"The rhythmic and attitudinal grandfathers of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam in a garage-grunge extravaganza- Dave Marsh, Rock & Roll Confidential
"With this comprehensive release, the Sonics' remarkable contribution to the legendary Northwest rock scene has been utterly placed into proper perspective. Long live the Sonics!" - Terry Hansen, Goldmine
"...admired by everyone from Springsteen to the Sex Pistols - cut loose with bloodcurdling screams, Neanderthal drumming and heavily distorted guitar..." - Michael Azerrad, Rolling Stone
"Everybody from the Clash to U2 has claimed to be a garage band, but the Sonics were the genuine article..." - Brett Milano, The Boston Phoenix
"...the definitive CD release covering their vital material, chock full of the unbridled frenzy that reverberates to this day..." - Terry Hansen - Blue Suede News
"This is the real Seattle Sound..." - John Mortensen, The Mono Men, Estrus Records
BiographyThe Sonics were the unholy practitioners of punk rock long before anyone knew what to call it. But that's not to say that certain parents in the Pacific Northwest didn't try to come up with a few choice words for the band and their primitive and brutally raucous sound
Originally cut in 1964 and '65 the recordings offered here represent nothing less than some of the very rawest and most savage rock music yet achieved by mankind.
The Sonics agressive aural attack was due in equal measure to the perfectly chaotic lead guitar spasms of Larry Parypa, the murderous screams that serve as vocal lines as patented by Gerry Roslie, the frenzied propulsion generated by Rob Lynn (sax) and Andy Parypa (bass) and the absolutely atomic tub thumping of Bob "Boom Boom" Bennett. These five badboys were strictly lewd, rude and crude.
Not only did the Sonics come up with killer riffs on a regular basis but their song's lyrical content relentlessly explored the full range of topics from satanic threats ("He's Waitin"), to evil chicks ("The Witch"), to the joys of overdosing on toxic substances ("Strychnine") to disturbing mental states ("Psycho"). And all this in the name of fun.
The Sonics helped fuel a vibrant teen dance scene that also included other such notable Northwest combos as the Frantics, the Kingsmen, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Ventures, Don & the Goodtimes, the Viceroys, the Counts, the Dynamics, and of course the one band that overshadowed virtually all of them - the Fabulous Wailers.
Inspired by the Wailers' success, the Sonics formed in 1963 on the north side of Tacoma, Washington, in the heart of Boeing country. "We got our name from the sonic boom made by the jets," Andy once recalled. "It seemed natural."
The young band's first gigs were the usual, teen sockhops and skating rink parties, and on occasion threw their own dances before finding work at places such as Evergreen Ballroom, Pearl's in Bremerton and of course the Spanish Castle Ballroom on old Highway 99.
Although they maintained the standard 5-piece lineup (sax, keys, guitar, bass, drums) and they did share with many other local bands a common core of the Northwest standards in their repertoire, the Sonics simply transcended any possible limitations erupting with a tough and unprecedented new sound. It took a good year for the Sonics reputation to take hold, but then came the day when the Wailers' bassist, Buck Ormsby, out scouting for talent for their label happened to cross paths with our boys. "They were practicing in Bob Bennett's basement," Ormsby recalled in 1985. " I was looking for something that was different, something that would rock my socks off. I went down and saw them, and I found it. I liked the guitar because it sounded dirty, and I liked Gerry because he was such a screamer."
As producer, and co-producer with Kent Morrill, Ormsby's greatest challenge was to capture on tape, by whatever means necessary, the raw power and sinister essence of ths unique quintet. And he didn't give a damn what it took to accomplish this. In this quest they must have irked the poor studio staff to no end. The band members began by tearing down half the egg cartons that lined the ceiling and walls in one studio, "to get a liver sound." They then proceeded to push every piece of the studio's ancient gear well past reasonable limits. By redlining the deck's VU meters and overloading every tube in every old amp in the place the Sonics found their sound. " We had a hell of a time with the engineers," says Ormsby. "They just weren't used to the full energy stuff. You have to remember that the state of the recording industry in 1964 was something less than crude. We kept saying we wanted to do this or that and they kept saying you can't do that. We didn't care if it bled - I wanted to hear sweat dripping on the tape."
Hey, it bled. It sweated. And it was the most gloriously primitive din you were ever lucky enuff to hear on your transistor radio.
That first single, The Witch, charted within weeks on a few brave but minor local radio stations, but not on KJR the region's dominant Top-40 giant. Led by DJ Pat O'Day the station was clearly ingoring the single. Kids kept requesting "The Witch", so Pat started playing it on KJR and the place went nuts". Charting on KJR's fabulous 50 gave it a real boost and before long "The Witch" was breaking out in scattered radio markets including Orlando, Pittsburg, upstate New York, and San Francisco. "The Witch" became the all time best selling local rock single in Northwest history. Andy once revealed, "O'Day later told me that eventually the song had reached #1 in sales, but the station policy said it was too far out to chart at #1. The station only played it after kids got out of school because of the station's management fears of alienating the houswives that comprised KJR's daytime audience.
1965 was a wild year for the Sonics. These were the glory days for Northwest Rock in general and for the Sonics in particular. By 1966 the band had opened shows for many top acts including the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, Jay & the Americans, Ray Stevens, Herman's Hermits, the Righteous Brothers, the Kinks, and the Lovin' Spoonful.
In '66 the Sonics signed with Seattle's Jerden label which released a handful of uneven recordings that received national distribution through ABC Records, but regrettably they just never did score that one big international smash hit. But then, their's was a specialty market, a finite potential audience, perhaps an aquired taste.
The Sonics remained a top draw at local dances right into 1967 when they broke their last sound barrier and folded. The Sonics will forever be revered for their solid proto-punk contributions to the sixties. They rocked like bastards and one imagines to this day that their name alone might send high school principals and small town police chiefs running for cover. Long live the Sonics! - Peter Blecha, Northwest Music Archives, Seattle, WA
"We were a wild, dirty, kickass band." - Bob Bennett, 1985
"If our records sound distorted, it's because they are. My brother (Larry, guitar) was always fooling around with the amps. They were always over driven. Or he was disconnecting the speakers and poking a hole in them with an icepick. That's how we ended up sounding like a trainwreck." - Andy Parypa
"We were nasty. Everything you've heard people say about us is true." - Larry Parypa
Three chords, two tracks, and one hell of a band... THE SONICS
on one disc - The ULTIMATE SONICS ETCD 24027-3 - Released August 1994
23 essential SONICS tracks (plus exclusive interview with original SONIC Andy Parypa, and additional material). * revised interview version. (Double box- set discontinued)
The original SONICS are: Gerry Roslie - Keys, Vocals Larry Parypa - Guitar Bob Bennett - Drums Andy Parypa - Bass Rob Lind - Sax, Vocals
1. The Witch 14. Cinderella 2. Do You Love Me 15. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark 3. Boss Hoss 16. Skinny Minny 4. Dirty Robber 17. Jenny Jenny 5. Have Love Will Travel 18. He's Waitin' 6. Psycho 19. Louie Louie 7. Monkey 20. Hitch Hike 8. Walking the Dog 21. Shot Down 9. Nighttime is the Right Time 22. Keep a Knockin' 10 Strychnine 23. The Witch (Live) 11. Good Golly Miss Molly 24. The Witch (version 2) 12. The Hustler 25. Here Comes the Sonics 13. Psycho (Live) 26. Interview - Andy Parypa
All Material Copyright 1992, 1994 Eitquette Records A Division of Northwest International Entertainment, Inc. 5503 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle WA, 98105-3630 , 206.524.1020, Fax:: 206.524.1020, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
|The Ultimate Sonics|
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|The Night Time is the Right Time|| audio WAV (319k)|
|Psycho|| audio AIFF (608k)|
|She's Comin Home|| audio WAV (640k)|
|Strychnine|| audio AIFF (318k)|
|The Village Idiot|| audio AIFF (647k)|
|The Witch|| audio WAV (626k)|
| audio ULAW (SUN .AU) (264k)|
|Don't Believe in Christmas|| audio ULAW (SUN .AU) (240k)|
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