The Mojo Monkeys +
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Mojo Monkeys, my hat is off to you!
Taras Prodaniuk, bass guitar
Billy Watts, guitars
David Raven, drums

A host of other musicians helped me, too—Phil Parlapiano, all keys, accordion, mandolin, banjo. Aubrey Richmond, fiddle. Lee Thornburg, horns. David Woodford, horns. Debra Dobkin, percussion. Billy Watts and Teresa James, background vocals.

Mojo Monkeys is the labor of love of three veteran Los Angeles musicians: Singer/Drummer David Raven, Bassist Taras Prodaniuk and guitarist Billy Watts. Individually, they’ve logged time in the studio or onstage with such notable artists as: Lucinda Williams Keith Richards, Norah Jones, Dwight Yoakam, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, June Carter Cash, Mike Ness, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Dixie Chicks, Geoff Muldaur, John Trudell, Richard Thompson, Jim Lauderdale, Peter Himmelman, Buck Owens, T-Bone Burnett and many, many more. 

Singer/Songwriter/Drummer David Raven, on the band and theIr new, long-awaited CD, “Blessings & Curses”—

Blessings & Curses was a long labor of love. After we’d written about 25 songs and recorded about 20, we tried to make it into an album. The title seemed to be the only theme that ran through the whole project. A lot has happened since we started that record. These songs are all pure expressions of moments, and some are so different they didn’t seem to belong on the same record. After wrestling with it for a few months, I just said, fuck it, i like all these 13 songs. We put them in the order that we liked listening to them. 

Like always with Mojo Monkeys, we never fought. We have disagreements over things, but we talk like adults, and we always come to a consensus. I’ve never been in a band, or a family for that matter, with the kind of solidarity, mutual respect, and love as this band. I would say we’re like brothers, but brothers fight.

We started about 20 years ago. Our musical chemistry was the most natural thing. Our writing process is as follows: 

  • We show up at a studio.  
  • We start playing music. 
  • Sometimes an arrangement happens the first time we play the idea.  
  • Sometimes, we whittle and mold it into an arrangement.  
  • I mumble a melody into a microphone.  
  • I take like 3 years trying to write some lyrics, then they fall out of the sky, and i put them in the song.  
  • Then we do the overdubbing, mixing, editing, and mastering.