Dave DeMonki
Gig Seeker Pro

Dave DeMonki

Band Pop Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Tuesday's at KJs - Open Mics, Open Minds"

Tuesdays at KJ’s—Open Mics, Open Minds
Chris Manson June 17, 2004 Issue

David Pretlow said the idea for Open Mic Tuesday at KJ’s came up “because I wanted to find a place I could play my songs.” On a good night, the Roshambo bass player and solo performer can work in one or two of his original tunes during a four-hour gig. “This is an opportunity for people to get comfortable playing their music.”

We were all hoping for a good turnout for the third Tuesday. “We didn’t really have the word out for the first one,” Pretlow said. The week before, there was very little open mic activity, although Kyle LaMonica delivered a solid set—sore throat and all—for the Midnight Music that followed. I was excited to see Amy Hart’s name on the sign-up sheet, but she left to get her guitar and did not return. Pretlow hoped to meet the talented singer-songwriter and invite her to perform at one of the midnight slots in July.

“She’s really good,” I told Pretlow as her CD played in the background. “Mickey Raphael, Willie Nelson’s harmonica player, played on one of the tracks.”

Pretlow first came to Destin “for five months 11 years ago.” He moved here from Atlanta on a steady migration south that began when he was a child in Cleveland. Pretlow put a band together at the Grand Isle Grill (now the Sky Bar) called Salty Dog. “The group is still going strong with Brad Vroon,” he said.

Around 10 p.m. Pretlow told the small crowd, “Anybody can play a song or two or three.” He reiterated that the songs had to be original, then he did three songs from his promising five-song EP, including the catchy Bother Me. He employed a looping machine that allowed his guitar to continue playing while he broke out his violin.

“The open mic is ‘open’,” Pretlow said. “It’s just a means for anybody of any level to express themselves. People who play all the time get nervous when they do their own songs. After you try something like this, you generally find that you had a good time. I did one in Mobile back in January, and I was nervous as hell.”

“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get nervous to some degree,” Destin Don said. Don came to observe with pal Jackson “Smitty” Smith. Both are members of Destin Songwriters and have been playing and writing for years.

I figured I had better have a song of my own ready in case nobody else signed up. I spent the previous day working up a humorous ditty called Hot Summer Lovin’. I didn’t get the laughs I was anticipating, but at least nobody booed.

“I’ve done songs that were jokey and people just sat there like this,” musician and KJ’s proprietor Jim Couch said stonefaced. “They don’t want to laugh because they might offend the poor guitar player.”

Pretlow was kind enough to let me use his guitar. I wasn’t used to playing one that wasn’t beat up and out of tune, but I got through it. He complimented me on my lightning fast thumb strumming.

Destin Don took the stage next and performed four country-style ballads including Holiday and Loud Music and Two-Stepping. A group of young Romanian tourists—perhaps hoping to hear Brown Eyed Girl or something they knew—began to thin out before Pretlow returned to play an enthusiastic instrumental composition.

When Jeff Caldwell and his group arrived, Pretlow encouraged me to sing Hot Summer Lovin’ again. Two lovely young ladies from Leesville, La.—a small town outside Fort Polk where I actually spent a couple years in the early 1990s—wanted to hear it, too. Rhonda and Juanita then excused themselves and promised to return after they picked up their friends at AJ’s. I never saw them again.

Caldwell’s reaction to my song was more appreciative. “It was really cool,” he said. “I like fun stuff. My songs tend to be more serious.” Caldwell has been busy with solo and band gigs six nights a week. Tonight he planned to introduce some fresh material. What are the new songs about? I asked.

“I hate to say love and spirituality,” Caldwell answered.

“But you just did,” Couch said.

“Stream of consciousness” is how Caldwell described his style of music. “I’ve also been playing with the drummer from Sly and the Family Stone at Capo’s. I’ve never felt any energy like that on stage. Even if you’re not feeling inspired, when you play with him it’s like, ‘Whoa!’” Caldwell hopes to lay down some of his new tracks in the studio this summer.

Like most of the musicians in town, Caldwell is very excited about original music night at KJ’s. Pretlow has booked Kenny Rudd and Pat Boone for the rest of June and hopes to attract some more big names for July. Musicians interested in performing Midnight Music are encouraged to submit a CD or demo to KJ’s. Anyone interested in Open Mic Night just needs to show up around 9 p.m.

“I think this is great,” Couch said. “I don’t think anyone else is doing this. If they are, I haven’t heard about it.”


Back to Musician Profiles

Copyright © The Beachcomber, Inc. 2003 - 2004. All rights reserved.
- the Beachcomber - Destin, FL


The current 5-song EP is entitled Dave DeMonki and is expected for release as a ten song LP by early 2006.
"Hold on to You" is the recipient of an Honor Award from the 2004 Great American Song Contest.
"Only for Awhile" was selected as track 1 for a compilation CD of Destin, FL musicians sold to benefit local school music programs.
Tracks from the EP are currently in rotation on Destin's 102.1 "Homegrown" show (hosted by Dan Collins), Zoe's faves at radioio.com, musiconradio.com (online radio), and other radio stations.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Dave DeMonki has performed in dozens of bands & musical groups at a wide variety of events over the past 16 years on violin, guitar, and bass guitar. Warm up gigs have included Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, the Radiators, the Little River Band, the Call, Edwin McCain, the Producers, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, and on and on…

Dave's annual performances range from violin weddings, the annual Sandestin Wine festival in April, happy-hour solo gigs, late-night bar gigs as a solo, duo, or band, and original music showcases. His versatility with the looper and extensive repertoire enable him to suit the needs of a wide range of events.

Dave started out with a different last name (Pretlow) on the violin as a youngster. At age 14 he turned to bass guitar in order to play in rock bands. After many years of guitar-envy Dave began performing on guitar and electric violin in 1996.

The advent of live looping technology (and a queer eye make-over) enabled what has become Dave DeMonki. Dave records his guitar as he plays live so that he can recycle sections of songs to play solos over.

The current EP is 5 songs performed (without looping) by Dave with the help of producer/engineer/percussionist Brian Peet, and percussionist Louis Antoon.

"DeMonki music" is the culmination of years of house band and life experience put into words with music. The songs are simple in form and arrangement but require skillful musicians to properly execute. The live presentation ranges from straight ahead pop to jam band.

The Destin, Florida version of the band includes Brain Peet on percussion and vocals, Jim Couch on guitar and vocals, and Dave Jones on bass.

The Atlanta-based version has hosted members of the Dave Matthews Cover Band, Atlanta-based original band "Sam's Crossing," and had the recent pleasure of hosting Barry Richman on lead guitar. Check out Barry at www.BarryRichman.com