To understand how The Sock Monkey Nation came to be, one must simply take a trip back in time. The band traces its roots back to 1965, when great music from “across the pond” made its way into venues across America, and the DC metro area. Lead Guitarist Johnny Rico was playing with his genuine garage band The Carnaby Street Set in those days, when the opportunity to invite guitarist friend Roger Bullock to join the band presented itself. Meanwhile, just down the alley, Art Meushaw was washed over by the British Invasion and formed The Epics, and eventually the 23d Legion. These musicians continued to ply their skills, and like many bands of the time, eventually gravitated to other musical incarnations. After leaving The Carnaby Street Set Roger found opportunity to combine forces with Art Meushaw in the Velvet Haze. The ‘Haze burst upon the DC music scene with their original 45-rpm release of the acclaimed “Last Day On Earth.” Johnny teamed up with Mad Dog Prue in the Aladdin Record Company sensation The Almost Blues Band and enjoyed a successful run with several recordings and air time. The cornerstone of what would eventually become The Sock Monkeys of today was set.
After pursuing various musical collaborations in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, Johnny and Roger once again found the chance to play together again in 1998 at basement sessions with local musician friends from years past. The musical blends honed from these gatherings created the unique sound one hears from The Sock Monkeys today. An instant success, The Sock Monkeys quickly developed a loyal following at the start of the 21st Century. Playing key venues in Washington DC, Sock Monkey performances included stints at venues from Capitol Hill to RFK Stadium, political parties, Government and corporate gatherings, and even a street party in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Sock Monkeys success led to an invite to be the house band for a local Springfield, Virginia watering hole for seven years running.
In 2007. Roger summoned Art to join The Sock Monkeys as full time keyboardist to relieve Johnny of his dual guitar and organ roles. Two years later, former high school band mate and drummer Ron Schneider was added to the lineup. Later that year Roger switched to bass and Johnny called upon Mad Dog for the rhythm guitar duties.
Band members have come and gone over the years, but the original base lineup of Johnny Rico and Roger Bullock was further revitalized with addition of the powerful lead vocals of Tim Hamer and the soulful sax of Memphis Mark Moccio. Tim performed as a drummer, singer and guitarist with numerous east coast bands including The Stevedores, The Ticket, Maize, The Rhythm Jack’s and for 14 years, along with Mark, with The Fabulous Bel Airs.
The real reward for Sock Monkey fans, and new listeners alike, is the group’s action packed live performance. Overflowing with a spirit and energy inspired from music only the heart can deliver. The Sock Monkey Nation lives— singing, reminiscing, and dancing its way into the soul of every listener. Audience members are even invited to join the band and perform on stage to ultimately produce unparalleled classic Rock ‘N’ Roll renditions all attending will cherish and remember.
Long live The Sock Monkey Nation!