“Last year we were just four childhood friends, reuniting in our home town of Poway for a jam session,” says Johnny Airplane, singer-guitarist for Monkeys in Space.
“We realized we’re all still young — in our early 20s — so we still have a fair shot at chasing our dream. Now we frantically fight the pull of the blue-collar world. We put our professional lives on hold, accepted minimum-wage jobs, and formed the band that we hope will save rock ’n’ roll.”
The group recently self-financed an EP, In Light of Recent Events, and they’re playing around town and sending promo material to every music-biz professional they can track down with Wi-Fi and a laptop.
“Before Nirvana was Nirvana, Kurt Cobain wrote to every record label he could find, begging them to sign his band. We’re gonna write to every label, promoter, agency, artist, manager, band, record store, venue, and radio station in the free world.”
Why should we care? “We aren’t your average women’s-jeans-wearing, high-pitched-screaming, wine-drinking, soft-spoken douchebags,” says Johnny. “Instead, we fight the real world for our right to rock, and that’s what we play and sing about: being a full-time, loud, and in-your-face rock and roll band.”
Monkeys in Space appear Friday, March 5, at O’Connell’s in Linda Vista.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
Johnny Airplane (guitar and vocals):
1) Saves the Day, In Reverie. “I was going through a bit of a depressed stage until I realized that I was depressed because I was listening to this first thing every day.”
2) Everclear, Ten Years Gone: The Best of Everclear, 1994–2004. “I’ve been stuck in the ’90s for some time, and I guess I just like being sad.”
3) Face to Face, Reactionary. “I’m so stoked that they’re touring again and playing with NOFX.”
4) Bad Astronaut, Acrophobe. “Joey Cape is my hero, and Bad Astronaut cuts to the bone.”
J Vara (guitar and vocals):
1) Weezer, Maladroit. ‘ “Take Control’ is a perfect example of a song I wish I’d written.”
2) Chevelle, Vena Sera. “’Cause it kills from start to finish.”
3) Lil Wayne, No Ceilings. “He’s just fun to listen to.”
4) Unwritten Law, Elva. “Reminds me of growing up.”
5) John Mayer, Battle Studies. “I listen to everything he puts out.”
Ryan Higginson (drums):
1) Strung Out, Twisted by Design. “First CD I ever bought.”
2) NOFX, Coaster. “Best NOFX album in the last decade.”
3) Propagandhi, How to Clean Everything. “‘Haillie Sellasse’ is one of the best songs I’ve ever seen played live.”
Ryan “Kerp” Koerper (bass and vocals):
2) Foo Fighters
4) Van Halen
YOUR BEST PICKUP LINE?
Johnny: “‘You wanna do some cocaine?’ Nah, that’s a lie. I’d never share my cocaine.”
J: “I’m not clever enough to come up with anything a girl hasn’t already heard, and I’m not smooth enough to make the classics work.”
Hig: “I don’t have an effective one, so I usually just hit on the oldest woman in the room.”
Kerp: ‘ “Do you like orgasms?’ ”
ANY FEARS OR PHOBIAS?
J: “I’m afraid of hauntings and abductions.”
Hig: “I fear mongooses because I got bit by one once.”
Kerp: “I fear people who have phobias. They creep me out.”
Johnny: “It was a goldfish named Goldy. He died hours later, and then I used his bowl as a space helmet.”
WORST TV COMMERCIAL?
Johnny: “Ped Egg, the most disgusting 30 seconds I’ve been repeatedly forced to sit through. I mean, seriously, you’re grinding off fking foot flakes right now? Who does that?”
J: “The jewelry commercial with the guy and girl in the cabin during the thunderstorm. It’s so cheesy.”
Kerp: “I don’t like the commercials about cavemen, because I used to be one in a past life.”
PSYCHICS — REAL OR FAKE?
Johnny: “Totally real! I buy into all that shit because I’m desperately scared and paranoid of death. I check my horoscope every day, and it dictates how the rest of the day plays out.”
J: “Real. That’s why I won’t go see one.”
Hig: “There are certain people who have psychic abilities. That’s a fact.”
Kerp: “Fake. I can’t believe people believe that bullshit.”
Johnny: “Invisibility, ’cause I’m a total perv.”
J: “I’d like to walk through walls. I’d hit a few banks and take the Monkeys on the road.”
Hig: “The shapeshifter ability to take the form of anything, like that super-hot girl from X-Men. You could be Obama one second and a tiger the next.”
Kerp: “To fly, because then I can ‘peace, out!’ whenever I want to.”
WHO SHOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
Johnny: “Keir O’Donnell, who played the creepy gay painter brother in Wedding Crashers.”
J: “Leonardo DiCaprio. Can’t you see the resemblance?”
Hig: “Kiefer Sutherland, aka Jack Bauer.”
Kerp: “Macaulay Culkin.”
FAVORITE MONKEY MOVIE?
Johnny: “Definitely Congo. That movie is a trip. ‘Are you serving that ape a martini?’ Ha!”
J: “The Planet of the Apes remake, ’cause Mark Wahlberg is a badass.”
Hig: “In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the evil monkey who gets poisoned is awesome.”
Kerp: “Does porn count?”