The members of the legendary Northwest “garage rock” band the Sonics thought their careers were over after the 1960s, but they now have a legacy career. They are celebrating the release of a new album Thursday, April 2.
Before 2007, it seemed that the Sonics — the Tacoma-based rock band of the ’60s, not the basketball team — was destined to live on only in memory. Known for raucous garage-rock classics like “The Witch” and “Psycho” — which had a profound influence on punk rockers of the ’70s — the group never really broke out of the Pacific Northwest. The original lineup played its last show in 1973.
“We’d been teenage rock ’n’ rollers,” Rob Lind, the band’s saxophone player said. “Then we went off and lived lives. Raised families. All that stuff.”
But a reunion show in 2007 gave the Sonics story an unexpected second chapter. The band has since toured Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Early March saw a show in Brazil. A Thursday, April 2, date at Seattle’s Moore Theatre kicks off a U.S. tour.
The Sonics, Mudhoney
7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 2, at the Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $27-$47 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
Tuesday also marks the release of the band’s first studio album in almost half a century: “This Is The Sonics.” The album has the power and ferocity the band is renowned for.
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“We wanted the album to illustrate the way we play live,” said Lind. “There’s not one dreamy, sentimental crooning ballad on the whole album. It comes at you like a chain saw, and that’s what we wanted it to do.”
The Sonics’ rebirth began when Lind, Sonics guitarist Larry Parypa and singer-keyboard man Gerry Roslie played a show at a New York City garage-rock festival, Cavestomp!, in 2007. That appearance set off a demand for other shows. An EP with a mix of studio and live tracks was released in 2008. But the band wanted to bring out a full album of new material.
“We had a phobia about being considered a retro band or an oldies band,” Lind explained.
Jim Diamond, known for his work with modern-day garage rockers the White Stripes, was chosen to produce.
“Right from the beginning he said, ‘I want the energy and the power of your first two albums,’ ” Lind recounted. “He knew exactly what he wanted out of each of us. When we do another album, it’ll be with Jim again, without question.”
Parypa’s brother Andy, the original Sonics’ bassist, and drummer Bob Bennett, neither of whom played the 2007 New York show, have since been succeeded by Freddie Dennis and Dusty Watson, respectively.
The group wears its legacy as musical pioneers lightly.
“One of the standard interview questions we get is ‘When did you guys decide to invent garage rock?’ ” said Lind with a laugh. “There was no forethought. We were 18-year-old rock ’n’ roll kids. We just wanted to play hard.”
Fifty years on, they still do.