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The Sonics at El Club, 5 Things To Know
The Sonics offer proof positive that good things can come out of the garage other than cars and home improvement projects.
The garage rock troupe from Tacoma, Wash., made noise during the mid-60s with singles such as "Cinderella," "Psycho" and "The Witch," and after splitting up in 1967 the group came back together 40 years later and has been touring ever since, even releasing a new studio album, "This Is The Sonics," in 2015.
These days saxophonist Rob Lind, 73, presides over a group of younger players who have joined the band during recent years, though co-founders Gerry Roslie and Larry Parypa are still involved as non-touring members. And if Lind has his way, the Sonics will keep the volume up for many years to come...
It's been 10 years since the Sonics reactivated, during which time Lind, by phone from his home in North Carolina, says, "we've become combat veterans. We've been touring steadily since then and do a European tour at least once a year, sometimes twice -- that's when we're not going to Australia or going to Japan or something like that. But it feels really good."
The biggest adjustment for the new-era Sonics was, in fact, actual touring. "Y'know, back in the 60s when we were 18-, 19-year-old boys, going on tour meant to us meant going from Seattle over to Spokane and playing and spending the night. That was a big deal," Lind says. "We had to kind of learn the business of being a touring band. Now we've done so much of it that it fees like opps normal, like they say in the military. We're used to it and real relaxed and real comfortable and confident in doing it."
Lind says he misses having Roslie and Parypa on the road but doesn't fault them for their decisions. "Those guys are still with us in more of an advisory capacity now," Lind explains. "Gerry's actually a very shy guy; People that have seen Gerry on stage, he looks like a wild man. That's his stage persona. Away from the stage he's shy. But they both didn't want to go on the road anymore, and we're not gonna force anybody to do that."
Lind, however, loves being on the road, even though he acknowledges "touring is hard. I two it for two reasons. I love doing it. I love playing music, playing our music, and seeing people have a really good time. And I like going places. I was a Navy pilot and wound up flying for the airlines for 25 years, and corporate jets after that. I've always enjoyed going places, so I like nothing more than getting off an airplane in Paris or all the beautiful cities in Europe, and then going and playing music."
The Sonics' last album was produced by Jim Diamond, a former Detroiter who's since moved to France. Lind says they hope to enlist Diamond again for the group's next album, whenever it happens. "I've already told him that," Lind says. "We're playing three shows in France this year so I sent our schedule to him. He's come to see us a couple of times over there and he's a bass player, so we drag him up on stage and I do a little introduction that, 'This is the brains behind our last album' and he straps on the bass and plays something."
As the last Sonics member standing, Lind isn't sure what the future of the group will be when he decides to hang it up. "I've thought about that on occasion, if it would work" without any original members, Lind says. "You have to deal with booking agents and promoters. When Gerry step aside we ran into big problems for awhile; 'You guys are not the Sonics without Gerry.' We had shows canceled in places we really liked to play because of that, but we endured it for awhile and now we don't see that anymore. So without me, I know the other guys could go out there and do a great job. My initial response would be, 'Well, go for it and see how it works,' and if it was adverse then we'd have a farewell concert or something."
Sunday, March 26. Doors open at 8 p.m.
El Club, 4114 Vernor Highway, Detroit.
Tickets are $20.
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