Beginning in 1963, The Sonics created an uncompromising, overdriven brand of rock 'n' roll whose musical and emotional intensity had no precedent at the time, and has yet to be bested in the years since. Driven by Gerry Roslie's fearsome, bloodcurdling howl, Larry Parypa's pummeling, distortion-heavy guitar work and Rob Lind's greasy, squalling sax, the Tacoma, Washington-bred combo delivered a brutal, propulsive sound and a swaggering, primal attitude to match. By taking rock 'n' roll to the edge, the Sonics helped to lay the groundwork for punk, garage and heavy metal, decades before those genres existed.
The Sonics became regional stars throughout the Pacific Northwest, where their over-the-top performances made them a consistently in-demand live act. But their assaultive approach proved a bit too extreme for national mainstream exposure at the time. The original Sonics splintered in 1967, but the band's influence and mystique continued to grow steadily in the ensuing decades, as their vintage work was rediscovered by succeeding generations of fans and musicians. Meanwhile, such Sonics standards as "Psycho," "The Witch," "Strychnine" and "Have Love, Will Travel" continued to turn up in film soundtracks, TV commercials and the set lists of the countless Sonics-loving bands who emulated—but never duplicated—the band's sound.
As The Sonics' posthumous profile grew, the band members stubbornly resisted a steady stream of lucrative offers to perform reunion shows. Instead, they maintained that the Sonics would only reform when they felt that they could equal their original onstage energy level, and when they could record new material that would equal the intensity of the old stuff.
The Sonics finally ended their four-decade hiatus in November 2007, with a pair of rapturously received shows in New York. Although the band had intended those shows to be a one-time-only event, word of the performances quickly circulated amongst Sonics fans, resulting in performance offers from around the world, and turning the temporary reunion into a permanent one. Since then, The Sonics have performed for rabid crowds across the United States as well as England, Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Norway. They headlined a sold-out concert at Seattle's Paramount Theatre, where they had performed their last show back in the day, and at the SXSW music-industry conference in Austin, Texas, and the NXNE festival in Toronto.
Having reconquered the live stage and built a new, multi-generational fan base, the reactivated Sonics have set their sights back on the recording medium, enlisting noted producer Jim Diamond (White Stripes, Dirtbombs) to record THIS IS THE SONICS —the Sonics' first album of new material in nearly half a century—at Diamond's Detroit studio Ghetto Recorders.
The 12-song set finds The Sonics channeling their original savage, primal essence on such new originals as "Chaos," "Sugaree," "Bad Betty" and "I Got Your Number," while continuing their tradition of audacious cover material with raucous reworkings of Ray Charles' "I Don't Need No Doctor," Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge A Book by the Cover," the Kinks' "The Hard Way," Hank Ballard's "Look At Little Sister" and the rousing Motown nugget "Leaving Here."
THIS IS THE SONICS shows the Sonics' original sound and swagger to be fully intact, and ready for 2015.