The greatest ’60s band you’ve never heard of

The Torquays were a totally obscure cover band composed of five American G.I.’s, all of whom had been stationed outside Frankfurt in 1961. They were discharged from the Army in 1964. And then, just as the sixties began to get weird, they turned into the weirdest — and most wonderful — of sixties bands.

Instead of returning to the States, the Torquays dressed up like medieval friars, shaved tonsures into their hair, and rechristened themselves the Monks. They wrote brilliantly simple songs, played with locomotive intensity, and released just one album, Black Monk Time, in Germany, before their 1967 breakup. But time was on their side: Out next week on Light in the Attic Records, this welcome reissue of Black Monk Time includes testimonials from members of forward-looking groups like Radiohead, Faust, Nirvana, and the Stooges. “The Monks are right up there with Little Richard,” Jon Spencer writes. To which we say, “Amen.”

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