“It’s just four friends out having fun,” said regional rocker Jack Adams when contacted about a Northwest Indiana gig on Saturday that has Facebook buzzing. The reunion by his mid-1990s band – Monkey Cocktail – is “just a chance to play some old songs with old friends. It’s a night for nostalgia.”
One thing always bankable in regards to local rock ‘n’ roll, is Adams delivers a strong performance every time he steps on stage and the lights go up. He has the kind of personality that demands attention and stands out in any room with any crowd. Ask this columnist sometime about my first meeting with a then teenage Adams who heckled me from the audience at a high school event I hosted. Ahhhh…nostalgia indeed…but I digress.
Adams rose to local fame right out of high school in the mid-1980s as vocalist and rhythm guitarist for region glam-rock group Sgt. Roxx, where his natural showmanship made him an instant crowd pleaser and club favorite.
It is interesting to note, Sgt. Roxx was the first regional band to release music on a new format just out called “compact disc,” when other groups were still pushing cassette tapes and black vinyl LPs.
Fast forward! The spandex and eyeliner from those MTV-driven days have long been packed away, but the spirit and charisma that first endeared Adams to rock fans on a national level has kept him not only working steady, but moving like the Energizer Bunny on Redbull through various music projects over the years.
These days Adams is usually found in area clubs fronting one of two local bands (I told you the guy has energy) – B.A.M. (short for Boys Are Mean) and Sucker Punch – both featuring former members of Adams’ overall best band ever, his post-Sgt Roxx recording and touring group Monkey Cocktail.
With Monkey Cocktail (originally named Dying Breed), Adams had found the perfect group of collaborators whose passion, talent, creativity, writing skills and charisma complimented his own. There was a real chemistry between guitarist David Carl, bassist Shawn Farrell and drummer Bobby Shaw resulting in the quartet having a decade long run headlining top concert venues and major clubs, powered by the release of two outstanding original music albums – “Twisted” and “Glisten.”
Monkey Cocktail had the kind of reputation for packing music haunts that still has booking agents and event promoters pining for the old days when a fast call to Adams would guarantee ticket sales and filled seats.
Those “old days” return this weekend – sort of – as Adams reunites with his original Monkey Cocktail cohorts for a special one night only performance at 10pm in Crown Point at Three Monkeys Pub (21 West 112th Avenue / 219-662-7000). There is NO cover charge to attend and Adams hopes that helps to coax some of the groups’ old fans to venture out to catch the unique performance.
“Monkey Cocktail at Three Monkeys Pub is perfect,” said the always marketing-savvy Adams, eager to re-hash his old band’s original tunes with the aid of Carl, Farrell and Shaw. Saturday’s reunion show site is based on more than simply sounding like a perfect fit. “The owner used to run the old Bin Willy’s in Valparaiso back in the day where we played a lot of shows,” added Adams. “Again, it’s all about nostalgia.”
Will this weekend’s lone gig lead to a more permanent MC re-grouping, as happened two years ago with The Dancing Noodles, a regional band from the same era that now plays out regularly again due to popular demand. “Probably not,” said Adams. “We’ve gotten other offers for shows but Dave’s hectic gig schedule kind of puts a damper on that (happening).
Carl plays guitar full time with one of Chicago’s most in-demand bands – Final Say – which is consistently booked for top club gigs and corporate shows. Carl agreed with Adams’ thought on prospects of a full on reunion. “Final Say keeps me super busy and I’ve also been putting the final touches on my new home recording studio, but I’m super psyched to be onstage (this weekend) with Jack, Bobby and Shawn again. We will for sure be playing MC Tail originals that night and it’s going to be a blast!”
The idea for doing a “one off” reunion show originated with Carl and Adams in early 2013. “Dave came and saw me play acoustic a couple of times months back and he got up and jammed with me on a few old original songs and some covers,” recalled Adams. “It took us both back. After that we thought, ‘Why not try to do an acoustic full band show?’ which we did last September. Since then we have all kept in better touch with each other.”
Farrell has since joined Adams’ B.A.M. band. Adams soon after started up Sucker Punch as a side band with Shaw. With Carl having a rare weekend off from Final Say, the stars and planets had aligned to make it possible for the foursome to unite this Saturday. Adams echoed Carl’s earlier comment how fans can expect to hear original tunes from Monkey Cocktail’s two albums at the show, along with cover songs the respective members love to perform.
“One more thing!” warned Adams. “Don’t let the ‘unplugged’ thing fool you. This show will rock and people will still want to get up and dance and party! Remember this is a FULL band show.” And more so, it’s a Monkey Cocktail full band show!