Monster Party

New North Bay band puts a contemporary spin on ’90s alternative

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Modern Monsters make their presence known in Marin with two upcoming shows. Credit: Tony Contini

New on the Bay Area scene, the hard-hitting and socially conscious rock band Modern Monsters take their primary inspiration from the 1990s era of alternative and experimental rock, hip-hop, soul and grunge, a time when the members were all coming of age.

Formed in San Rafael by Marin-based bassist Brody Bass and also featuring guitarist Rich Wells, vocalist Chari Glogovac-Smith, drummer Keenan Tuohy and guitarist Wyatt Lennon, the group is less than two years old but has already evolved a self-assured sound that has gotten them local attention.

Marin audiences have several chances to catch the band in action in the coming weeks, when Modern Monsters play two sets, including a tribute to ’90s hardcore heroes Rage Against the Machine on Feb. 23 at Peri’s Silver Dollar in Fairfax. They follow that up with a show on Mar. 1 at Smiley’s Saloon in Bolinas with fellow Marin act Sunhunter.

With Bass and Wells splitting co-writing duty, Modern Monsters have gelled in the last six months after several lineup and name changes.

“Brody and I are both very down-to earth people, and don’t let things get under our skin,” says Wells. “And if things do get under our skin, we both have music as a release for that. Whatever emotions are trapped inside us, whenever we write a song, we just let it all out.”

The band is currently midway through recording their debut EP, having laid down several tracks with Grammy-winning producer and engineer Michael Rosen (Rancid, Santana), and they’ve started an online crowdsourced fundraiser on IndieGoGo to help complete the project. Campaign perks include a chance to smash a guitar onstage with the band and a private barbecue concert.

The group is also gearing up to play an unofficial showcase next month in Austin, Texas, during the annual South By Southwest music conference and festival. That showcase will be hosted by Bay Area–based music community Balanced Breakfast, who organize music-industry meetups in cities throughout the country.

More than just a party band, Modern Monsters carry messages of social positivity and tap into an uplifting collective energy at live shows.

“What we do as a band is try to get conversations started, bring down the walls between people,” says Wells. “We appreciate the community and whatever brings it together—we want to be a part of that.”

Modern Monsters rock against the machine on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Peri’s Silver Dollar, 29 Broadway, Fairfax. 9pm. $10. 415.459.9910.

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