Originally created 07/10/98

Spider Monkey gets the audience swinging



The last time St. Augustine, Fla., rockers Spider Monkey played in Augusta, lead singer Todd Horn got smacked in the head with a bottle. But he didn't mind.

In fact, if things don't get out of hand Thursday when the band performs at the Red Lion Pub, Mr. Horn promises to do something about it.

"If there isn't a fight -- I'll probably start it," he said in a recent phone conversation from St. Augustine. "There'll be fights and people getting naked. I won't even have to put on a show and still make money. "He's not being serious.

It's all part of an act that thrives on audience reaction, creating a spectacle that's meant to generate a buzz about the band. You know, good old fashioned rock 'n' roll hijinks and hype. Conventional wisdom has it that the Sex Pistols didn't get famous for their musicianship alone.

Beware Augusta, if not necessarily violent like the Sex Pistols, Spider Monkey will be loud and raucous.

"We'll see if we can fire 'em up. Maybe we'll see if we can pay some hookers to dance on stage," Mr. Horn joked.

On a serious note, now that the four-piece band -- rounded out by guitarist Garrett Coleman, drummer Randy Looman and bassist Tony Gialluca -- is an established act playing more than 200 dates a year, mostly in the Southeast, the guys want widespread radio and record success.

"We've never had an identifiable hit song," Mr. Horn admitted.

But they've seen it happen to other bands from the burgeoning Florida music scene, including Creed, Sister Hazel, and Matchbox 20 -- several of whom have opened for Spider Monkey.

"As soon as you open up for us -- you get signed (to a major label)," said Mr. Horn.So why not Spider Monkey?

"Those other bands' stuff is just a bit more catchy," said Mr. Horn.

That's not to say songs off Spider Monkey's 1997 release Insatiable and its previous three self-produced albums are forgettable schlock.

In any event, the band's members are trying to develop a catchy hit song to propel them to national prominence and a major-label record deal.

The vocalist thinks they might have a potential hit in a new song, Self Destruction, which they will play Thursday at the Red Lion, along with a batch of other new tunes and old favorites.

The new material is catching the interest of some high-profile producers who could help refine the band's songwriting and approach, Mr. Horn said.

On Spider Monkey's previous releases, Mr. Gialluca has handled the production, with one hand on the bass guitar and one hand on the control panels.

Mr. Horn believes a breakthrough is on the horizon because for the first time Spider Monkey's songs are starting to stick in his head when he isn't on stage.

"I walk around singing my own songs now, and I've never done that before," he said.Cutline

Want to go?

What: Spider Monkey

When: 11 p.m. Thursday

Where: Red Lion Pub, 1936 Walton Way

Phone: 738-4243

Sound bite

To hear part of the Spider Monkey song Three Ben Franklins from the CD Insatiable, call INFOLINE at 442-4444 and press 8101.