Side A Side B
February 24, 2013 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Out of the ashes of 1970's Detroit rock came Sonic's Rendezvous Band. One part Iggy and the Stooges and one part MC5, they only released one single, same song on both sides of the record.City Slang

The story goes The band had had only enough money to mix one song, "City Slang", so it was pressed on both sides of the single. One side was labeled mono and one side stereo although both sides were identical

Fred "Sonic" Smith along with Scott Morgan, Gary Rasmussen, and Scott Asheton delivered the rock and the rock was good. Turns out, in the late 1990's the real B side to City Slang was discovered and it rocked just as hard as the A side. Electrophonic Tonic for your enjoyment.
posted by Sailormom (23 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
And one part The Rationals. Mustn't forget the Rationals when we talk Detroit rock history, or Sonic's Rendezvous Band. Best cover version of Respect that isn't Aretha's. And basically the missing link between Iggy & the Stooges and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels.
posted by .kobayashi. at 11:35 AM on February 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

Yes. Thank you .kobayashi. for filling in that hole.

What was it about Detroit that made the music flow? Not just rock but Motown as well.
posted by Sailormom at 12:38 PM on February 24, 2013

And one part the UP! All four members are rock and roll royalty around here.

Scott (Morgan) has been a mainstay of many, many bands over the years, since the Sonic's days. Unfortunately, he isn't doing too well healthwise nowadays, and like most musicians doesn't have a lot of health coverage. He's doing better since surgery in October, but some new problems have developed. Help a brother out--you can read more here.
posted by rodii at 1:01 PM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

As to sailormom's question, you could do worse than reading David A. Carson's great Grit, Noise and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock'n'Roll, which goes all the way back to John Lee Hooker's Detroit days.
posted by rodii at 1:04 PM on February 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Thanks for this. Also there's Motor City's Burning - Detroit from Motown to the Stooges, for your Detroit music related needs.
posted by readery at 1:10 PM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've never really checked out the Up!. I'll need to rectify that.
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:12 PM on February 24, 2013

This is great! I just had a wonderful midlife crisis afternoon watching this documentary about Iggy & The Stooges from 1984, where they go back to Detroit.
posted by ouke at 1:32 PM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

My pal Tony Slug (of Nitwitz/B.G.K. non-fame) has been singing the praises of this band and single as long as I've known him. He was also in a band with Scott (The Hydromatics)for quite a while, so, you know.
posted by Decani at 2:52 PM on February 24, 2013

Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels.

Post-Wheels, Mitch formed a hard rock band called simply Detroit, which featured a version of the Velvet Undergound's "Rock & Roll" so good that Lou Reed is reputed to have said "That's what I wanted the song to sound like in the first place."
posted by jonmc at 2:57 PM on February 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

See also: Death.
posted by Huck500 at 3:37 PM on February 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

I saw this nice Hellacopters version on Youtube
posted by bongo_x at 6:30 PM on February 24, 2013

By the way, Sonic's Rendezvous was much more an Ann Arbor band than a Detroit band. I used to live next door to Gary Rasmussen, and my wife grew up across the street from Scott Morgan, and of course the Fun House was here. Only Fred had real ties to Detroit. So, some respect for Ann Arbor please.

The Hellacopters definitely were major carriers of the Five/Stooges flame. A great band, and Scott Morgan has played with various permutations of them a lot. The other chief place to look if you like this stuff is Radio Birdman and the whole tradition of "Detroit Rock" they spawned. The family tree of the 5, the Stooges, Sonic's, Birdman, New Race, Destroy All Monsters and a whole legion of other bands inspired by them (including the Hellacopters) is well worth exploring. Deniz Tek is still playing the white Epiphone Crestwood Deluxe he bought from Fred Smith today.
posted by rodii at 7:07 PM on February 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wow, great stuff. Thanks!
posted by carter at 7:17 PM on February 24, 2013

I'm already a fan of Radio Birdman and look forward to checking out some others.

I'm also blown away from

See also: Death.
posted by Huck500

clicking around YouTube. Rock -N- Roll
posted by Sailormom at 7:40 PM on February 24, 2013

I love all the great music, like this, posted on mefi. I do wish the mp3 format would get more attention, though. So, here is City Slang , on a "Punk | Hardcore | Powerpop | Mod" blog.
posted by swlabr at 7:52 PM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not just rock but Motown as well.

And techno.
posted by carter at 8:23 PM on February 24, 2013

Oh, another don't-miss band in the Birdman family tree is the New Christs.
posted by rodii at 8:00 AM on February 25, 2013

Huh. I was originally considering a Detroit them for my 'Swap Me Maybe' CD and decided not too. And now this pops up - great stuff for a former Detroit-area (and Ann Arbor) resident to sift through.
posted by Gronk at 9:43 AM on February 25, 2013

Decided not 'to' - not too. Speedy 'enter' finger...
posted by Gronk at 9:54 AM on February 25, 2013

Is Powertrane still around? They were a decent, if a bit blues hammer, band from Scott in the last couple years.

(For folks who want more out of this vein in Ann Arbor now, check out Chris "Box" Taylor's bands — he's a regular guitarist for Scott [and Deniz] but plays in Blue Snaggletooth and Mazinga, which are both on the space rock side that Sonic's could get to. He was also in The Avatars and Rael Raen, which if you ever see either of their sides at Encore, they are worth picking up.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:33 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think Powertrane is kind of a thing which exists or doesn't, depending. Deniz has a new record coming out, by the way. The I-94 Bar (named after a Birdman song) is the source for info on all of this.
posted by rodii at 11:10 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

In case anyone ever looks down here, this is a great article detailing the deep history of Sonic's Rendezvous, with all the main players.
posted by rodii at 5:17 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

That really is an amazing article, rodii. Thanks for sharing it.
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:30 AM on March 14, 2013

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