“Officer!! They’re looting the Food King!”
As I was cleaning (or more aptly, working some level of organizational triage) in my record vault, I pulled the 45 you see before you today out of a box and thought to myself, ‘Hey, the time is right for something a little nutty.’
Sure, I could have put it back and whipped a little sunshine pop on you, or maybe even some fuzzy garage, but when fate steps up and hands you a Sonics 45, you kind of have to fall in line and do what you’re told.
If you don’t know the Sonics, even if only by reputation, then I don’t know what to say.
The day I first heard the Sonics, some 30-odd years ago, my brain was rewired permanently, in a way that only happens to you a few times in life (if you’re lucky).
I had some small amount of experience with ‘garage punk’, but no amount of snotty, teenage fuzz could have prepared me for the Sonics.
Taking form in the foggy, moss-covered glens of the Pacific Northwest in the early 60s, the Sonics sounded like (and I’m going to quote myself here, because I don’t think I can do any better)
“…pure, unbridled animal energy, mixed with an electrified libido and marinated in grain alcohol is reduced to a serum, injected into Little Richard, who then went to the zoo, mated with a hyena in a swimming pool during an electrical storm then took their unholy spawn into a recording studio (during a tornado) and whipped up something very, very heavy.”
The Little Richard comparison is apt, since today’s selection – ‘Keep a Knockin’ – was first unleashed on the world, via Mr Penniman in 1957, which seems like an eternity away, but when the Sonics recorded it (the b-side to their very first 45), was only seven years in the past.
Now, any fool knows that trying to beat Little Richard at his own game is work (usually) reserved for fools, but the Sonics had something special.
That something was the musical equivalent of a sledgehammer made of dynamite.
This is the sound of a band running at top speed plus, like a car used to burning gasoline with a tank full of rocket fuel instead.
There’s nothing subtle about the Sonics take on ‘Keep a Knockin’, but there never needed to be.
I’m convinced that their first album was called ‘Boom’, only because ‘KABLAMMO!!!’ wouldn’t fit on the cover.
You either grab on and hold tight, or fall under their wheels.
Your choice, buddy.
See you next week.