Hot Monkey Love
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Hot Monkey Love

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Blues Rock

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A more interesting take on rocking blues arrives courtesy of Hot Monkey Love. The roster of players on the self-released "Speakin' Evil" includes Shemekia Copeland guitarist Arthur Neilson and former David Bowie sideman Earl Slick. Jack O'Neill provides star-quality vocals on this unashamedly rock-oriented set, which encompasses Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix ballads, Junior Wells and Freddie King blues, and Alicia Keys' "Fallin'" in addition to such credible originals as the Elmore-ized rocker "My Confession" and the smoky "Weight Off My Shoulders." Neilson dominates the straightest blues performers here on B.B. King's "Three O'Clock Blues." - Blues Bites: Reviews in Brief by Tom Hyslop


The creme de la creme of New York city’s blues scene have come together to sing the blues as Hot Monkey Love. Vocalist Jack O’Neil sings like he has been stung by king sized bee, while guitarist Bob Del Rosso wails on solos which will make your hair stand on end. Bassist Jordan Lee and drummer/band leader, Frankie LaRocka set down an unstoppable blues rock groove, as the band crashes through blues classics like Boom, Boom, Shame, Shame, Shame, I’m A King Bee. Champagne and Reefer, Rockin’ Daddy, Crosseyed Cat and 99 Pounds to name a few of the highlights. They are perhaps the tightest blues band around town, which is no surprise as Hot Monkey Love members have played with the likes of David Johansen, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi and Luther Vandross, to name a few. Hot Monkey Love roar throughout, resurrecting the spirits of the greats — John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters It is no surprise cdbaby keeps running out of this CD. It sizzles. I can’t wait to hear them do more originals. Everybody needs some Hot Monkey Love. Get yours now. - The Creme de la Creme by Richard Amery


Hot Monkey Love' "Primate Blues" CD is a stellar blend of blues-rock. Excellent musicianship and vocals. Can't wait to see the band perform live. - Upper Room with Joe Kelley & Gi Dussault


Got so excited when I heard this album [Primate Blues] I had to go and lie down for half an hour. A serious rocking good time. Truly Fab - you owe it to your bad self to check it out!! - Keith Reid


This is one hard driving blues band - the pounding drum beats, solid bass lines and kick ass guitar, not to mention Jack's great bluesy voice makes this [Primate Blues] a record not to be missed if you love the blues. - Erika Lopez, editor


I hear it on a fairly consistent basis: "Doesn't all blues rock sound the same? It's the same damn scale, it's the same damn story (some guy lost his wife and his dog and complains about his cheatin' woman) and the same damn guitar licks, the same bass line, the same chord progressions." While there might some truth in that, while it might take a bit more for a blues artist to stand out and really grab the ear beyond the decades and decades of blues masters that we are blessed with, Hot Monkey puts all these questions and complaints to rest with a blues album that makes you forget the formula, forget the whole concept of genres altogether and just makes it absolutely necessary to get dowwwn. Your hips won't give a damn what your head is analyzing. From smoking harmonica to flame-licking guitar, "Primate Blues" cuts through the crap and hits you in the gut. - Tamara Turner, executive officer, CD Baby


Thirteen cookin' tracks [Speakin' Evil]...Hot Monkey Love have a first-class singer with Jack O'Neill...perfect ensemble play...an incendiary blues/rock/soul mixture...a truly masterful achievement! - Frank Ipach


http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-indie-round-up-trevor/page-2/

Hot Monkey Love, Speakin' Evil

Hot Monkey Love hits home with a barrage of Chicago blues all twisted up with strands of Southern rock and soul and a gritty New York City attitude. The disc opens with a crushing rendition of "Palace of the King," written by Leon Russell, Don Nix, and "Duck Dunn" in honor of the great Freddie King. (John Mayall also covered the song on a recent album.) The band is equally at home with Jimi Hendrix's "Angel," and lands a surprisingly tasty cover of Alicia Keys's breakout hit, "Fallin'."

The band can succeed with a song like that, first because they're good arrangers, but also because of clear-voiced singer Jack O'Neill's ability (like Lou Gramm, whom he resembles vocally) to convey a sensitive lyric as easily as he can belt out a rocker. This serves him very well in one of the strongest original songs on the disc, "Weight Off My Shoulders," a gorgeous duet with guest Antonique Smith (of Rent fame). Another great arrangement makes the original "Stay" a highlight, and the funky blues of the title track (also an original) brings Son Seals to mind. Overall the band's own songs stand up well against covers by the likes of B. B. King, Robert Johnson, and Artie White, and that's saying a lot.

Fans of electric blues can't go wrong with this disc. It has a little of everything, but a muscular, authentic blues sensibility infuses it all. - Jon Sobel


Discography

"Primate Blues" 2004 (HML Records)
"Speakin' Evil" 2007 (BrotherMonk Records)

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Bio

All you need is love, Hot Monkey Love!
Jack O'Neill: vocals; Devious Dee Meyer: guitar; Jumpin' Jordan Lee: bass; Eddie "The Elf" Pietrowski: drums.

Founded in 2003 by the late Frankie "Spider" LaRocka (rock-solid drummer who played with Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Noel Redding, David Johansen, Scandal, and others), Hot Monkey Love have developed into a tight four piece band with additional pro musicians (keyboards, guitars, horn section, background vox) added as needed for higher profile gigs. (After performing with Julian Lennon, Spider got the name for the band from actor James Earl Jones while backstage at the Night Of 100 Stars at Radio City Music Hall -- but that's another story!)

The band's debut release from 2004, "Primate Blues," is currently the number 2 top-selling blues-rock CD on CD Baby. Joined on three tracks by Bowie guitarist, Earl Slick, the band captures the heart and soul of legendary blues musicians in this 12-noon to 12-midnight recording.

Their 2007 follow-up CD, "Speakin' Evil," is currently ranked number 19 (with a bullet!) on the top-selling blues-rock CDs on CD Baby. With this release, the band has raised the temperature to scorching! Surviving the loss in 2005 of founder and original member, FRANKIE “SPIDER” LAROCKA (pro rock-steady drummer, producer and influential A&R exec), remaining members JACK O’NEILL (vocals) and JUMPIN’ JORDAN LEE (bass) took the initial seven tracks which Frankie had recorded with the band in 2005 and, working with genius producer/musician ANTHONY KRIZAN (multiple guitars, b/vocals, and remaining drum tracks), managed to produce a record far-exceeding anyone’s expectations. Initial tracks were recorded on 24 track analog tape with added tracks and mixing done in Pro-Tools at Anthony’s Sonic Boom Studios in Raritan, NJ.

In addition to the impassioned, soulful vocals of JACK O’NEILL, this record features an incredible line-up of guitar luminaries who each blaze their way through some of the most amazing guitar solos and rhythm tracks you’ll ever hear. Featured on four tracks (#2, 4, 6, 8), EARL SLICK (David Bowie Band, John Lennon) soars on electric, slide and acoustic guitars, and also contributes his own arrangement of Hendrix’s “Angel” as a tribute to his old friend, Frankie LaRocka. ARTHUR NEILSON (Shemekia Copeland Band) rips the roof off the blues genre with his unparalleled, expressive guitar style on three tracks (#1, 4, 10). ANTHONY KRIZAN (Amfibian, Spin Doctors, Lenny Kravitz) not only lays down the remaining live drum tracks, but offers up some transcendant guitar tracks throughout the record. And JIMMY BENNETT (Alexis P. Suter, Levon Helm) picks his Fender Telecaster and 1935 Rickenbacker lap steel in his rootsy, Allmans-esque style on two tracks (#9, 11).

Rounding out the smooth, deep-pocket, bass grooves of original monk JUMPIN’ JORDAN LEE are an array of other notable industry talents. Coming off of her performance as Mimi in “Rent,” ANTONIQUE SMITH, with her gospel-tinged, r&b voice, nails the harmony and background vocals on two tracks (#3, 6), including a special Hot Monkey Love arrangement of Alicia Keys’ contemporary classic “Fallin’.” Also offering unforgettable performances are: ARNE WENDT on the Hammond B-3 organ and piano, DAVE RUNYAN (James Cotton Band) on the blues harp, MIKE KRIZAN on a scorching slide guitar solo (#4), BOB DEL ROSSO on guitar, ROB CLORES (Black Crowes) on the Hammond B-3 organ, and, on background vocals: KARAN SERAFIN, CC COLETTI (Meat Loaf), and KAREN COLETTI.

The band is currently writing music for their next record which promises to take them to a whole new level in the music industry. Stay tuned and spread the Love!