When Jackson Rathbone and his band 100 Monkeys took the stage at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas last spring, the sound of squeals were the only sound that could be heard. The crowd packed as close to the stage as they could, hoping to get a glimpse of the “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” star.
“You all look mighty tasty tonight”, Rathbone said to a crowd of teenagers and young twenty-somethings. At this, the high pitched, faceless gaggle of screamers went nuts again, and the band started into their set.
The band 100 Monkeys consists of five guys, all of whom are pretty easy on the eyes. They are Jackson Rathbone and his childhood friend, Ben Graupner, a budding actor Jerad Anderson, Ben Johnson of Mt. Carroll, IL and then there is the head-scratcher and self-proclaimed “Uncle of the world”, M. Lawrence, ‘Uncle Larry’ Abrams.
Although all members of the band take turns playing instruments, something of a gimmick they are known for, it’s the fifty-something that helps bring a little credibility to the group of twenty-somethings with just a jazzy tip to his high-hat. He is a bad ass percussionist who grew up on south Spaulding in Chicago. I asked Uncle Larry if his friends come out for the shows with this group of young bucks and he says quite seriously, “I don’t really have friends, I only have loved ones.”
Recently, the boys took some time out of their bustling tour schedule to chat about new album Liquid Zoo, hotel slumber parties, and the special hugs they give one another before hopping on stage. Oh and girls, Jackson Rathbone’s southern accent is real and yes it is that sexy.
New Times: So you guys started this tour a little while ago, how’s it going for you?
100 Monkeys: Yeah we started about 3 weeks ago, and its just been great. Lots of energy from the crowds, and our fans are awesome. We have fans that travel all over the country following us to see multiple shows in different cities.
Jackson Rathbone, known for his portrayal of vampire Jasper Hale in the “Twilight” movies, says long hours are required to be an actor and also a member of rock band 100 Monkeys.
“I usually work about 12 hours on set and rehearse about four or five hours a night,” said Rathbone, who will appear with 100 Monkeys Wednesday in the Egyptian Room at Old National Centre. “It’s not easy to break into the entertainment industry as an actor or as a band.”
The 26-year-old merges his careers in upcoming film “Live at the Foxes Den.”
“I play a young lawyer who becomes a lounge singer,” Rathbone said. “I’m doing standards like ‘Old Devil Moon,’ ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’ and ‘You Make Me Feel So Young.’ The style I’m going for is a mix of Frank Sinatra and Chet Baker.”
Rathbone’s baritone vocals, which have sparked comparisons to Jim Morrison, are showcased on new 100 Monkeys album “Liquid Zoo.”
“I’ve loved entertaining people since I was a kid,” he said. “In life, I’ve been driven by the ability to get on a stage and hopefully get a crowd dancing. Call it escapism or entertainment or just good old rock ‘n’ roll.”
Categorized on their MySpace page as a combination of “Japanese classic music, 2-step, psychobilly” which may be good enough or equally perplexing descriptors as any, the 100 Monkeys are currently touring throughout the summer with their debut CD Monster De Lux.
Just listen for the shouted deluge of audience improv suggestions or follow the trail of over-excited, collapsed Twi-hards, and you’ll be sure to find them.
Meanwhile, StarShine caged the jovial, bantering Monkeys (sans Ben J.) for an exclusive interview in which they discuss stage life, Twilight mania, obscure global theorems, and humpback whales.
What’s the origin of the 100 Monkeys?
Jackson: The 100 Monkeys started with Ben G. and I–like 3 years ago–whenever he moved to L.A. We were roommates back in high school. We knew Ben J. back then, and we started the band as a two-man group just doing improv music and trying to get Ben J. out to Los Angeles to make some music with us. Along the way, we happened to meet up with Jared Anderson who we would jam with all the time. Now we all are together in harmony. It’s fantastic.
Ben G: It’s like an MTV reality show.