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"Now On Tour"

20 Scarlet Monkeys - Review
By Morley Seaver

In these days of post hardcore this and emo that, it’s a breath of fresh air to find something totally original. I had listened to more than a handful of pretty boring CDs before I popped in the debut release from Darin Bennett. Then I sat transfixed for a half hour while cut after amazing cut flew by.

The Hollywood resident plays a riveting bluesy style that is far more engaging than anything else I’ve heard before in that genre. Think Tom Waits mixed with Storyville -Robbie Robertson and add a touch of Jeff Healey and Frank Marino (the latter for tone and guitar phrasings – not actual style). Soak that combo in some delta blues and you’ve got a record with mountains of personality.

20 Scarlet Monkeys features just Bennett on vocals, guitars, banjo and percussion, with a couple of horn players on two cuts. Despite the lack of bodies contributing to the record, you will not notice a difference because the material is so larger than life.

The first cut “Let Me In” will make you stop what you’re doing and demands your attention. Slow and dirty, the song snakes along like a cobra, with Bennett’s whiskey-soaked vocals competing with his funky guitar lines for your ears.

The title cut is like a seductive siren beckoning you to the rocks. Bennett plays a slide guitar with a confidence that fits the wildly vivid lyrics perfectly. The effects on the vocals give it a smoky room ambience that pours out of the speakers. “Morning Rose” is pared down to just Bennett and his guitar and emotion just pours out of him. “I’ll Be on My Way” is another of those eerie blues things that seems like it would accompany a horror movie set swirling in fog.

“Holdin’ Me” is the jewel of the record. The creepy banjo sets the tone before Bennett’s emotive voice paints a picture of despair behind bars. What really makes the song is the excellent percussion throughout, reminiscent of Tom Wait’s Bone Machine period. This is an excellent song.

“I’ll Be Your Anything” switches gear for a little more radio-friendly (of a sort) presence. It’s a great song that you could imagine Clapton recording. “The Death Bell” is powered by some excellent guitar and banjo work. The instrumental “El Fin” works better than most other vocal-less cuts I’ve heard. It could actually be stretched out with a couple of other passages to really make for a satisfying piece.

I am really knocked out by this release and hope that some movie people hear it because it would work perfectly for soundtracks. Darin Bennett has carved out an awesome record and he’s loaded with talent. Expect big things from him in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5
- Morley Seaver

"The Martinez Review"

“Darin Bennett gives this bubble gum pop obsessed music industry a much needed shot in the arm with this inspired blend of blues, rock & alternative music. His voice is soulful, rich, and powerful. Lyrically it’s hard to find artists who write with such intensity in this day and age. His sound, though uniquely his own, is reminiscent of great blues artists and at the same time feels like the best of classic rock and rhythm and blues. 20 Scarlet Monkeys takes this reviewer back to a time in music history where talent and skill actually counted.”

- Laurice Martinez

"Roadhouse Hoodoo"

Billy Sheppard 2008:

"Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect. For what has happened? A miracle. You have exchanged nothing for the possibility of everything." ~ Willie Dixon

"Could fill spoons full of diamonds,
Could fill spoons full of gold.
Just a little spoon of your precious love
Will satisfy my soul." ~ Willie Dixon from the song "Spoonful"

Darin Bennett doesn't play like your favorite guitar God in a great big rock band. He plays an electric slide steel guitar a whole lot like the roadhouse guys that those "Gods" learned from. And his songs have a sense of awe about the world that's makes a spiritual journey out of all those little things you might have forgot.

The feeling of this record is roadhouse blues. As Hendrix famously said, "Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel." Darin has heard it where it counts, and sounds on the record like he's lived it just fine. He finds the mystery in the story in these songs, and brings out something in the lyrics that makes it sing. He has the imagination that can take him where most folks wouldn't know how to go. That spacey mindset adds something, and never gets in the way. Some of the songs on this album are like hearing Willie Dixon, or Muddy Waters doing a cover of a song by Cream or Blind Faith. The guitar has learned what it needed to know from the roadhouse.


20 SCARLET MONKEYS (ROOM 201): There's something going on in Room 201! Darin says it's a true story. So maybe there were monkeys in a hotel room, but this song is about something just scary wonderful. The sound that comes from that echoed slide steel, and a small African drum is as spooky as a séance while on some kind of mushroom. "Did you hear the crash? An unbelievable sight! 20 scarlet monkeys swinging in the night!" The chaos created here is something that gives me a little fright, and I can't stop listening. This may be a vision, but it paints a damn fine picture of seeing something that can't be accounted for. Whether the explanation for this playful activity by these "monkeys" is inside my head, or whether somebody just likes to take a bunch of monkeys to a hotel and see what happens, I don't know. But listening to the eerie sound of this acoustic song, sounds like hoodoo on the Delta. I don't believe in that stuff, but I ain't taking no chances. Guess I lives through the thing cause there's "20 scarlet monkeys back into the wall." Momma told me not to come!

THE DEATH BELL: There's a trumpet and spooky sound of slowed down voices at the beginning of this song that sound like they been a little dead and came back. A guitar riff that's a little similar to the beginning of Paul Simon's "Peace Like A River" starts out with a story telling rhythm that sets the stage. Darin said about this song in a printed interview, "I got the idea from the beginning of a James Bond film. "Trumpet's blowin' taps/Kickin' dirt on my grave." I wouldn't want to live in Darin's imagination. "Up to the middle, down to the top, blue face rotten in a wooden box. Trumpet's blow taps throwing dirt on my grave… Singing dig it down … to the Devil's hole." Once again, Darin hit's the nail on the coffin. "Singing Mary go up, Merry go round, the death bell is ringing that wicked sound." Whew!

I'LL BE YOUR ANYTHING: Okay, I thought this had to be cover. It ain't. This damn song is a classic. I don't care if he wrote it yesterday. This is a kind of slow shuffle strum and guitar solo combination here that is sweet and straight as an arrow. Sounds like I heard "I've been waiting for a long time on an east bound train to my life for anyone but you. I been called a Valentine an open mind time and time by everyone but you. Just know my name tomorrow; devil or angel. Fill me up, turn me out, tell me you want me anyhow. I'll be your anything. I'll be your anything." If those lyrics are wrong, I don't want to be right. There's a movement to the chorus that takes your heart someplace just right. I swear you gotta hear this song! Somebody maybe did this song. Might be the song your heart has sung when you was asleep. Whoever wrote this song is just plain wonderful. Darin Bennett wrote this song.

LET ME IN has an infectious roadhouse rhythm and a deep sweet sax that repeats insistently just like the horny dude in the song. Darin adds some smoking steel guitar riffs that try to make his point to the poor girl. After all, she threw the bum out for some reason. He "cries for her forgiveness" and to be let back in to "that body made of sin." There'll be some hoots and hollers at the concert for this one. We all been there.

ON MY WAY: Sounds like that Cream song that got lost in the stacks. Maybe a Willie Dixon original covered with a little something spacey and a percussion thud that sounds like the bed being slammed to the floor in "Instant Karma." The guitar cries out for more, and that slide steel seems to break the simple figure with something from the spaceship. "I'll be on my way. I'll be on my way." It's a strange brew of images set to an infectious slide, and things ticking, thudding, and tapping like a lazy drum circle in Kenya, or the Delta, or maybe on Mars.

HOLDIN' ME: Picking the steel guitar brings out the chain gang. "Banging a rock by the click of the clock and sucking on nicotine. But I'm waiting for the judge to set me free." There's a credible sense sorrow in the voice and the strings, and a homemade drum and sticks like pics on the work farm. Then a great damn great line, "I did a little something, but it ain't why you're holding me." The guitar sounds like something great heard once that you tried like hell to find again and record. Some self-taught field hand. Somebody who could make a line like, "I may be the devil, but I ain't no sinner." Maybe Darin hasn't worked on a chain gang, but I bet this song would be a hit with them that has. "I did a little something, but it ain't why you're holding me!"

MORNING ROSE has a gorgeous phase shifted sound reminiscent of Hendrix' "Angel." "Lacing like a fire through the rain, the voices cry again, sister of the wind you gently let me in." It's just voice and guitar. And it is played from that special place "where my heart carries on." If you like "Angel" or "Castles Made of Sand" you may want to keep this song "forever by your side." It's a timeless love song.

EL FIN: The end! And it's a 12 bar blues played on multiple guitars with the sound like a horn in the strumming somewhere. There's a bass in the background for the first time as I can hear. A traveling instrumental to take the record home. A simple thing. Simple is good. If you think it's easy, and you got a boatload of taste and a little time, you may get the chords right. But the feeling may set you back a couple of months. Nice. - Billy Sheppard


Darin Bennett is creating some incredible music. He has the grit, soul, and licks of the late Chris Whitley, the melodic sensabilities of Big Head Todd, and the vocal passions and honesty of Springsteen. This is good shit, ya'll. Make 20 Scarlett Monkeys a staple, cause it's gonna be soon, regardless.
–Christoper Johnson

You have something special going on my friend.....the music you are playing fits the subjects in your songs in a way I only hear in the old poorly recorded blues from a bygone era. You channellin' Robert Johnson or something??
– Rick Jones

You're doing some pretty exceptional things, twisting slide over, under, inside itself. And you're no one trick pony, either -- great vocals, lyrics, and arrangements.
– chris franklin

WOW its class when someone takes delta blues and brings it bang up to date without losing the feel...nice one
- Boss Caine

I hear a heavy Waits influence in your vocals as well as sound, for sure. Industrial roots is a tough noise to hit. But you've done it well. Raw, undiluted shit man. Amen. – John Rudolph

Definitely diggin' the wolfhound at your heels. Great production and vibe, a deconstruction and rearrangement of a timeless kind of music
- Jeer Mendelsonh

- Various


20 SCARLET MONKEYS - (released Summer 2006)



Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Darin Bennett has been performing in clubs since he was a teenager. He was fortunate enough to be continuously snuck into clubs by older, seasoned musicians who often brought him on stage to play. He spent most of his teenage years and early twenties sitting in with or opening for artists such as Chuck E. Weiss, JJ Holiday, Joe Sublett, and a long list of major blues and rock artists ranging from Hubert Sumlin to Bruce Springsteen. After years of watching and learning from his heroes, he has discovered his own voice and style.

He has recently written, produced, and performed the score for the film Small Change (MNC Productions) and has had several songs featured on television for Imagine/Disney/WB/ABC. In addition, he recently collaborated on a Delta-blues side project with Michelle Shocked.

Currently, he is continuing to perform in clubs around Los Angeles and touring everywhere possible. He has just released his debut album as a solo artist entitled '20 Scarlet Monkeys'.

** To view Darin's new video for "The Death Bell" and to see what the people are saying about the music visit:


(Please visit for additional songs and video)

In addition:

www.itunes.com (search: Darin Bennett)