months and a Midwestern tour later, the Monroes are celebrating
the release of their debut 7-inch Jan. 11 at The 49'r with alt-country
rockers The Movies and The Short Timers (headed by former Darktown
House Band leader Bill Hoover). Recorded last September at The Shoebox
in Lincoln and engineered by Phil Shoemaker, the three-song single
captures the band's pick-up-truck-punk sound but is clean enough
that, maybe for the first time, you can actually understand what
Davis is yelling about.
Side 1 kicks off with
"Kiss Your Elbow Goodbye," where Davis implores: "Boy
this Impala / Sure can fly / But the way you're driving it / We're
"It's about terrace
jumping in my brother's '74 Impala," Davis said. "One
day he was driving down the street and said, 'Do you have your seat
belt on?' and I said 'Should I?' and he said, 'Oh yeah' and drove
right into a field."
is Davis' angry rantings about big, disinterested corporations callously
wiping out the little guy, with lyrics like "America the
beautiful / Trapped in a cubical" and "Neighborhood
bookstore / Just another corporate whore."
"Being someone who
came of age in the '80s, you had more of a perspective on how corporations
impact society," he said. "When corporations replace family
farms, decisions are going to be tied to profits."
Davis laments that the
single's B-side, "Knocked Over," should have been the
A side. Punkier than the other two tracks, it opens with a wave
of buzzsaw guitar and machine-gun drumming. "A hundred and
/ Fifty years / Of history in this town / It's knocked over / Blown
up / And took back to the ground."
"It's about the
landscape of Omaha and how it means absolutely nothing if buildings
are on the register for history places," Davis said. "We've
convinced ourselves that we're a modern city rather than keep our
history. People are always asking, 'What is our identity, what are
we about?' and then go and knock over the stock yards and Jobber's
Canyon. We're erasing our history."
What exactly is Omaha's
identity? Davis points to the fact that the city was built on agriculture,
with businesses like ConAgra, the stock yards and Union Pacific
Railroad. "Why don't we embrace that? To me that's what Omaha
"There's a definite
hick backlash -- to not be perceived as being hicks -- and yet how
many pick-ups are in this town? I think Omaha should be less concerned
about what other people think of the city's image and more concerned
about what the city should do for the people who live here."
Which brings us back
to the identity of The Monroes. Chances are someone will yell out
the name of a Frontier Trust song at Friday's show. Davis said those
days are long gone.
"I loved that band
a lot," he said. "I loved the songs we played in Frontier
Trust, but I think those belong to Frontier Trust. That band put
out three 45s and a full-length LP. I don't want to sound callous
and say, 'If you want to hear that stuff, listen to the records,'
but we're a different band."
Published in The Omaha Weekly Jan. 9, 2002. Copyright © 2002 Tim
McMahan. All rights reserved.