Who hasn’t thought of doing this?
When assholes in my city do rotten things like this. But then, team sports seem to attract these people.
Ann Arboriana, part two:
As I was discussing with a friend in e-mail correspondence this last weekend, it seems like Ann Arbor (and other Michigan) bands weren’t really driven to become The Next Big Thing…the MC5 was almost accidentally signed to Elektra by one of their A&R guys, Danny Fields, and after they broke up, their members just kind of drifted from local band to local band.
Fred “Sonic” Smith was no different; he played in a few bands before forming Sonic’s Rendezvous Band in 75/76. They were a kind of area supergroup–Scott Morgan (guitar, vocals) was the lead singer of local legends The Rationals, Scott (“Rock Action”) Asheton (drums) was (and still is) in the Stooges, and Gary Rasmussen (bass) was in the Up, a not-very-good band whose claim to fame was singing “Free John Now” at the “John Sinclair Freedom Rally” that John Lennon and Yoko Ono played. (And was the only time I ever got to see Lennon.)
But Sonic’s Rendezvous Band (hereafter SRB) were regulars on the Ann Arbor/Motor City circuit, and we’d always go to their shows…Fred was still playing amazingly, perhaps even better than in the MC5 days, and they rarely disappointed. Except that they only ever made one single, “City Slang”, and I was kind of disappointed that the B-side was just a mono mix of the stereo A-side. But godDAMN what a great single it was! They’d been playing the song live for some time by then, and it was arguably every bit the equal of anything the MC5 had ever done (rock critics internationally fell all over themselves in their praise). And around that time, they’d opened for Patti Smith, who promptly fell in love with Fred (“Frederick”, on Patti’s “Wave” album, was her love song to him), and she more or less relocated to Ann Arbor and was at all their shows, dragging people–me included–onto the dance floor to dance with her.
And once Fred and Patti were married, SRB kind of fell off the face of the earth–Fred and Patti were busy making a family. Fred was guitarist/co-songwriter on Patti’s comeback album in 1988, “Dream Of Life”, from whence came her latter-day anthem “People Have The Power”, and the SRB made one last live appearance at Ann Arbor’s “Second Chance” in 1991…
Enough history. Turn this one up as loud as computerly-possible, and listen to a nigh-on perfect rock’n'roll song…Fred’s leads, the punk production, and the return from the middle bit at around 2:30.
Unironically, “it’s all good”. Except substitute “astounding” for “good”.
I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1969, and suddenly, nobody in my junior high school much cared about all the west coast music I’d been listening to…the Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver et al.–they were all listening to a band I’d heard of, but never heard…the MC5. (Especially because the title song of their first album, “Kick Out The Jams”, had a phrase in the spoken word intro that made their parents livid–”…right now…right now it’s time to…KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHERFUCKERS!”, but also just because it was rock’n'roll in its rawest, most powerful state.)
This song, however, comes from their second album, “Back In The USA”, no slouch itself. But nestled in amongst all the raw tunes was this little gem, with acoustic guitars, harmonies, and a Chuck Berryesque story to propel it. “Shakin’ Street” was written by the estimable Fred “Sonic” Smith, one of the band’s two lead guitarists, and I fell in love with it and remain in love to this day. Me and some friends who used to live on Division St. in Ann Arbor always referred to our street as “Shakin’ Street”, and I’m sure other Ann Arborites (and Detroiters) did for their respective streets. (The mix, however, could’ve been a lot better…it was rockcrit Jon Landau’s [of "I've seen the future of rock and his name is Bruce Springsteen" fame] first attempt at producing an album.)
Oh, and if you’re one of the many who never got to see the wonderful MC5 documentary, “A True Testimonial” (never released because of internecine band squabbles), YouTube’s your friend–you can watch it in its entirety right here:
Dec 9th, 2013 at 6:02 pm by Boohunney
Dec 9th, 2013 at 2:50 pm by susie
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