Guest Author: Randy Lacey
When I think back to the tail end of the1980’s I do so with both trepidation and fondness. Oddly enough, both emotions are joined together at the hip if you will by the same event, The Metal Monks. Allow me to set the stage for you (pun intended).
Two people tried their best to insert themselves into the street culture of Granville Street, the ‘other’ downtown of Vancouver, British Columbia. This downtown was safely nestled between Georgia Street to the north and Davie Street on the south. At first they were looked upon as being undercover cops, but they lacked a certain street knowledge or cop presence. Victor and Nathan were not cops, they were … Christians, and they wanted to know how they could meet some of the practical needs of the street people.
One of the two, Victor, who would eventually be nicknamed Officer Bob, had done his best to look like a rocker. He donned a black leather jacket, had almost shoulder length hair, and for whatever reason he wore construction boots which had been painted black. An homage to the Rolling Stones perhaps?
His accomplice, Nathan, and for the most part complete opposite to Victor, could have been the Canadian adult version of Opie from that long forgotten TV show. He was quiet and reserved, not much of a talker, but he zoned in on anyone who was talking. He was genuinely interested.
Victor and Nathan would come down to Granville a few times a week. Sometimes they would have others with them from a DTS (Discipleship Training School). This went on for a couple of months. Victor and Nathan brought down a second group of people who were doing an SOE (School of Evangelism) and let them loose to minister to the street people. Eventually they were generally accepted as people not wanting to harm or arrest anyone.
Fast forward a few months and Victor announced they would be all leaving for a while as part of their outreach which included a stop in Chicago to record some music and then off to India. In their absence I was asked to find a centrally located building for them to set up a YWAM base. Victor had indicated there needed to be space for a stage, living quarters and space for other things not yet thought of.
Four months later Victor, Nathan and the rest of the crew who had disappeared had suddenly reappeared looking somewhat gaunt, tired, undergoing culture shock. It was never clear if it was from what they had experienced in India, or what they experienced upon returning home.
Victor had returned with the news about the formation of The Metal Monks. A tape of their EP When the Son Comes Down was played repeatedly. The vision had moved one step closer to reality. The acquisition of a building between Helmcken and Davie Streets suited the needs of the next step.
A SoS (Summer of Service) project had been created to help with the needed renovations for the street church, which of course would have the Monks as the house band and worship team. It was during this SoS when the Monks began to play gigs. The absolute highlight of the Metal Monks live performances was a weekend long concert in Chilliwack in conjunction with the Toy run the ICBA (International Christian Biker’s Association) had scheduled.
The Metal Monks were hardly metal, and they were certainly not monkish in any way. In truth, the only resemblance to metal was the volume level at which they played. It was almost like Spinal Tap only less polished. It was the energy and passion with which they played that made them a fun band to watch and listen to.
The Metal Monks are as big a part of my life today as they were back in the day. I am as proud today to call them friends as I was then. The Metal Monks shall forever be etched in the annals of Christian music as came, saw, and let God have the glory.