Canal Street Tavern’s annual Monster Hop refuses to die
By Gary Spencer
Local musician Jamy Holliday has been busy lately. We had been communicating via email while he was in France touring with the self-proclaimed “International Doomsday Punk Rock Machine” group, Dumbell, about talking to him about the upcoming Monster Hop Halloween show he hosts annually at Canal Street Tavern in Dayton.
“I didn’t have Wifi access in France over the weekend and just got home tonight,” explained Holliday about the delayed response. I powered through and think I gave ya some good stuff,” he said.
I haven’t known Holliday as long or as well as some people around these parts, but I do know he’s an old-school punk-rock ‘n’ roller who’s more than earned his stripes and respect in the Gem City. I also know that he’s not short on knowledge and opinions, and sure enough he gave me plenty of detail about what he thinks of the annual Monster Hop party and what he’s been up to musically as of late.
Monster Hop is a yearly Halloween soiree that Holliday has been doing at Canal Street Tavern for close to 20 years that, depending on the year, features live rock music, booze, special guest performers and, yes, Halloween costumes are highly encouraged. Monster Hop has served as an alternative to the also-annual Halloween party in the Oregon District that many Dayton rockers and hipsters try to avoid.
“I started this simply as a Halloween gig for my band at the time, Haunting Souls,” said Holliday. “My original concept was to combine a ‘50s sock hop atmosphere with a macabre circus side show vibe. I’m not sure that ever really happened but it’s taken on a life of its own, nonetheless. From the time I was [a] little dude, Halloween has been my favorite holiday. So continuing the tradition of having bands play, people dress in costume in a bar is a no-brainer, really.”
Since it’s Holliday’s party and he can do what he wants to, he always makes sure to put together a quality lineup of bands and performers each year of his own choosing. This year, Holliday has invited longtime fellow musicians RobtheBank to play and share in the festivities. “Some years it’s a chance to bring friends into town that I haven’t seen or played with in a long time,” he said. “I can’t really think of too many exceptions where the bill hasn’t been made up of people I really dig.”
Likewise, every year one of Holliday’s numerous musical outfits have headlined the event, and this year will be no different as Holliday will bring Dumbell to the states for their second appearance at the Monster Hop and first appearance on U.S. soil in more than 10 years. Based out of Germany, Holliday is joined in the band by American expatriate from Cincinnati, Paul Grace Smith and a rhythm section based out of France. Dumbell’s music doesn’t stray far from Holliday’s own musical roots, grinding out old school Stooges-influenced proto-punk rock that fans of Holliday’s previous musical outfits should definitely enjoy.
“I met two of the guys who would later form the band in ’96 on tour in Europe,” said Holliday. “They later toured the U.S. and stopped in Dayton. Paul and I stayed in touch on and off over the last 15 years and in January of this year he asked me to tour on guitar with them … band rehearsals happen before the tour for a few days. Paul will meet up with the French rhythm section a day or two before I fly over. We all hit it for a couple days and get in the van. Three European tours and a new album recorded over the course of the last eight months later, I’m bringing them here for the Monster Hop 2011.”
After making a stop in Dayton, Dumbell will be hanging stateside to play several gigs before their upcoming album on German label Rookie Records drops in early 2012, and then back to Europe Holliday goes for yet another tour. “We’re looking at a possible tour in South America and a few weeks in the U.S. as well for 2012,” said Holliday.
As for the annual Monster Hop in Dayton, Holliday has no plans to abandon the event that he birthed and has kept going longer than he or anyone else may have expected. “I’m glad the support for the Monster Hop has remained,” said Holliday. “I’ll host the [it] for as long as Mick (Montgomery) will have me,” he said. “It’s always been my baby though. When I’m done, it will be too.”
Monster Hop is Saturday, Oct. 29 at Canal Street Tavern, 308 E. First St. in Dayton. Robthebank and Dumbell are on the bill. Show begins at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door. Call (937) 461-9343.
Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.