Local band The Rhythm Surf Monkeys finally getting to play gig in Carroll

Local band The Rhythm Surf Monkeys finally getting to play gig in Carroll
Rhythm Surf Monkeys guitarist and vocalist Jim Hiltz and lead singer Sherry V. perform. The band, which began in Eldersburg, will play in Carroll County for the first time on Friday, Jan. 25, when they will play at The Stables at Westminster. (Courtesy photo)

Eldersburg-born band The Rhythm Surf Monkeys will be the prodigal primates when they play their first gig on home turf since their founding at The Stables at Westminster on Friday, Jan. 25.

The show will start at 9 p.m. at The Stables, 452 E Main St, Westminster. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at


The band This Your Monkey? will open the show.

“You've basically got a couple of primates,” said founding member of the Rhythm Surf Monkeys Jim Hiltz.

The band hasn’t stayed away from Carroll on purpose. For the first five years of their incarnation, they were a studio group and it was only in 2016 when they began touring.

The band is rock and roll at its core, taking cues from bands of the 1970s and ‘80s.

“People can expect a rock show,” Hiltz said. “It's going to be 130 beats per minute rock and roll, and we’re going to throw in some blues and really just try to entertain the home crowd.”

Founding member Kyle Reitz said: "It's really just rock and roll. At the end of the day, there's not any other label for it. … It's got its own modern twist too."

"My bandmates that I play with, phenomenal musicians and singers, but even better people. They're like my second family," Hiltz said.

The band is made up of vocalist Sherry V., Hiltz on guitar and vocals, Jeff Bober on guitar and vocals, Mike Hamilton on bass and vocals, Reitz on guitar, and drummer Tom White.

Transitioning from a studio band to a touring one in 2016 has only improved the communication within the band, Hiltz said.

"Everybody adds some flavor to the band. If one of us writes a song, we bring it to the band and everybody might [say], 'Hey it wouldn't be bad if we tried this,' or 'It wouldn't be bad if we tried that.' So a lot of time, what starts as an individual effort turns into a collective [one].”

In 2019, they're finalizing album details for their fifth album as well as debuting their new bass player Mike Hamilton after longtime member Dave Prescott moved to Atlanta. In the spring, they will fly to Atlanta to finish the album there.

Rhythm Surf Monkeys performs at Club 66 in Edgewater.
Rhythm Surf Monkeys performs at Club 66 in Edgewater. (Robert Jordan/Courtesy Photo)

The best part about touring is "being able to play with the band more and more and learn about everyone else as musicians," Reitz said. "And growing as a unit. I would say that has been the biggest thing."

"We would have never guessed that that first session would have turned into five albums in seven years," Hiltz said.

Last year, they were nominated in two categories at the Maryland Music Awards — best rock group 2018 and breakout artist 2018.


Reitz and Hiltz agreed that it did feel like a breakout year after the release of their fourth album.

A self-described "shorts and flip-flops guy" who isn't a fan of the recent snow and cold, Hiltz said RSM almost stood for Rhythm Space Monkeys, but he likes the beach too much.

Though they have a lighthearted name, they got their start through a song with a somber message, "Where were you when my Dad became a Hero," about first responders who were killed on 9/11.

Rhythm Surf Monkeys lead singer Sherry V.
Rhythm Surf Monkeys lead singer Sherry V. (Robert Jordan/Courtesy Photo)

"To me, the substance of the songs is the lyrics, which talk about some real everyday situations," Hiltz said. "We're not afraid to talk about real issues. You're never going to hear us write about 'I like to rock,' or stuff like that. We like our songs to have a little substance to them."

Because of this, it has been especially gratifying when audience members come up after a show to talk to them about the songs or sing along with the words during a show.

"We’ve been noticing the last couple shows [that] people are actually singing the lyrics back to us — that’s truly a rush," Hiltz said.

Is there anything Carroll fans should do to prepare for the show?

"Bring an extra set of vocal cords just in case they're yelling a little too loud," Reitz said said.

For future show dates and all things RSM, visit

Rhythm Surf Monkeys guitarist Jeff Bober plays.
Rhythm Surf Monkeys guitarist Jeff Bober plays. (Terry Hawkins/Courtesy Photo)