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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane teens are going bananas for Monke Business

By Molly Wisor The Spokesman-Review

Monke Business is an up-and-coming band that is well on its way to achieving local high school fame.

The band plays a mix of covers and originals, drawing inspiration from alt-rock sounds from the 1990s to the aughts.

“That’s kind of the reason this band works out the way it does, because everyone has similar taste,” guitarist Brandon Bosch said. “We play around with the genre sometimes, but alt rock is the best way to generalize it.”

No Monke Business show would be complete without a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover, or an original track drawing inspiration from the California four-piece band. The Chili Peppers are a favorite of the group.

Monke Business got its name from an internet meme with a picture of an orangutan that gained popularity in 2019. When group members got together in 2020, they decided to take the meme for their band.

“We’ve definitely been asked about our name a lot, and it’s always really awkward to explain,” drummer Eve Anderson said from her parents’ basement on the South Hill, which serves as the band’s rehearsal space. “Sometimes I think our name doesn’t fit us at all, but it’s stuck.”

“Band names … they all sound stupid when you come up with them,” bassist Andrew Atkinson said. “But the more you perform with the name, and the more you use it, the more organic it feels.”

“Monke” is pronounced like “monkey,” but most fans shorten the name to Monke Biz’.

Just saying the name Monke Business gets the attention of many Spokane teenagers, but Anderson has found that their youth prevents them from getting the opportunities the 2-year-old band needs.

“I think getting high school fame is nice,” she said. “But with adults, there’s a lot more connections you can get. We don’t have many connections, even though we’ve been playing for so long.”

At first, the teens struggled with finding a place to play. Band members contacted local bars and venues to see if they could accommodate their high school-aged crowd, but most places declined.

Luckily, their lack of adult connections didn’t stop them from performing with some of Spokane’s young artists in the first Better Daze festival earlier this spring.

“Working with other local artists is pretty cool,” Bosch said. “They have some interesting opportunities for us to play.”

Despite the initial challenges finding venues for its shows, the band has found Spokane to be a great place to launch its music. Since the initial rejections, they’ve managed to rock out at plenty of local stages.

But the band’s younger audience means some extra precautions.

“We’ve had a few times where we’ve had to have extra security because of our audience, even though nothing ever happens,” vocalist James Eberle said.

Regardless of the presence of parent chaperones, Monke Business is well-known for providing packed and energetic shows to occupy an otherwise boring Saturday night.

“Being on stage, that’s the best,” Anderson said. “It’s such a meaningful connection for everyone.”

Throughout the 2021-22 school year, the band hit many milestones. Most important, it released its first single, “Aurora,” in April . It’s a meandering, guitar-driven song with a soft sound. The band just released its first album, “And Here’s Why,” on Spotify this week.

Now, without school occupying their time, Anderson and Atkinson have devoted themselves to the band more than ever before.

“Andrew and I have probably spent most of our summer down here,” Anderson said.

“We’ve had back-to-back 10-hour sessions,” Atkinson said. “It’s pretty brutal.”

The whole band gets together two to three times a week to practice and record.

With their senior year at Lewis and Clark High School upon them, the band knows that they’ll probably have to break apart in the near future.

Anderson, however, also recognizes a future in which Monke Business continues to make music together. After all, many famous bands, including their beloved Red Hot Chili Peppers, were formed in the members’ teen years.

“Only if we make it really big – which is unlikely – then we might stick together,” she said.

The impermanence of the band itself isn’t weighing heavily on the minds of Monke Business. Their goals are to have fun, make memories, and learn what it means to be in a band.

“I’m probably going to go to college for (music),” Bosch said. “Music’s always going to be there.”

You can listen to Monke Business on Spotify and Apple Music.

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