Q&A: Actual Monsters Talk Southern Monster Smash

​Usually, the festivalgoers who get the worst rap are the dreaded (pun intended), stinkin' hippies. At this moment in South Florida, though, as the First Annual Southern Monster Smash Music Festival approaches, there exists a group that is even more stigmatized than the hippies: the monsters. People of all ages dress up like them, cower in fear as they grace their television sets, and memorize the specific way in which each of them can be killed, just in case. Hardly anyone ever seeks them out for a chat, though. So County Grind figured we'd try for a meetup. We knew they were in town, because we couldn't imagine them missing the festival they were the poster children for. Following our gut, we headed to Tommy Rampage's back bar at the Poor House in Fort Lauderdale, and sure enough, there they were.

County Grind: Heya, monsters!

Mummy: Yo.

Dracula: Hey, man, what's shakin?

Frankenstein: Hi.

Ghosts: Woooooooo.

Monkey Creature: [silent]

What's with the monkeyish fellow?

Dracula: He don't talk, man.

Why not?

Mummy: He took some heavy acid at this one gig we had with Karl Denson. I think Denson blew his mind with his saxophone, man! He hasn't spoken since. Except for to the ghost, who he speaks to through the bass guitar.

I see. So you're actually a band? And you've jammed with Karl Denson? We're all excited to see him at the fest.

Mummy: Yeah, we play, man. We play.

Frankenstein: Denson is the bomb.

Have y'all jammed with anyone else who's playing the fest?

Frankenstein: We once played a child's birthday party with the Heavy Pets.

Dracula: That was a tripped-out gig, man!

Yeah? What happened?

Mummy: Well, the dudes in the band got weirded out 'cause Monkey Creature was creachin'.


Frankenstein: Making unwelcomed sexual advances.

Oh, damn.

Mummy: Yeah, well it got weirder 'cause I didn't notice what Monkey was doin', and I had seen the band's banner and gotten the wrong idea, so I was trying to pet the dudes. [laughs] Like, I thought they were pets, ya know? But, they were there to play music. [laughs] Oh man, they were good too. Kind of a Phish-style jam band. Great players. Great communication. Great jamming. Really fun. And they were basically cool about our touchy style of introducing ourselves. I think one of them was actually diggin' on Monkey. [laughs]

Are y'all gonna play at the fest?

Frankenstein: We want to.

Dracula: The thing is, man, that the monsters are oppressed. We don't get the same shot at gigs, man. You dig? People have the wrong idea about the monsters.

Mummy: We just wanna get down.


Dracula: Yeah, man! We just wanna jam, but peeps don't seem to want us around. They don't even wanna come near us.

Frankenstein: We don't even know how they got that picture of us for the poster.

Ghost: Whoooooooooo?

Mummy: I've got a theory, man. I think it was J.J. Grey.

Dracula: Nah!

Mummy: Yeah, man. Remember when we were jammin' with him behind that Waffle House in Gainseville and he went to take a piss in the bush. I could have sworn that I saw a flash. And I'm not talkin' about his ding dong, man.

OK, I think I'm gonna settle up with Tommy and split.

Dracula: He's got the hundred-watt johnson, man!

Peace out, monsters. See ya at the show.

Southern Monster Smash Music Festival, with J.J. Grey & Mofro, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, the Lee Boys with Oteil and Kofi Burbridge, Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, Hill Country Revue, the Heavy Pets, Crazy Fingers, and the Auctioneers. 11 a.m. Saturday, October 30, at Pompano Beach Amphitheater, 1801 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach. Tickets cost $44.50. Click here.

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Travis Newbill