Featured Musician Allen Arena
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Featured Musician Allen Arena

- edited by: Michael Kaufmann

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Allen Arena

A Little Bit Country….

Good Time Charlie and Monkey Wrench Lead singer, gets the best of both worlds live…

What part of the First Coast do you reside now and how long have you lived there?

I live in South St. Augustine. Just moved down here in the last year, been in the North Florida area for 27 years

When did you know you had an interest in music?

When my next door neighbor’s daughter got married, they had a live band..I was around 10 or 11…

Did you start with any specific instrument and migrate to other instruments?

Acoustic guitar, I’ve played bass in bands and some piano

Are you currently in a band (or bands)?

Yes, two! Monkey Wrench has been performing in the Jax area circuit for almost 9 years, And my newer 7 pc country band, Good Time Charlie, we should be releasing our first album in January. I also do some solo acoustic gigs around the St. Augustine area.

Who is your favorite musician or what musician influenced you the most?

Probably the biggest influence has been the Grateful Dead, because they also introduced me to many. classic country songs. But also Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Don Henley, the Beatles (of course!) , Garth Brooks.

Are there any specific memories or highlights of your career that you would like to tell us about?!

Well, let’s see.. Monkey Wrench opened up for Molly Hatchet once, that was kinda cool. But more recently, playing with my guys in Good Charlie, doing my owns and having such great musicians to perform and record with… this is the best it’s been for me.

What area bands or musicians are at the top of your list to go out to hear?

I don’t get out much besides when I’m playing, LOL But I think Vox is a great band. Mojo Roux and all those guys are awesome! Local musicians, Johnny the Claw, Eric Alabiso, Mike Maple, Walt Kulwicki, I go see any of those guys play whenever I can. And I should mention I’ve been blessed with the best musical partner a guy could ask for, my bass player and best friend John Beermann, 33 years we’ve been at it together together!

Any Upcoming gigs you want to mention?

We’re rocking into our 10th year with Monkey Wrench as a working band!

Sat April 22nd – Monkey Wrench at Renegades 7-11pm

Fri May 5th – Monkey Wrench at Arnolds 7-11pm

Sat May 13th – Monkey Wrench at Mavi 6-10pm

Fri May 19th – Monkey Wrench at Whiteys 8pm

Suspicion… 1981 Massapequa. NY… “I have the same hair right now!!”

Do you have a favorite venue that you enjoy playing locally?

For Monkey Wrench, Mavi-Jax is our fav! Great stage, location, staff and owners! We also love going down to Renegades on the River in Welaka! Great people there!
With Good Time Charlie, Arnold’s Lounge and Donovan’s have been our mainstays!

What is the best way for musicians to network?

Probably Facebook. Craigslist has been helpful over the years, LOL

Are there any local venue owners/managers that you would like to rave about?!

Lisa Mack at Arnold’s and Kristin at Donovan’s have shown tremendous faith in Good Time Charlie. And Tom Fisher of both Whiskey Jax locations is a great guy to work with…and a really good friend.

If you had a question you would like to ask another musician what would it be?

How the hell do you get those festival gigs?? LOL

Is there anything else that you want to tell everyone?

Thank you to anyone and everyone that’s come out to see Monkey Wrench over the years.. and the incredible responses Good Time Charlie has gotten everywhere we’ve played. . It’s a joy and an honor to play in public for people.

How often to you play out in public?

With Monkey Wrench 2-3 times per month, Good Time Charlie once or twice a month, and I’ll do a few solo acoustic gigs per month. I stay pretty busy.

What do you hope to achieve musically in 2022?

First, finish the Good Time Charlie album, which we plan to hand out CDs at our gigs at no charge, it’s all about people hearing our songs. And we would really like to get involved with the local music festivals.

What can we expect from the good Time Charlie album?

Genuine country music. We have fiddle, pedal steel, piano, great lead guitarist, 4-5 part harmony… the works. 9 original songs and one hot Charlie Daniels cover!

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