The Sonics - ‘punk long before punk’

IN THEIR mid-1960s hey day, The Sonics were never really known outside of the American Northwest, despite being the wildest, loudest, most outrageous band around.

They enjoyed regional hits with self-penned material such as the singles ‘The Witch’, ‘Psycho’, ‘Cinderella’, and ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’, and ‘Have Love Will Travel’.

They also performed numerous cover versions, most famously Little Richard’s ‘Keep A-Knockin’, The Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, and later Frank Zappa’s ‘Any Way The Wind Blows’.

They also released the albums Here Are The Sonics (1965 ), Boom (1966 ), and Introducing The Sonics (1967 ). Soon after the latter’s release, the band called it a day, but reappeared in 1972, and 1980, before original members Gerry Roslie, Rob Lind, and Larry Parypa got the band back together in 2007, since when they have toured across the world.

Despite the lack of wider impact in their day, The Sonics would become an influential cult band greatly admired by alternative-rock, indie, and punk musicians. The White Stripes have called them “punk long before punk”; LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy has cited them as an influence, as did Kurt Cobain; while The Sonics’ songs have been covered by The Flaming Lips, L7, The Sword, The Cramps, and the UK Subs.

The Sonics play an exclusive Irish show in the Róisín Dubh on Tuesday July 15 at 8pm as part of the Galway International Arts Festival. For tickets see www.giaf.com

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