An Inside Look at Prank Monkey at The Marshfield Fair (complete with celebrity appearance!) By BonSarno

So, I figured I would take you, the reader, beyond that elusive 5th wall to see what it’s REALLY like behind the scenes of a local rock and roll machine, and what better gig to do it at, than our most prestigious gig of the year: the Marshfield Fair!

Our bus rolls up inside the “Entertainers Only” section of the Fair, and our manager exits the bus with two burly bodyguards, Jimbo and Tiny, to find the Fair’s manager to go over last-minute contractual changes, get the wad of cash, and secure the items previously agreed upon, such as 20 caramel apples, 10 fried doughs, and 5 pink cotton candies… (If they are light blue, we trash the backstage area!).

Okay… upon waking up from my dream, it’s reality time!

As our convoy of cars and pickup trucks enters the fair area, rhythm guitarist and convoy leader Dana “Zeul” Leonard gets out to try to convince the parking attendant that we really are all with a band that’s playing today. We are NOT trying to sneak 6 cars full of people and music gear in for free.
We are then escorted to the stage … err …tent area, located conveniently near the 4H Animal exhibit. Ahhh… the sweet smell of success! Monkeys next to the 4H area; seems somehow fitting.
Band mates, girlfriends, wives, and friends help unload the gear to get this show on the road! Not professional roadies, but a better crew, we’ll never find!
Upon setting up massive amounts of speakers, amps, guitars, mics, drums and accessories, lead guitarist Paul “Hog” Farrar quickly points out, “We can’t use that outlet. They need that to shave the sheep.” Not even onstage yet, and we’re upstaged by the animals. You know what they say – kids and animals – never work with ‘em!

Just before hitting the stage, it’s time for some nourishment. Instead of the usual caviar and champagne, bassist Jamie “Farce” English and I settle for the gourmet Fair French Fries. Drummer Pete “Animal” Flinn decides that maybe a plastic cup or two of the liquid, frothy, fermented hops might be a fine choice. Coincidence that the beer stand is located just outside the band tent? I think not!

Being the always punctual band we are, we hit the stage promptly at 6:30. Just a few minutes shy of the 6:00 scheduled time.
Now, over the past couple years, Prank Monkey have veered into heavier musical territory, but today we figured we’d pull out our more ‘radio friendly’ set, since this is a family event. No 21+ crowds tonight! We blast into our crowd favorites and trusty stand-by tunes such as “Learn To Fly,” “Last Kiss,” “Alive,” “Gel,” “Surrender,” and a semi-electrified “Leroy Brown.” Old fans and new Fair-passers-by are digging it! So we decide to up the ante, and pull out some heavier material like Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper,” Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” and even our own original song, “13.”
The crowd is still with us!
Time for a short break.

This is where the night got more interesting. After opening our second set with “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison, people are pointing to stage right. Apparently, none other than local Marshfield resident (oh, he also has a small band called Aerosmith, and a little show called American Idol) Steven Tyler was hanging around listening to the band of Monkeys. So, after mentioning his name over the mic minutes later, he is nowhere to be found. Much like the ever elusive Big Foot, it was just a rumor… not to be actually seen.
The night continues with danceable song after danceable song: “I Want You To Want Me,” “Hungry Like The Wolf,” “All The Small Things,” as well as newer Prank Monkey addition “Melt With You” and chant-along “We’re Not Gonna Take It!” Somewhere along the line the animals took over. Not the 4H ones, but Prank Monkey’s own “Monkey Junkie” fans. Standing on tables, screaming along, slam dancing at the picnic tables… At some point, it became a typical Monkey show! I always thought that such later-evening antics were due to high alcohol consumption. Perhaps the fumes from the animal building were taking their effect on the fans.
The musical night concludes with a tear jerking “Don’t You Forget About Me.”
Another great show, complete!

But our story doesn’t end there!

Someone tells me, “Steven Tyler is over there by the Steak On A Stick stand!” Where else would rock royalty be hanging out? So rather than go and fawn over him, and worship at his feet, I take the sarcastic route and ask one of my childhood idols, “Why didn’t you stay to check out my band?” To which he replies… “I did! I was there for like ten minutes… you dissed me!” I told him I did no such thing, and I didn’t notice him there. He said, “You called out my name. I’m trying to blend!” To which I came back sarcastically with, “Yeah Steven, you’re so inconspicuous!”
All in good fun, Steven and I went back and forth with a verbal sparring match for a few minutes. He was a great sport.
Apparently he was heard earlier in the evening saying, “they’re rockin’” and also at the end of our sparring match, told me I was worthy of going to Hollywood, and stopped to pose for a picture.

So in the end, as the Fair is closing down, the animals were finally calming down from all the racket, the Monkeys are breaking down equipment on the grassy stage, and Steven Tyler is trying to eat his steak on a stick, I can’t help but think… It might not be Madison Square Garden. I might not be able to demand “no brown M&Ms” in my dressing room. I might be second billing to sheep and horses, and I might be wrapping my own cords and packing my own guitar, but it sure felt like the top of the world to me!
Thank you Marshfield!! Good Night!!