Truth be told, I spend way too much money on music. Truth be told, and considering my monthly take home, I spend waaaay too much money on music. A couple years ago, as a means of avoiding homelessness, I came up with a plan to curtail my record shopping insanity. Basically, if I’m browsing at a record store, distro, merch table or the vendors at the Maryland Deathfest – the bane of my bank account’s existence – unless I stumble upon an item that causes me to exclaim “Holy shit!!” either out loud or in the dusty chamber of my mind, my wallet stays in my pocket. Recently, while perusing the bins with a couple of my fellow Canucklehead hacks from hellbound.ca at local extreme music emporium, Hammer City Records, I had a “Holy shit!!” moment. And I’m here to share a little bit of that with you. Please don’t take this to be a review of any kind or a justification of my shitty taste or a usurping of the Lazarus Pit or a why-can’t-this-be-in-the-hall-of-fame whine because this isn’t meant to be any of that.
I originally stumbled across Monsula the same way I did a lot of music back in the late 80s/early 90s: by hanging out a friend’s place, throwing on random tunes, trading records, dubbing tapes all while playing table top hockey. Monsula was a band from the Bay Area that greatly satisfied my love of hardcore punk steeped in aggressive, yet sunshine-y melodies and top-notch song writing – a love that continues to this day if I’m being honest with y’all. When I dubbed a copy of their 1990 debut album for Lookout!, Structure so began a long-term love affair with what has become a severely stretched tape copy of the record and any moment of free listening time over the next two decades. Yeah, it may not be metal, but fuck, listen to goose-flesh inducing tracks like “Ride,” “Pre-Past Tense,” “Indestructible" and the uber-anthemic "Razors” and you might understand my “Holy shit!!” reaction after finding a mint copy of Structure for $10 21 years after the fact. My admiration for this band and album wasn’t singular. I remember six dudes cramming into a car and driving to a Guelph, a city an hour west of Toronto (and home of Razor!) because we heard Monsula was playing a DIY show somewhere on the university’s campus. We never did find that show or find out if it actually even happened, but I will always remember the backseat mosh pit that started when Raw Power’s Screams From the Gutter came on the stereo. When Monsula did finally make it to Toronto for real, members of that same posse made its way down to the very shitty Parkdale neighbourhood (which is still kinda shitty, but it used to be waaaay shittier) where they were inexplicably booked at a place called, if I'm recollecting accurately, Bob’s Country Bar. No, there wasn’t chicken wire set up in front of the stage, but there were bullwhips, longhorns, saddles and other western paraphernalia mounted on just about every inch of available wall space.
So, after 20 years of stretching the shit out of my original tape copy, I had that “Holy shit!!” moment and am happy to report that I found an original pressing of an album that’s still as fist-raisingly awesome as it ever has been. Mock me if you must, but I fucking love ‘em nonetheless. Here are a few clips of them doing their thing:
Ok, back to the serious business of being metal!