It was at X-Fest at SDSU several years ago — blink 182 was scheduled to headline the evening, but Sprung Monkey, another local band, owned the afternoon. Sprung’s popularity was beginning to soar on the release of “Get ’em Outta Here,” and when front man Steve Summers stopped to address the packed audience, it had to feel as if he were staring straight into the music industry’s pile of gold. All indications were that Sprung would go on to become a platinum-selling national touring act.
But it didn’t happen. Instead, after major-label deals, hit songs on film soundtracks, and numerous television appearances, the band quietly disappeared. What happened? Did the usual rock-and-roll excesses croak the Monkey?
“We went on a hiatus for a while,” says Summers via his cell phone. “I don’t know if it was the 9/11 thing, but it seemed like the whole [music] industry changed after that.” He reminds me that Sprung had been together for a good decade by then. Eventually, he says, the members drifted off into side projects with other bands.
Sprung Monkey is out of retirement. “We started to play shows again,” says Summers, “and the fire and the passion is there like it was in the beginning.” They recently finished an Australian tour with Unwritten Law. “It was, like, does anybody remember us after six years?” They did.
Summers describes their sound. “The overall complexion is more aggressive, not so poppy. We’re going back to our roots.” Those roots, at least ten years ago, were planted in the surf-skate culture. Sprung’s rugged guitars and Summers’s athletic delivery placed them smack on the cusp of a new genre that would meld hip-hop with metal. Can they make that magic happen all over again?
“We’re all here again, and we’re happy to see each other,” says Summers, “and the music is coming from the right place.”
Mower also performs.
SPRUNG MONKEY, Canes, Friday, September 26, 9 p.m. 858-488-9690. $12.