The Sonics are credited with helping invent Garage Rock and being a proto-Punk band. Inspired by the likes of Little Richard, the Sonics played three-chord Rock with manic energy and abandon. They were certainly at odds with contemporary trends.
Though they were founded in Tacoma as the '60s began, the Sonics didn't release their first single until '64, when the U.S. was enthralled by Beatlemania and the British Invasion.
"The Witch," a Northwest favorite, did little nationally. The song itself was a dense, nearly demented track, with a basic yet distorted chord progression driving Gerry Roslie's decidedly unhinged vocals. It was rude, crude and unvarnished. Nothing slick about it.
"Strychnine," "Psycho" and "He's Waitin'" burnished the group's reputation as they played the local circuit, including the Spanish Castle Ballroom, the inspiration for the Jimi Hendrix track "Spanish Castle Magic."
The Sonics' debut album, "Here Are The Sonics," released in '65, was recorded in Seattle on a basic, some would say minimal, two-track recorder while sophomore effort, "Boom," out the following year, was laid down in Tacoma. Legend has it the studio soundproofing was ripped out by the band to provide a more "live" sound.
The Sonics ventured to Hollywood for their next album, "Introducing The Sonics." Unfortunately, the results, even by the group's own account, were more 'garbage' than 'garage'. The Sonics splintered shortly thereafter.
There was a brief reunion in the early '70s but it looked more like a last gasp than a resurgence. Recognition of the Sonics contributions didn't arrive until the emergence of Punk in the late '70s. They were also seen as a touchstone for Grunge.
The reunion route was tried again in '07 with the band playing shows. Though they recorded intermittently it was awhile before they attempted a full-length effort.
"This Is The Sonics" arrived in '15. Original members - Gerry Roslie, Larry Parypa and Rob Lind - recorded the album.
A couple of weeks after the set's release, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder made a surprise appearance during the Sonics' Record Store Day performance Seattle's Easy Street Records. Vedder and the Sonics covered Motown's "Leaving Here." The show benefitted Seattle's public radio station KEXP.
1965 Here Are The Sonics
1967 Introducing The Sonics
2015 This Is The Sonics