Headwaters Inspired Profile: The Shanks


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The rock ‘n’ roll apocalypse, straight out of Mono!

When The Shanks crank up their epic thunder, it’s time for you to get up and get ready to be crushed by steep jams!

Across Canada and throughout Europe, The Shanks have tattooed audiences with their hard-driving bass, drums and vocals sound. And all of it is created right here on a farm in Mono.

Songwriter/vocalist/bassist Ian Donald Starkey (aka St. Pistolwhip von Shankenstein) and his drumming partner Matt DeMatteo (Dr. Thunderwall) have been creating gritty alternative punk rock together since 2010, although Starkey originally started the band in 2005.

Made in Mono, playing in stereo

Starkey said, “My farm in Mono is a great place to make music. Having the space to play and record – the tractor shop is now an awesome rehearsal space – it’s important for us to be able to make some noise and not be worried about disturbing others.”

In 2003, Starkey moved from Toronto to Mono. At the time, he had seriously considered giving up music. “I used to make music with a very good friend who died unexpectedly,” said Starkey. “I thought about hanging it up and just focusing on my architecture practice. But Mono became a place of healing. I needed to go through a restorative process before moving forward. The farm gave me time to re-group and re-think my future.”

In the studio with the third Shank

For The Shanks, making music becomes a cycle of writing new material, creating demos in their home studio, working with a producer to record the album and then hitting the road to tour.

Although many indie bands take a total DIY approach, Starkey sees the benefit of a more traditional approach in the studio. “For our recording sessions, I have really begun to appreciate the benefits of working with a producer. It’s like having another member of the band just for that project. Collaborating with various producers has changed our music for the better.”

Double your pleasure

With an album set for release in the fall of 2018, The Shanks have a heavy touring schedule ahead of them. This includes dates across Canada and in Spain, Portugal and likely Sweden.

For the Canadian dates, they’ll be going out with Winnipeg’s Duotang, another heavy two-piece bass and drums band.

Ready to take a soul punch? Brace yourself for The Shanks!