EPISODE 046: The Complete History of Seattle: A Raft of Dead Monkeys Story: Nick Toti

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Ideas of fascism, sexuality, gore, violence, and vomit all erupts into this one package of Raft of Dead Monkeys. This is dream logic, seemingly never second guessing any impulse that they had at this point in their musical careers…
— Nick Toti

Raft of Dead Monkeys was a rock band from Seattle, WA, known for their controversy within the Christian punk scene.  The band featured LOR show guests Jeff Bettger lead vocal, and Matt Johnson drums.  Described as a hypothetical band mocking rock culture, their early stage shows consisted of vulgar lyrics, male strippers, and bloody nurses.  In an interview, Jeff Bettger (JSuffering) explained the band's concept with the following:

It was art, and we were making some statements about our culture by mirroring it, copying it and throwing it back in people’s faces to say, “Hey, this is what people adhere to and this is it.”  We thought it was funny and humorous, and a lot of people didn’t get the joke, and didn’t get that we were characters we created when we performed sort of to break the Rock ‘n’ Roll idea/lifestyle, although we don’t really have that idea or lifestyle, at least I don’t.

The majority of the band members were openly Christian and previously played in bands on Tooth & Nail Records, a label that featured primarily Christian rock bands.  The band itself was not affiliated with Tooth & Nail, but the fan base of affiliated bands (Roadside Monument, Ninety Pound Wuss) was largely Christian and was left bewildered when Raft released their first album which contained explicit lyrics.

In 2001 Raft was invited to play Tomfest, a Christian underground music festival, and received mixed reactions when singer Jeff Suffering fingered the crowd during their song Two Year Lease, which features the lyrics, "you're not the only whore in town, you're just the best fuck around." Tomfest founder Mikee Bridges later issued an apology to those who were offended by the performance.

They broke up on October 22, 2001.

This hour long sit down with Nick Toti (Interesting Productions), creator of THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF SEATTLE: a documentary about Raft of Dead Monkeys.  Is a fun rollercoaster ride of interesting stories about Raft as well as the journey of creating this wonderfully dark documentary.

Nick, often inspired by avant-garde movements found this artistic feel in Raft and became a fan of their art and music.  His film company Interesting Productions is a non-profit production/distribution company that was founded by Nick Toti and Matt Latham. They make movies and give them away for free. 

I have, to be honest.  Only in the last two years have I branched out from the pale, entertainment driven, society I called home for so long, to engage documentaries and truly enjoy them.  This is a documentary about a band that seemed religiously suppressed and was ready to explode into an artistic cluster fuck mocking the times.  In my opinion, Raft succeeded.