HIWATT Endorses Monkey Fightin’ Snakes!

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This year is already starting to fill with some amazing good fortune.

Amp makers and tone-gods HIWATT are endorsing and giving tour support to Monkey Fightin’ Snakes 2018 Tour!!!
They are beautifully hand made and precision wired in the U.K., the way they’ve been since the 60’s and everyone who has ever heard one knows their legendary tone.

We will be serving up these tasty amps at shows in a handful of European countries and a healthy dose of Ontario and Quebec dates.

Details to follow soon. We can’t wait to play for you.

The latest word…

February 2017 –  Monkey Fightin’ Snakes finish their second album “Broken Off-Switch”
featuring 14 amazing new cuts.

Instead of having a featured rapper, our songs have what used to be called “Guitar Solos” Haha.

Tunes that could do radio?

we’re thinking


“Already Too Late”

“Cool Down”

“Miles Of Smiles

although there are so many… we  could be wrong…

Here are some quick adjectives to describe the songs:

Already Too Late – Dynamic Riff Rocker with  Bluesy vibe   good guitar solo

Cool Down – Edgey rock – nice hook in the chorus, blues breakdown

More Peace Please – an Instrumental featuring Dobro that bridges east and west, prejudice and compassion, and Cool Down and When You Take Me Away

When You Take Me Away – Blues rock with pop chorus

All Comes Back – Ballad, ’70s vibe

Miles of Smiles –  Hippy blues with Hard Rock Riff

DNA Hole – Straight ahead alt rock n roll- kinda “Weezer”.
Schizophrenic banjo and lead guitar!

Hallelujah It’s Today – Awesome old New Orleans Blues vibe.

Mrs. Simpson – Ballad about a repressed English housewife who trades sex for books with a travelling salesman. Think “The Who” circa 1966.

The Best You Got – Folk Rock anthem with some crossover dobro twang

Sally – Soulful Blues Rock with a hint of Exile On Mainstreet

Sooner Or Later – A recounting of a wonderfully smudgey night with a girl, including the dream.

There There – Folk Rock, Jam Band ending

Trying Too Hard – Edgey Rock, Big 1/2 time rock chorus, a little melancholy, but an uplifting conclusion to this record.

“Finish What You Star…” album review by Sleeping Bag Studios


A great mix of sounds, genres and styles all blend together in all-kinds of rad ways on Finish What You Star… – the new record from Toronto, Canada’s Monkey Fightin’ Snakes. With a sound or song somewhere in the midst of the nine new-ones from the band that you’ll be sure to love – for a three-piece band, they certainly offer up a lot of ideas, twists, turns and brilliant, bright melodies on Finish What You Star… – push play & check it out!

With the treble & distortion-up, they crash and bang into the opening tune “Thank You Radio” – which is a sweet ode to the music that they’ve grown-up on and loved themselves. Twisting through a solid pop/rock/alternative energy…the guitars remind me of bands like The LA’s and Soul Asylum…and the lyrical-flow, writing and style is more akin to something like the Barenaked Ladies going for a rock-vibe. “Thank You Radio” starts the record out in a playful and sincere manner…I absolutely loved the breakdown in the middle…the music sounds completely magical here – and we’re talking FULL breakdown & bring-back…it’s one of those real ‘and then just when you thought it was over…’ deals, and they make the most of that comeback with some excellent backup vocals assisting the melody. Even though I wouldn’t say remotely that this opening track fully-encompasses the full-sound & scope of Monkey Fightin’ Snakes…I would say it makes for a fantastic-energy & sunshiny-start to this record.

Immediately putting their range of sound on further display, “Sweetness And Light” is one hell of a powerful-melody in its verse. Bringing in more of a funk-rock vibe to the chorus, the song itself switches between two defined-moods and really gets the best of both sides recorded onto this song. Perfect playing…fantastic guitar-solo halfway through the song that gets a decent amount of audio-time to really do its thang; it’s a complex-tune, but these guys manage to nail each part with precision. As the two atmospheres play & blend into each other in transition…you might find yourself leaning on one side of their fence more-so than the others, as I did. I really thought the sentimental, sweet & more melancholy-side of the band brought out in the music through the verse showed them in a beautiful light. As they continued into “Evenings Gone” – you get that same sweetness nearly; it has a different energy entirely that’s more like Social Distortion-meets-Big Head Todd & The Monsters – I think they really come alive upon this third tune and raise the stakes on the record, resetting the bar and standard for themselves and their melodies on “Evenings Gone.” Great vocals throughout this record, but certainly a highlight for Matt Davies here…he sounds fantastic in this comforting, familiar-sounding melody…putting a perfect twist into the vocals to really capture the full atmosphere of this song and bring it all together.

“Joanne” was also an immediate standout to me. From the moment the guitars started, they reminded me of Dinosaur Jr.’s signature distorted-sound…but Monkey Fightin’ Snakes take it all in a much more accessible direction than you’d find on anything by J Mascis & his post-grunge collective. Smart verse…great chords and melody that drop in tone and turn in directions you probably wouldn’t expect at first – and it all snaps together completely smartly on this cut. Excellent bass-work from Dave Stoyles.

And though Monkey Fightin’ Snakes might go on to remind you of other bands in spots, it really does seem as if they’ve found a sound unto themselves on this record. I don’t know many bands that write like these guys do, or sound like them…and I think potentially that could pay off extremely well for this band over time. Take “Mrs. Jones” for example…I mean…best I could say for a comparison, would be that they sound like a alternative/pop version of Pearl Jam here…not too many I know that sound like that out there right now that I can think of! There’s a clever flow to the vocals here, and Davies is once again at his best, snarling with the just the right energy & emotion to match the music and its attack. The drums solidly pop along with inspired rhythm; Darren Atkinson helps bring this one to life with clever switches, fills and crashing cymbal-hits right to its very end.

Taking up the distortion a notch into the opening of “Real Still,” it soon breaks to a calm as it flows gently through the verse. Great writing here on this track…the kind that really builds upon itself and lets loose in the chorus, with all-parts captivating. Relating a tale of personal-experience perhaps, or true-story of some-sort, the pound & plunder the melody in this song and “Real Still” kind of comes out sounding a little more raw, real & CLOSE to them than some of the rest by comparison. Solid instrumentation on display from the three-piece once again in full-bloom in the middle of this track with a smooth breakdown that lasts for quite a while (in a good way!) as the track heads towards the end in a complete second-gear. They’ve down-shifted the energy, but upped the charm in the melody of the music for a captivating result that rides out to the song’s end.

With its bright-sounding guitar tones and atmosphere…I’m kind of wondering if the title of “Toad” is more than just a reference to the subject matter in the song…they actually remind me quite a lot of the mood, sound & energy of Toad The Wet Sprocket’s album Dulcinea on this cut. Coincidence? I’m not so sure…I think it’s a combination of smart-ideas that birthed a natural-evolution to an apt-title. They switch it up a little in its middle to really get creative and take the entire song somewhere distant beyond any previous comparisions; incorporating a WICKED harmonica and additional-keys…once again, timing, complexity and precision standout as this song puts on an audible-clinic for the ‘how-tos’ of bad-ass instrumentation. Awesome ideas and a song like this shows Monkey Fightin’ Snakes versatility more than the rest as it winds through a ton of ideas that take it all to a decisive conclusion that leaves you instantly wanting more.

AND…like they HEAR your prayers…they GIVE you MORE right away. If you’re digging the added-element of excellent-instrumentation that’s been added into this record, you’ll also love “But For The Fool.” A little more in that column of course leads to a little less accessibility for the mainstream-ears in a sense, but kinda raises the value of their street-cred with all the rest of the musicians out there listening. Solid rhythm & groove and great combining of their talents complement each other into an excellent representation of their overall versatility once again; this tune almost straddles the edge of gospel/country in its makeup – but there is more than enough of their rock/pop/blues style that creeps into the song to keep it cohesive with the record. Excellent percussion and Santana-esque vibe in “But For The Fool” – and solid verbal-riffage from Davies in the middle as he gets creative and right into the music.

Perhaps one of the better-endings I’ve heard to a record throughout this entire year of doing reviews – they take “Mind Of Matter” to fragility they’ve yet to expose on Finish What You Star… It nearly takes them into melodies shaped by John Lennon…but once again, Monkey Fightin’ Ninja twist the entire tune into something incredibly unique, bright & brilliant in this final song. Really a magical track – it has a forlorn, longing & lasting sweetness and emotion to it that completely takes their writing to a new-sound & new-level if you ask me…I think they saved their best for last here…”Mind Or Matter” is a genius-ending to the record and experience with Monkey Fightin’ Snakes. The potential for this band is audibly-limitless…a lot of skill on display, a great-number of excellent ideas and a true-gift for versatility in their writing – Finish What You Star… is one hell of an experience that I hope the continue with and never truly find an end to…as that to me, would mean a whole lot more awesome music from this diverse & exciting band out of Canada!

Some Recent Press…

When singer-songwriter Matthew Davies heard actor Samuel L. Jackson shout “I’ve had it with these Monkey Fightin’ Snakes on this Monday to Friday plane,” in the edited-for-television version of the cult classic film, “Snakes on a Plane” he knew he had found the perfect name for his band… Monkey Fightin’ Snakes. Composing the band with Davies are: Dave Stoyles on bass guitar, button box, souzaphone, trombone and backing vocals; and Darren Atkinson on drums, percussion, backing vocals and mayhem.

Before the band hit the stage at The Arlington on Saturday, July 18 Davies sat down with Bancroft This Week to discuss his passion for sound and most importantly the music of Monkey Fightin’ Snakes.
“We got the name from the movie, but after sitting with it for a while we started to appreciate it for other reasons,” said Davies.
“It’s a pie in the face to the establishment, but it also makes you question if you are a monkey or a snake. In reality we are all both at one time or another.”
Growing up as part of a musically-gifted family Davies was destined early on for the stage. Having famed Canadian songsmith Neil Young as a cousin and legendary Canadian author Robertson Davies as a great Uncle, his creative roots run deep. As a young child he remembers the first time he was moved by a piece of music after enjoying a family dinner.
“We had finished eating and my Grandfather sat at the piano and my Mom and my two Aunts and he just started singing this beautiful three-part harmony,” Davies said.
“I remember thinking it was as if they were all in a secret club, and they knew the code. I wanted to know the code too! I do remember specifically my Grampa sitting me on his knee with a ukelele wrapped around me and showing me Aint She Sweet. I was probably still in diapers.”
Davies’s jam-filled guitar spoons out the flavor on each and every song when performing live, and on the band’s recently released debut album, Finish What You Star. Produced by multi Juno Award winning producer Michael Philip Wojewoda and mastered by Grammy Award winning engineer Joåo Carvalho, the album was recorded live off the floor, through an old Neve console on two inch tape to achieve the band’s heavy yet smooth and pure sound.
“We were making the record exactly the way Sabbath, Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith made a record,” explained Davies.
“We were literally using gear from the 1970s, mics from the 50s and 40s even. It has that real sound.”
Sound quality is of the utmost importance to the members of Monkey Fightin’ Snakes, as is the sequence of the songs that appear on their album. Such careful concern for quality in music seems to be going the way of the Great Auk as more and more people listen to music exclusively through digital devices.
“One of the weird things is that when music is digital and it is just being played in iTunes you don’t really think so much about how songs flow together because sometimes it is on shuffle and it can be non-linear,” he said.
“Whereas a record is a set, fixed thing when you put on a side of an LP, so now all of a sudden the spaces between the songs, how much of a gap there is and which song is flowing into the next one became more important.”
Citing a diverse list of musical influences that includes everyone from Crowded House to The Grateful Dead, Davies said there is one musician who stands out above the rest…Jimi Hendrix.
“I really love Jimi’s tone, also the way he played blues was just so fluid,” said Davies.
“I was so influenced by him that I spent many years trying really hard not to sound like him. He is just so musical, and although he was the ultimate rock star, he was never about the flash or technique, just about conveying emotion. There are many reasons why people are still talking about him, a guy with a three year career in the spotlight, 45 years after his death.”
When writing a song Davies strives to honestly convey his own thoughts and emotions with creative enthusiasm. He sees music as its own language that speaks to its audience in three different but interconnected ways: rhythm, melody and lyrics.
“Rhythm speaks to the body and makes us move in sympathy, if we are listening,” Davies said.
“Melody speaks to our feelings and makes us feel in sympathy, if we are listening. Lyrics speak to the mind and make us think or wonder if we are listening. When those three sides of a song really work and hit us together, that is LISTENING and really hearing a song in its totality. I believe the difference between a good song and a great song is how well those elements work together.”
According to Davies, for a song to truly be great it must touch its audience on all three of these levels. However, to reach people in this way a piece of music is not required to be 100 per cent perfect. In reality, he said it takes a little bit of funk, and a whole lot of soul. If a song is too perfect in its production it loses its ability to connect with us.
“There needs to be the element of risk, the possibility of wrong notes, that walking the tightrope. Great resolve is only achieved through preceding tension.”

By Nate Smelle
Bancroft This Week, July 22, 2015

2015 Summer Tour Underway and We Got Our Vinyl!

So far our shows in Toronto, St Catherines, and Wakefield have been a total blast.
Thank you so much to all of you who’ve come out to see us, we couldn’t and wouldn’t do it with out you.

We are pleased to announce that our first run of delicious vinyl has arrived and
we invite you to get it and throw a listening party. Our first record, “Finish What You Star…”
is a combination of rockers and ballads and I always kinda imagined that it would sound this way
and that I would record it the way my favourite rock records were made.

If you appreciate sonic quality and High Fidelity, you might like to know that our album was recorded
through a 1970’s Neve Console to 2″ 24 Track analogue tape, then mastered to 1″ 2 Track before going to vinyl lacquer.
We cut the tracks live off the floor to achieve a performance for each song. Some of these songs got a few overdubs added to the performance, while some songs on the record are just as we played them. Drums and Bass record extremely well to tape and have a wonderful tonal quality,  and the guitars get wonderful warm sustain. I recorded the guitars bi amped through a 1971 Fender Vibrolux
and a 1966 Pete Traynor Bassmate…just killer…and now available on vinyl!!!

We are really looking forward to our next batch of shows. On June 25 we are doing an internet streaming show through Concert Window and a live set at Sessions By The River in Fort Erie along with balladeer David Corely and his band.
Both David and us are playing songs from our brand new records, so it is going to be really cool.
Here is the link if you wanna tune in for $4 …four bucks is like a cup of coffee…


Saturday June 27 we are in Port Dalousie at Murphy’s opening for the Astrid Young Band.


Finish What You Star album cover

Gearing Up For Our Vinyl Record Release and Summer / Fall Tour

In preparation for the upcoming vinyl release of our debut album “Finish What You Star”, we recently completed the mastering for vinyl and re-sequencing with Grammy Award winner João Carvalho. We are now eagerly awaiting test pressings from California.

Because we recorded our album to tape, we got incredible “bottom end” and because the record clocks in at just over 19 minutes a side, we are going to have some bass-loving giant grooves on that vinyl!

We can’t freaking wait. Really.

We are starting to get a rough idea of how many shows and where we will be playing this year,
and it’s actually making sense on a map. With any luck, we will play about 25 shows on this tour.

As any of you who have ever tried to promote and organize your own tour well know…
it’s a “thousand emails, phone calls, texts, scraps of paper, words of mouths, friends of friends” kind of thing, and so it is a bit of a moving target…but dang it if we won’t try and play somewhere near you as soon as we can.

That said, if you know of a nice club, bar, tavern or theatre where you think we could play…
please email us. We would be very grateful.


Finish What You Star album cover

MFS 2014 Summer Tour

We had a great time on our European Tour, but there is no place like home. Our next tour, in support of the amazing and talented Astrid Young, is this summer from July 23 to August 3.


July 23, 2014 Gibson Lounge Toronto Details
July 24, 2014 This Ain’t Hollywood Hamilton Details
July 25, 2014 The Drake  Hotel Toronto Details
July 26, 2014 Rednersville Community Arts Prince Edward County Details
July 31, 2014 The Sanctuary Fort Erie Details
August 1, 2014 The Linsmore Toronto Details
August 3, 2014 The Neat Café Burnstown, Ottawa Details
August 16, 2014 London Music Club London Details


Monkey Fightin’ Snakes – European Tour – March 5 to 17, 2014

The Monkey Fightin’ Snakes (Leslieville, Toronto, Canada) are embarking on a Multi-national European Tour.

In conjunction with HIWATT and: Marc and the Millionaires (Germany), Rock Revolution Club (Finland), The Black Olives (Moldova).
Watch for us in a European City Near You.Shows:

March 06, 2014 12 Bar Club London, England Details
March 07, 2014 The Boars Head Kidderminster, England Details
March 12, 2014 12 Bar Club London, England Details
March 13, 2014 Spritzehaus Frankfurt, Germany Details
March 14, 2014 Cafe Koz Frankfurt, Germany Details
March 15, 2014 Rock Café De Engel Den Helder, Netherlands Details
March 16, 2014 12 Bar Club London, England Details

Finish What You Star – “sneak listen” – February 28th, 2014

Hello Friends and people of earth… To Celebrate the completion of our album, “Finish What You Star”, we are having a gig/ party around 9:00pm on Friday February 28th at the revamped and uber vibey Linsmore Tavern, at 1298 Danforth East (Greenwood Subway). Please come out if you can and we will take you on a musical trip. Tickets are $5.00 in advance or $10.00 at the door. You can get advance tickets here: Advance tickets View Larger Map

Album completed: Finish What You Star -Pre Release Available

Hello Friends and people of earth… soft copies (Downloads) of our just completed recording “Finish What You Star” are now available on BandCamp. We are very proud of this record and really hope you enjoy it. You can stream it on Rdio to see if you like it…. We will be having a album completion gig/ party on Friday February 28th at the historic Linsmore Tavern, 1298 Danforth Avenue East. Stay tuned as we hope to have a formal Album release (Vinyl!!!) in early 2015.