Album Review: The Monks – Bad Habits (1979 Canadian LP)

This band (featuring ex-members of Velvet Opera,The Strawbs, Hudson-Ford) was a spoof on punk bands and was all but ignored in their native UK. The only issue is someone forget to include Canadians in on the joke. This album went to double platinum in Canada(which means 1 in every 120 people in Canada bought it) and was on constant replay on rock radio in the early ’80’s. Canadians loved The Monks so much that the band released a second album (Suspended Animation) that was released exclusively in Canada, and the bands only tour was a 21 day romp around Ontario, Canada. The band only lasted for 3 years, but many Canadians still remember this album fondly, and it is often seen in the used section of most record stores across the country. For me, I vividly remember sitting in my cousin’s living room at a farmhouse near Drayton, Ontario just like it was yesterday. For my 11 year old, strict Catholic upbringing self, seeing the front cover photo on the album which had a guilty looking nun smoking a cigarette with her skirt hiked up to show off her thigh high stockings. This was nothing like the nuns that taught me, let me tell you. Then the back cover showed her clothing discarded on the floor and the woman exiting dressed for a night on the town. Even if this album had sucked, it already had me hooked.

Johnny B Rotten – Johnny Rotten must not have liked the reference because he called the band “patronising rubbish” and “a poor imitation of the Sex pistols”. Apparently Canadians were not the only ones that were not in on the joke.

Drugs In My Pocket – The song starts off with footsteps, a tin can being kicked and a hypnotizing bass beat. My favourite part has to be the dialect about a mock drug deal with a Cockney buyer and a drug dealer with a Jamaican accent. The police siren and the guys running away end the song off with flair.

Love In Stereo – A song about a threesome relationship. “ wants to stay at home, the other wants a night out, one wants to read in bed, the other wants the light out. I don’t know what to do, ’cause I’m in love with you…..and you…” Sounds like a lot of work. One woman is enough for me thanks.

Bad Habits – More hypnotizing bass and vocals that went up a few octaves highlight this one. The creepy computer noises in the middle are as confusing in 2023 as they probably were in 1979, but they take little from this pretty decent song.

Spotty Face – Of note for me is the guitar work. I am 100% sure that the band Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet played the shit out of this album before they formed. This song is about not really fitting in with the “in” crowd. His “mates” will invite him along to buy beer but not really listen to what he has to say, and the girls run away from him. It reminds me of grade 9 when I wore my concert shirts with long hair, and the cool crowd was a bunch of posturing, preppy new-wavers. I didn’t try and fit in with them though. I found like minded people who thought I was cool just the way I was.

Dear Jerry, Don’t Try To Kill Me With Your Love, Norman – Songs title aside, this one has a really cool beat. It kind of reminds my of Police mixed with The Clash. Also more Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet sounds before that band even existed can’t be a bad thing.

Nice Legs Shame About Her Face – Side 2 starts off with this non-pc song, which was the only single to even get noticed in England. A mix of late 50’s Buddy Holly/early 60’s Dylan mixed with pub rock. I wonder if this song had a bit of influence on The Northern Pikes with their song She Ain’t Pretty.

Inter-City Kitty – More wicked bass work, and the distorted guitar work is pretty cool too. The exaggerated Cockney accent really stood out to this lad in the late 70’s.

Out Of Work Musician – Cool drumming mixed with sweet guitar work. This song might be the only song that drops an f bomb on an album with a nun on the cover that comes to mind.

I Ain’t Gettin Any – More Shadowy Men guitar work here accentuate this fun little ditty about a young man not having much luck with the ladies.

No Shame – A very Cars like song that Ric Ocasek would have been proud to call his own.

Skylab (Theme from The Monks) – A great guitar riff from the surf rock days accentuates this one. Although they were just one of the long line of British former folk musicians, spoofing on punk rockers while playing California surf music mixed with sci-fi mixed with spaghetti western, and appealing to mostly Canadians. Get in line lads.

The video below features the 1 night only show in 2012(which I am quite upset I missed), in which a who’s who of Canadian musicians played along with original Monks member John Ford. Please read the video description to see who played. Also go to for more info and music.

This album has both the brattiness of punk, and the catchiness of pop. Great writing, wonderful musicianship. catchy hooks. This album has it all. I even read a famous Canadian musician chose this as one of his desert island picks. It really is that great. You owe it to yourself to search this one out, or just come to an Ontario record store. It won’t be hard to find there.



9 thoughts on “Album Review: The Monks – Bad Habits (1979 Canadian LP)

    • I never really looked for the cd since I have the vinyl.
      I just looked it up on Discogs, and it must have been in smaller batches since it sells for $30 used, where as good vinyl copies can be had for around $10-15.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yup. Fine line on pricing used stuff like that.
        Maybe in 90’s you could dictate prices before Discogs, Amazon etc.
        I have found some of their used stuff is more than new.
        I used to go there all the time. Now mostly to flip through the used vinyl.


    • Thanks. I banged a couple out on my day off yesterday. The live show review comes out tomorrow.
      I remember these songs from my youth. I think they stayed popular from around 1980 to 1983ish.
      Still a great listen. You should visit your brother-in-law and bring a backpack if you know what I’m sayin’

      Liked by 1 person

      • hahaha I know what your saying…Those were may high school years 81-86 and these guys were always a staple at a few house parties I went too…


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