Local ska band Monkey celebrates its 18th anniversary on January 31st at the Blank Club. During these eighteen years, Monkey has released four full-length albums,  toured the United States 10 times and Europe twice and watched the popularity of ska rise and fall a couple times over.

In addition to celebrating the anniversary, Monkey plans to release its fifth album sometime later this year. We spoke with lead singer and original member Curtis Meacham about the anniversary.

SanJose.com: 18 years is longer life than 99 percent of bands out there. What keeps you going after all these years?

What keeps us going is the fans and the friendships that we have amassed during the years. It’s really hard to say no to a tour, when we get offers from Arizona to Austria and the fans are begging you to come visit them. We love to see their faces.

Do you know how many people have been in Monkey?

How many people? Hundreds… Thousands?

What can you tell me about your upcoming album?

I can’t say much about the title, it’s a secret. It will be released this summer on Asian Man Records and it will feel like a rude boy kick in the teeth. It is really high energy and the recording process has been really smooth for us this time around. We are using a great local studio called District Recordings and Ryan Perras from The Atom Age has been engineering a lot of the songs on the record.

Have you ever added up all the shows you’ve played?

We stopped counting around 5,000 shows (approx 2004-ish). I’m sure we are well over 8,000 by now. It’s been exhausting, but we have learned a lot from our time on the road.

What’s the weirdest show you’ve ever played?

Well, that’s tough to say. We’ve had to play in Eagle, Colorado, and gondola’d all of our gear up to a 10,000 foot mountain top. We’ve also played Bay to Breakers and even crashed random punk rock parties at warehouses. Some of the weird gigs are the best and for the most part, we’ve had the times of our lives!

What advice would you give to a young band just starting out?

The best advice is “Don’t give up!” Music is a hard road and it’s only getting tougher. If you study the musical roots of your style and continue to self-analyze and improve, you will see the benefits of your efforts. Don’t waste time fighting egos with band members or critiques. If someone voices concern about how you are playing, take it with a grain of salt and try to see the constructive points. Move on, and move up.

How many more years do you think we’ll be seeing Monkey?

That really depends on the fans. If they keep coming out, we will probably continue to play until we die on stage. Monkey is a religion and we are in it for the long haul. We continue to invite everyone to join us on this long and fantastic ride. So, keep coming to the shows.

Monkey performs at the Blank Club on January 31. More info.