Artist: The Sonics
Genre: Garage Rock/Proto Punk
Well, saying they "invented" three genres might be a bit of hyperbole, but The Sonics certainly paved the way for all three movements. Their influence can be detected in such bands as: The Dead Boys, The Cramps, Japandroids, Mudhoney, The Fall, The Hives, L7, The White Stripes, The Flaming Lips, The Fleshtones, The Fuzztones and LCD Soundsystem.
The unconventional five-piece garage band from Tacoma, Washington had a brash, gritty style and their original material had somber themes. While some of The Sonics' material dealt with typical early 60s subjects like cars, surfing and girls, their most successful numbers revealed a darker side: witches, psychopaths, Satan and drinking strychnine just for the heck of it.
For those of you who don't know - I had to look it up myself - strychnine is a pesticide that is used to kill small birds and rodents. It causes muscular convulsions and eventually leads to death through asphyxia. One pint of poison coming up!
"Some folks like water / Some folks like wine / But I like the taste / Of straight strychnine"
By the time The Sonics were set to record "Strychnine" for their 1965 debut album Here Are The Sonics, the classic line-up was in place: Larry Parypa (lead guitar, vocals), Andy Parypa (bass guitar), Bob Bennett (drums), Rob Lind (saxophone, vocals, harmonica) and Gerry Roslie (organ, piano & lead vocals). With Roslie as lead singer and primary songwriter (penning all four originals on Here Are The Sonics) the band was poised to record their debut album that established them as a cult favorite.
"Strychnine" is a bizarre, aggressive tune that combines Gerry Roslie's rowdy, Little Richard-like vocals with boisterous, loud frat rock. Although it was only a modest hit on a modest-selling record, "Strychnine" has contributed to The Sonics enduring cult status.
Here Are The Sonics pioneered their primitive yet effective recording techniques. The album was recorded on a two-track tape recorder, with only one microphone to pick up the entire drum kit.