Sonic's Rendezvous Band

Sonic's Rendezvous Band

Sonic's Rendezvous Band was a rock and roll band from Ann Arbor, Michigan in the 1970s, featuring veterans of the 1960s Detroit rock scene. Led by guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith, formerly of the MC5, SRB featured singer/ songwriter Scott Morgan formerly of the Rationals, a soul-influenced Detroit band of the 1960s, Gary Rassmussen of the Up and Scott Asheton of the Stooges.

They remained virtually unknown, but their one and only single retained high interest among fans of high energy rock and roll/ Detroit rock. A badly recorded bootleg LP called Strikes Like Lightning was traded in the 1980s. Artists of note, such as Sug Bowie & Håkan Jakobsson would speak fondly of SRB. But lack of recorded material made the band a bit of a phantom.

Interest in the band was kindled in the late 1990s when Alive/ Total Energy Records released a studio recording of the as-then unheard song Electrophonic Tonic. In 1999 Mack Aborn Rhythm Arts released a compact disc compilation of rare live and recorded SRB tunes called Sweet Nothing. So receptive was the audience that a second compilation called City Slang was released in 2000. Both albums quickly sold out.

This in turn sparked a renewed interest in Scott Morgan, who was critically acclaimed in the 1980s with bands like Scots Pirates and the Scott Morgan Band who were largely successful only in the Midwest. SRB disciples, Sweden's Hellacopters recorded no less than five Scott Morgan/ SRB compositions (City Slang, 16 With a Bullet, Downright Blue, Heaven, Slow Down (Take A Look)) which further popularized the group. Scott Morgan would go on to record with the Hellacopter's Nicke Royale, releasing two Hydromatics albums as well as two soul albums by The Solution.

Recently, the band has enjoyed renewed interest, along with mainstream critical acclaim in the music press, with the September 2006, release of a six-disc box set eponymously titled, "Sonic's Rendezvous Band," by UK label Easy Action. The record was reviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine, Oct. 19, 2006, by Senior Editor David Fricke, as one of "Fricke's Picks," saying of the band's 1978 single (included in the set), "City Slang" "5:15 of assault guitars, railroad drumming and Smith's determined-rebel call--has all you need to know why SRB were masters of their domain." That domain, as Fricke put it was "the Detroit Church of High Energy Rock," where Sonic's "holy rank" secured "forever." Said Fricke: "I just want as much of the best of this band as I can get, in good faith and quality. Right now, this is what I have. And I am playing it. Loud." Among other notable cuts in the set, Fricke, says, "a highlight is the sixteen-minute "American Boy," on which Smith plays a long, heated-raga solo on saxophone, evoking the MC5's earlier forays into the music of Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders." Fricke repeatedly cites Scott Morgan's influence, describing the two concert discs from 1975 and 1976 as having that "manic-white-Motown streak that Morgan in particular brought to SRB."

Fricke mentioned that record "comes with its own controversy" over whether it was approved by all involved, but Easy Action asserts on its Web site that the release was approved by the surviving band members and by Fred Smith's children and wife, Patti Smith.

Also recently Scott Morgan has teamed up with Radio Birdman's Deniz Tek and has released a live Powertrane album.


*"Sweet Nothing" (1999)
*"City Slang" (2000)
*"Sonic's Rendezvous Band (Box Set)" (2006)
*"Masonic Temple, Detroit 1978" (2007)

External links

* [] - Official band website
* [] - Scott Morgan's web site
* [] - Ken Shimamato's extensive history of SRB
* [] - Gary Rasmussen's web site
* [ RollingStone magazine: The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time]

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