PHOTOS & SHOW PREVIEW: THE SONICS RETURN TO BLOW YOUR MIND WITH "THIS IS THE SONICS" (2015)

“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.” 
― Patti SmithJust Kids
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!

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!!

VIDEO: TEN OF THE "WORST" KARAOKE PARTICIPANTS!

I am super-new to the entire karaoke thing. I KNOW I KNOW, I'm the latest to the party EVER, but it was not in my universe until recently as I was busy brushing the dog and researching hot water heaters. Anyway, my birthday is coming up in a week and it so happens I am having a bit of a karaoke party at a local club. Will I actually get up the nerve to sing? Well, we shall see. If I do, I hope for the sake of everyone there and all humanity that I do a better job than these poor sods. If I don't...watch for me on YouTube. Please to enjoy!


NINE '60s/'70s-ERA PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS THAT TERRORIZED ME AS A CHILD!

Like nearly all of my age-cohorts, I spent great swaths of time watching TV. "Watching" really isn't the best way to describe it -- it was more like "immersed" in TV, wholly unavailable to the world outside the box, attending with the sponge-like nature known to young children. Everything was important, everything was real, everything was teaching me something, wildly inaccurate or not. To this very day some 50 years later, I can still recall the the jarring or creeping dread some well-intentioned and obviously powerful PSAs had upon my young psyche. They were micro-horror movies, crafted to to pack a wallop, and IT WORKED! Now, via our friend the Interhaps, I can share my ancient traumas with you, so please to enjoy these films that implore you not to do bad things!


HERE ARE FOURTEEN MORE WEIRD THRIFT STORE RECORD COVERS!

I'm thinking of returning to my high school days and plastering all my interior home walls with these oddities from the vinyl past. Maybe the exterior walls, too. There are certainly ENOUGH of these to complete the job! I think after doing this I would either be laughing all the time or lose my marbles. Walk with me again into Strangeville, won't you? Please to enjoy!

Oh, man. Just study this one for awhile. The orange skullet. The 1000-points-of-light trumpet. The celestial breaking of slave chains. SWOON!


PHOTOS & SHOW REVIEW: TWEEDY, THE MINUS 5 @ THE NEPTUNE THEATER, SEATTLE, WA. 3/12/15

I was so pleased to note that last Thursday was a truly glorious weather day here in Seattle: sunny skies, a warm 60+ degrees, with nary a drop of our infamous gloomy rain in sight. It was only fitting that the weather gods gave a kind greeting to Tweedy as their tour buses rolled in to park alongside the popcorn-scented Neptune Theater, because they bring an awful lot of good with them to us. Tweedy is the father-and-son musical team of Jeff and Spencer Tweedy, Jeff being best known for his 20-year leadership of the marvelous band Wilco, and for being a brilliant songwriter, swoon-worthy singer, and rather excellent musician. Spencer is also a impressively accomplished person, and at 19 years of age has already developed seriously exceptional skills as a published writer, photographer, and musician. I don't drop these big ol' positive descriptive adjectives around lightly, my friends, so heed my effusion: if you didn't know it, these two are the real creative deal. It was my great pleasure to see Tweedy LIVE IN CONCERT and to photograph said concert with my large camera device.

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FIFTEEN RATHER DISTURBING THRIFT STORE KNICK-KNACKS!

I dunno, man. I mean, you know, everyone is beautiful in their own way, peace n' love, and all that, but I AM STRUGGLING to understand HOW and WHY some of these really strange home decor items were ever designed, manufactured, sold, and DISPLAYED in someone's HOME. I guess my ceramic horror is someone's else adorable conversation piece. Anyway, wherever you might land on this scale, please to enjoy these now!

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ELEVEN WEIRD RECORD COVERS AND KNICK-KNACKS FROM THE VALUE VILLAGE IN ISSAQUAH, WA.!

It's an exciting day for me when a new thrift store opens in my general vicinity, for it means even more opportunities to find oddities to share with you! It was also exciting to see a tall, grey-haired gentleman playing with a broken white porcelain unicorn music box, giggling at its sad sounds. Anyway, here's 11 more fun things I found, so please to enjoy!

The Lady and The Tiger was a proposed Disney movie, but was scrapped when the treatment mentioned that the Tiger consumed his bride directly after their wedding, and the entire rest of the film featured him making jokes about his wife's flatulence-inducing gastrointestinal journey.