Friday, November 4, 2011

R.I.P. Fred "Sonic" Smith (September 14, 1948 ~ November 4, 1994) ; THE EVOLUTION OF ROCK & ROLL

Fred "Sonic" Smith passed away due to heart failure on November 4, 1994. His 45 years of life on this planet changed the course of the EVOLUTION OF ROCK & ROLL to the max!!!
     The earliest Fred "Sonic" Smith recording I have is credited to the MC5, but the band members are listed as: Wayne Kramer, Fred Smith and Rob Tyner (guitars and vocals, respectively)--in the place of Machinegun Thompson is Bob Gaspari on drums; and in place of Mike Davis is Pat Burrows on bass. Regardless, this 1965 recording of "I Don't Mind" by this early version of the MC5 is very soulful :   

Of course the MC5  we all know is the "Kick Out The Jams" gang (Smith, Kramer, Davis, Thompson and Tyner) from the White Panther/Rainbow Peoples' Party who made history with their Halloween night recording at Detroit's Grande Ballroom in 1969:

And Sonic, along with the rest of The Five kept on tearin' up the Motor City, and the rest of the planet, for the next few years--Like at this live show at Wayne State University's Tarter Field in 1970:

After the demise of the MC5, keeping true to his roots, Sonic hooked up with Ann Arbor, Michigan superstars Scott Morgan (The Rationals), Gary Rasmussem (The (Dangerous) Up), and Scott Asheton (The Stooges) to form the supergroup they named "Sonic's Rendezvous Band" (A/K/A SRB), releasing the classic cut "City Slang"

While with SRB, Sonic met and married and toured/recorded with Patti Smith.

Check out this 1991 show with Fred & Patti at the legendary Nectarine Ballroom/Second Chance bar in Ann Arbor

Just writing about Fred "Sonic" Smith is very humbling and, therefore, this short blog is just the "tip of the iceberg" in the Fred "Sonic" Smith story. Google Fred, Google Patti, Google SRB (and Scott Morgan, The Stooges, The UP, etc.) and Google The MC5 for much, much more information on this incredible cat who left us much too soon.

Dennis "Machinegun" Thompson has a great story about "Sonic" on his blog...Check it out here

In 2003, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked "Sonic" at #93 in the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time!  

More on Sonic...


No comments: