“We feared that the music which had given us sustenance was in danger of spiritual starvation. We feared it losing its sense of purpose, we feared it falling into fattened hands, we feared it floundering in a mire of spectacle, finance, and vapid technical complexity. We would call forth in our minds the image of Paul Revere, riding through the American night, petitioning the people to wake up, to take up arms. We too would take up arms, the arms of our generation, the electric guitar and the microphone.”If your heart is dedicated to rock n' roll, as mine is, you understand what Patti is talking about. Music isn't a passing fancy, a background noise, a throwaway thing...it is your passion, your best friend, the driving force, and the greatest joy throughout your life. You will support and defend it until the end, because music does more for you than it is possible to express with words. This is why The Sonics' slammin' new record "This Is The Sonics" is downright heroic to me: to return after nearly 50 years to record an album just as kickass, relevant, and damn punk as their very first release in 1964 and then go on tour is so beyond extraordinary as to be inspirational. The Sonics are the coolest there ever was and will ever be!
― Patti Smith, Just Kids
The Sonics really were the very first garage/punk band, blasting out of the happening Pacific Northwest rock scene in the early '60s with their unrelentingly and unapologetic hard-hitting rock, made from gritty guitars, cacophonous trash-can drums, surf sax, and bad boy vocals. Lay on top of that some spooky/creepy/fun lyrics in songs like "Psycho," "The Witch," and "Strychnine," and you had a band whose unique sound created a musical influence that strongly continues into today, into not only garage and punk, but grunge, alternative, and metal. But as is so common, even the coolest bands have lives to live, and after recording an album that they were unhappy with in 1967, the members dispersed to other pursuits like college, work, and the Vietnam War. There were a couple of one-off reformations of the band in later years, but it wasn't until now that The Sonics decided to deliver their full-on, take-no-prisoners, awesome auditory assault once again. What's a half-century, eh?
"This Is The Sonics," recorded in "earth-shaking mono," is a triumph and an affirmation of the spirit of the garage: nasty, aggressive, crazy and fun as hell. These guys beat back Father Time with what must be the devil's drumsticks, because the energy throughout the record is jaw-dropping, bettering bands with members 50 years younger. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE and admire that they just WENT FOR IT and gave it everything they had. It'll rip your face off, son. (Side note: when I was playing the album through for the first time and heard they covered The Kinks' "The Hard Way" from Schoolboys In Disgrace I about jumped out of my chair in delight and went "WHOOO YEAH!!) Buy this record immediately!
Yesterday, I had the great pleasure to attend the first record-signing event for "This Is The Sonics" at Silver Platters in Bellevue, WA. I was so excited to be there that I hardly knew what to do with myself. Seeing fans there that ranged from granddads to grandkids made my entire being smile. The Sonics have two more meet n' greets for the Seattle area -- TONIGHT at Easy Street Records in West Seattle, and Wednesday, April 1st at Sonic Boom Records in Ballard, so be sure to head out there and show your support!
FURTHERMORE and IMPORTANTLY, The Sonics headline the Show To Beat All Shows at Seattle's Moore Theater on Thursday, April 2nd with grunge supahstahz Mudhoney, and my very favorite post-punk princes, The Intelligence. Tickets are still available, and I just cannot stress enough that you NEED TO BE THERE. Seriously, do what you have to do, sell some blood, pawn your wife, whatever...GO!
The Sonics have indeed taken up arms once again. Join the revolution!
(As always, click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr set link to see more!)
The Sonics, Silver Platters, Bellevue, WA. 3/30/15 Flickr set
Thank you Jen Stippich, Silver Platters, Kitty Page, and The Sonics!!