Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Great 1973 Sonics Revival/"The Closest Thing to Heavy Metal Until the Advent of the Zep and MC5"/Morock ("Moronic Rock")

Of the many places that could claim the mantle of pre-punk or proto-punk headquarters (for even a few minutes), let me introduce the San Fernando Valley circa 1972-1973, or more specifically Panorama City. That is the location of Mark Shipper’s BuckShot Records and the great compilation of the Sonics called “Explosives.” Then we have the Valley’s own Droogs practicing and releasing their first single in 1973 covering the Sonics’ “He’s Waitin'” on Plug-n-Socket, beating certain high profile “punk” folks to the pressing plant. I don't think there is any dispute these days to the Pacific Northwest's right to claim its place in the history of punk via the Sonics, Raiders, Wailers etc.

Now, do we even get into the ethics of reviewing one of your own releases in a trade publication? See RPM, June 1973, below. Naw, as RPM was itself a mouthpiece for a particular label and when the review is this over the top (and spot on 38 years later), and includes high praise from Metal Mike, we let it slide, no? Then, what do you do next? You have your friend Ken Barnes flog the thing in Fusion the next month, followed by a sweet Sculatti review of the second BOC record (along with a NICE photo of the Soft White Underbelly/Stalk-Forrest Group), wherein he talks about picking the Sonics of the 70’s. Great review, great record. This is how back in the day you created a real critical consensus! Don, the Imperial Dogs coulda been (are) the true Sonics of the 70’s! Decided not to crop Bangs’ review of Sun Ra’s “Atlantis” or Meltzer’s Spheeris reviews for your enjoyment. Oh yeah, a couple of pages of Sculatti/Saunders/Shipper’s 1974 “Brain Damage” as well. Mark Shipper phone home.

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