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MUSIC THELONIOUS MONSTER : Frantic Front Man : The band plays its brand of blues, funk, punk and always loud rock 'n' roll Saturday night at the Anaconda Theatre in Isla Vista.

October 10, 1991|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's going to be a wild show Saturday night in Isla Vista featuring the always unpredictable Thelonious Monster doing their brand of blues, funk, punk and always loud rock 'n' roll music. Here's a band with an album titled "Baby . . . You're Bummin' My Life Out in Supreme Fashion" and a frantic front man, Bob Forrest, who has plenty of opinions.

Hey, Bob, this is Bill from the Times, got a minute?

Sure, let's do it.

How often does the band play these days?

We play every day--every day at this guy's house. We do actual gigs a couple of times a month.

Your last album was in '89?

Yeah, that was the last one.

So what's been happening with your band? How do you go about being unsigned after all this?

We've signed two record deals since the last record. I did a solo album for RCA, but they didn't like it--it didn't have any radio hits on it. They said it didn't even sound like Thelonious Monster either. So I told them, "I thought you wanted me to do my stuff." They still didn't like it.

Now here's a label that hasn't had a hit since Elvis. Those people think Jane's Addiction is some sort of methadone clinic music. Then we were about to make a deal with Island Records. They were behind us and made us an offer. The lawyers were talking back and forth; then just this morning, Polygram, their parent company, turned it down. They said Island already had too many alternative bands. I guess we didn't look enough like Bon Jovi. The music business can be really depressing.

Does this mean the dreaded day job?

Could be. RCA has been paying my bills up to last month. I think I'll go on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and sell T-shirts.

You're actually a native Californian?

Yup; so is our guitarist, Dix Denney.

He just changes his hat when he plays with the Weirdos?

Something like that; also, he's less punk rock when he plays with us.

Your troubles with bouncers are legendary. Do you think bouncers are some sort of alien race brought to Earth just to terrorize the locals, sort of like "The Predator" with a bow tie?

Sometimes I think that's true. I've been in several confrontations with bouncers in the past, but now I don't drink anymore, so I have fewer problems with them. I try to stay clear of the bouncers now. Not everyone can be in the NFL.

How did you get started in all this?

I dunno--I've been thinking a lot about that lately. I guess seeing the Replacements at the Cathay de Grande in '82 or '83 got me going. These guys were not good-looking, no long hair--but they were great. Punk rock was happening then--it was really aggressive--but I didn't like it. The Replacements were the first band that played my kind of music.

What is your kind of music? Describe Monster music.

It's the best music going around. It's honest. It's not just corny rock. There used to be creativity and storytellers, sort of like Will Rogers and Lenny Bruce. My songs are just what my life is like. I'm not trying to impress anybody; it's just how I feel. That's it.

That scream at the end of "Let Me in the House" could have blown a big hole in your throat.

I'm taking the primal scream to its logical limit. I did one for 20 seconds last time we played.

What's the best and worst thing about your job?

The best thing is that you get to sleep in as late as you want. The worst thing is dealing with these record company people.

What was your strangest gig?

A club owner hated us and wanted us to quit. They paid us, but there were still all these people who wanted to see us. So we went next door into this Laundromat and plugged in and played for about an hour.

What would be your dream gig and your nightmare gig?

I'd like to do a Replacements-Soul Asylum-Thelonious Monster tour. Or maybe Barbra Streisand--really. I want to be her someday. The worst would be Extreme--I hate those guys. They're the worst. Check this out. My mom called me the other day--she lives in Oklahoma--and she told me that she heard this band that sounds just like us. It turned out to be Extreme's "More Than Words."

So what's next?

I dunno; I guess we'll sign with Geffen, I think they're interested. So I guess we'll sign a deal, make a record, tour, get old, break up, then get back together. . . . Hey, when are we playing up there, anyway?

Saturday night, Oct. 12.

Hey, we better practice. . . .

* WHERE AND WHEN

Saturday night: Thelonious Monster and Two Free Stooges, the Anaconda Theatre, 935 Embarcadero del Norte, Isla Vista, $12 per ticket, doors open at 8 p.m. 685-3112.

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