loshier, who made the sounds during each game to confuse the other team, was asked to provide his talent for this track. 3. 'Madroid Queen' - Magoon sings about a frequent visitor to the Mine Shaft Tavern in Madrid, NM, looking for the girl of his dreams. The Knights played there often during the '80s and early '90s and the visitor was well known to the community. 4. 'Riff-Raff Rider' - Magoon sings about the Jyck Monkey bikers, who were considered the radical bunch of the Mtn Riff-Raff. 5. 'Middle Aged Rock-and-Roll Musician' - Dick sings about his guitar jamming days at various mtn jyck parties, from which his wife, Judi, had to drag him away from time to time for overdoing it. 6. 'We're Gonna Get Jycked Up' - vocal by Dick that's self-explanatory. 7. 'Here's to Jyck Monkey' - A Jyck Monkey team gathering at the Windmill. All the first names mentioned in this song are members of the team. 8. 'Lobo Power' - Magoon provides the vocals and Jason offers the splendid guitar work for this unauthorized University of New Mexico fight song. Many of the UNM students wanted the higher-ups to play it during the games, but it didn't happen. 9. 'Henry T. Time' - Theme song written and arranged by Dick and Jason in 1993 for KDEF radio's Henry Tafoya sport show. Dick sings lead, Jason provides the guitar work and keys, and Dick, Jason, and Judi do the backup vocals. It became a hit on the station and is still employed by Henry to this day. 10. 'Hangover Blues' - Dick sings about an exaggerated hangover he experienced in an accent he used when he was a teen in the '50s, living in an Hispanic community. (Some of the Spanish slang translations used in this song are as follows: 'Yo soy un pobre Gabacho' - I'm a down-on-his-luck Gringo, 'Sufro la cruda' - I'm suffering from a hangover, 'Andaba en la peda' - I got drunk. 11. 'Candelaria' - Dick sings about a friend who could survive exceptionally well in the woods eating bugs and plants. (Translation of Spanish used in the last verse of this song: 'Viva la igualdad de los animales y los hombres. Recuerdas que en el todo mundo, somos compadres' - Long live the equality of man and animals. We are friends worldwide., 'No me digas' - Don't tell me. 12. Utopia Heights - Dick sings about a compadre (friend) who's hooked on heroin and is determined to score with one of his dealers at a bar. Judi provides the phone voice. 13. I Don't Mind - A beautiful ballad written and sung by Judi, with guitar, keys and arrangement provided by Jason. 14. 'Cowboys Still A Comin'' - With vocals, guitar work, and arrangement by Jason and opening rap by Dick, there were a lot of Cowboys fans in the mtn community. The inspiration for the words came from the '52 to 17' drubbing the Cowboys gave the Bills in one of the team's Super Bowl wins in the early '90s. 15. 'We're the Mtn Riff-Raff' - Sung by Magoon with guitar work by Jason, it was the general attitude and swagger of the members of the Mtn Riff-Raff's softball team. The Jyck Monkey softball team originally were members of the Riff-Raff, but were deemed less talented and too radical, getting little playtime. 16. 'Watching Moonbeams Dance through the Night' - Sung by Dick, who provided the lead guitar work. This is the vocal of The Knights' 1965 instrumental, 'Moonbeam.' Players: Dick Stewart - rhythm, bass, early '60s-style guitar work, vocals; Ritch Stewart - bass, vocals; Jason Stewart - modern guitar work, keys, bass; Jim Magoon - vocals; Martin Howard - '70s-lead guitar scores; William (Corky) Anderson - drums; Gary Warner - tenor sax; Jeff Johnson - organ (#16); Sonny Rivera - guitar (#10); Judi Stewart - lead vocal (#13). Credits: engineers - John Wagner, Jason Stewart; arrangers - the Stewarts; publishing - Cool Links Publishing BMI; principal composers - Dick Stewart and Judi Stewart for #13; All rights reserved. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A review by Beverly Paterson - The Lance Monthly; Twist and Shake Established in 1961, The Knights went onto become the hottest instrumental combo in and around their hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1964, the band scored a massive regional hit single with "Precision," which artfully blended classical music figures with traditional rocking surf guitars. Dot Records was prepared to launch The Knights into the major leagues, but the timing was bad as The British Invasion suddenly happened, and therefore, surf bands were looked upon as yesterday's news. Throughout the ensuing decades, The Knights have been together on and off, meeting with personnel changes here and there along the way. But lead guitarist Dick Stewart, who also owns and operates the legendary Lance Records, has been a constant presence amid it all. "Jyck Monkey Time" entails material the group laid down between the years 1984 and 1993, when they were billed as either The Mountain Riff Raff Band or The Jyck Monkey Band. Covering nearly every single kind of music conceivable, the disc is immensely entertaining. Humor abounds on songs like the cheesy country blues flavorings of "Hangover Blues" and "Middle Aged Rock And Roll Musician," a pure pop tenor caps the positively beautiful "I Don't Mind," which features Dick's wife Judi on lead vocals, the specter of The Cars and Devo haunts the wiggly new wave nuances of "Madroid Queen" and "Moonbeams Dance Through The Night" steps in as a ravishing ballad, steeped in a silky throated and coated vein. Borrowing the harmonic doo-wop introduction of "At The Hop" by Danny and The Juniors, then morphing into a crazy and sloppy slice of speedy rock and roll, "We're Gonna Get Jycked Up" is a stone cold charmer. Courtesy of Dick's son Jason, "Lobo Power" and "Riff Raff Rider" scream and squeal with shredding heavy metal guitar atomics rivaling the razzle dazzle of Ritchie Blackmore and Eddie Van Halen. So there you have it, a diverse array of audio escapades that are festive, passionate and silly. And that's exactly how rock and roll is supposed to be. Www.lancerecords.com -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Some Excerpts from Chas Pikes' 'Jyckin' Around' (October 2009 issue of 'The Lance Monthly') It had been a while. My pen hand was rusty. My vocabulary had slipped-mono-syllabisms creeping in, replacing my once flowery prose. Some said I was 'on the skids." It could be true. In my first few months after The Lance Monthly closed, and my gig came to an end, I found myself drawn to my automobile. That glorious sound palace made from scientifically engineered plastics and good old-fashioned Japanese steel. I would find myself driving around late at night, beneath the great cascade of New Mexico stars, listening to AM radio, and mouthing critiques and reviews of the tunes from that bygone era. Gradually the music slipped out into space and I would find myself careening through mesas and arroyos, mindlessly humming along to talk radio. Then one day the humming stopped. Then the driving. Pretty soon I could be seen sitting at the Laundromat, eating Wise potato chips and watching strangers' underwear tumble around rhythmically in the endless row of stainless-steel, front-load dryers for hours on end. My wife said it was a slump. "I would get over it." Then the mysterious call came. The daunting, taunting message that was left on my phone. It was my editor, the ever-obsequious Dickie Stewart. The Jyck Monkeys had reunited. They were returning to the scene of their most notorious crimes, Molly's in Tijeras Canyon, a little dive situated off of what once was known as 'The Mother Road," Route 66. To me it was like being summoned by death himself. Of course, I wouldn't go. I had been a music writer. I covered some of the best acts in the Southwest. People knew me and respected me. Well . . . people knew me. Some people. But now my journalism days were through. I had no desire to ever listen to another piece of music, to ever offer my opinion of it again. Those days were behind me. I was on to something newer, bigger. I had laundry to watch. I had no desire to travel across the state to watch central New Mexico's most notorious biker band of the '70s reunite to torture the shit out of the poor brain-dead inhabitants of that ghost village in Tijeras Canyon. Leave that to someone younger, braver, more mentally stable. She made me. My wife. She said, 'I am tired of living like this. I am tired of coming home from a hard day at work only to find you have spent your day watching old fat ladies underwear spinning around all afternoon. You are going. And you are not going to come home until you have written the damn review!' She threw my suitcase in the Tercel, six bags of Wise potato chips, a brick of Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink boxes, and locked the door to our home. I was on my way. It was not without a certain amount of trepidation that I rolled into the gravel parking lot at Molly's. It had been years since I had been here, and the ghosts of hangovers past came washing over me like a fire hose. The parking lot was peculiarly empty. One or two pickup trucks, the usual stack of Harley's, and of course, Hondas with their logos judiciously removed. On some of the wooden benches outside were a trio of bikers indulging in the prerequisite after-play of a night at Molly's; the old fashioned punching contest. The rules were simple enough: the first one stands, chugs a beer, then punches himself in the face as hard as he can, then sits down and opens another beer. Then the next one goes, and so on, until the last man is left standing. A true hero is one who can knock himself out on the first punch, this man is made king, and has bragging rights at Molly's until the next concert. Tradition though this may be, it was an end game, which only meant that I had missed the show, got the times confused, something. The screen door slammed behind me, and as my eyes adjusted I scanned the place. Pool tables covered with cigarette butts and beer cans, peanut shells on the floor. The television behind the bar was playing a VHS tape of Johnny Tapia's greatest fights. The tape had been playing for years and the images were hard to make out. At one of the tables sat a few elder biker molls, eyes pinned back, burnt out cigarette butts in their hands, strange satisfied smiles on their faces. A pit-bull beneath the table looked at me out of one eye, and then went back to sleep. A sign on the wall by the bar said 'Ask about our meat surprise!' Yeah. I was at Molly's. This was the way it looked in the wake. In the aftermath. I had never seen The Jyck Monkeys live. They were legends around the East Mountains. Their shows made Burning Man seem lame in comparison. I always arrived a little too late. Just the aftermath that seemed to collect like debris after the storm; the punching game, the statue-still biker babes with the pinned back eyes and the strange, satisfied smiles on their faces. Sometimes there would be dogs copulating in the beer garden. Not today. I sat at one of the bar stools and looked at the television screen. Tapia was in the corner of the ring doing back flips; the judges were reaching a decision. After about seven minutes the walk-in cooler opened and the bartender came out, looking like a zombie rising from the crypt. 'You the writer dude?' He asked. I grunted. He handed me a CD and said, 'They left this for you." I took the CD and left. Outside the game was still on. There had been no winner yet, and one of the poor punch-drunk bastards threw a wicked haymaker at himself, missing by about a foot, sending him crashing to the ground. The other two began laughing hysterically. I got into the Tercel and sat for a moment wondering what I should do next. I decided to drive over to the ubiquitous Prince Dickie Stewart's place and explain to him why I would not be writing the review. I turned the key and started the car, and against my better judgment, slid 'JYCK MONKEY TIME' into the CD player and headed across the canyon. Now I had heard of The Jyck Monkeys, seen their aftermath, but as the majority of their crimes against society had been committed before the advent of the compact disk, I had never heard them. I was prepared for the shock. The opening riffs from the first song, EL CHUCO BLANCO screeched through the speakers and I was transported to an eerie timeless musical soundscape that can only be described as a major bus collision between The Grateful Dead, and The Bonzo Doodah Dog Band. The collateral damage was everywhere. EL CHUCO is a chunky barrio peon to the bygone days of the city of the Duke. JYCK MONKEY TIME had tortured doo wop refrains; there were demented college football fight songs (LOBO POWER), a theme song for a sports commentator (HENRY T TIME); songs about heroin deaths, middle-aged rock stars; hangovers; and the Dallas Cowboys, but the one that really caught my ear was the raunchy ballad about a mythical bato named 'CANDELARIA'; some kind of demented East-mountain equivalent of Leroy Brown. By the time I arrived at the Boss's ranch on the other side of the canyon, I was fairly messed up by the music. I was 'Jycked.' I had been hypnotized by the easy harmonies and sonic guitars. I had the strange urge to pull over to the shoulder of Old 66 and punch myself into unconsciousness. The scene at the Stewart place was the usual. As if no time had passed since my last visit. A portly underwear-clad Prince Dickie was passed out in a red velvet lined shopping cart, being pushed maniacally by two chubby young Spanish boys. There was an ancient Winnebago out front on blocks. Perched on top was Jason, the family's guitar wizard, clad in leather and banging 'The Star Spangled Banner' out like Hendrix on his Strat. Inside the trailer, Ritchie, the brains of the outfit, was watching the Fred Astaire dance sequence from 'Royal Wedding' on the TV, pounding along on his bass to Fred's frantic footwork. His bass work was phenomenal, as if he were an electrified rendition of Ginger Rogers. He harmonized with those feet as if they were growing out of his body, around in circles, onto the chair, then the dash across the room and halfway up the wall. I was impressed. He came crashing down on his back like a piano dropped off the Empire State Building. The earth shook. 'Damn it!' he shrieked through tears of rage I folded my hulking frame back into the Tercel and headed for my hotel. As the morning light crept in through the window, and I gave in to the carne adovada breakfast burrito that was calling to me from The Frontier, I sipped my coffee and thought about my little musical journey. I ran the scenes back through the mental editing software, and as the movie and soundtrack fell in synch, a sick feeling came over me: The guitars, the bass, the strange humor and harmonies. Suddenly it all came together. I dialed Dickie Stewart's number on my cell. He answered, laughing: 'Did you figure it out yet?' I quickly hung up. I had. It was too much to handle. Could it really be true? I know groups will do solo recordings, and many bands like to assume other identities to escape their image and explore new interests. The Beatles themselves became Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to open the door to more creativity. But this??? Could the legendary Jyck Monkeys really be Albuquerque's longest living surf band, The Knights??? It made a peculiar kind of sense. I headed back to Aztec, and the typewriter. You never know what kind of trip The Lance Monthly will take you on, and just where the road comes out. I began to check my watch, calendar, and mailbox again. Grace and Peace.