The MC5 burned out and faded away so quickly, caving in under the weight of their own drug habits and personality conflicts in the early ’70s, that the punks they inspired couldn’t give them a proper burial. A couple years after their implosion, guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith (trivia: he went on to star in the role of Mr. Patti Smith until he died of heart failure in 1994 at the tender age of 45) formed an underground supergroup called Sonic’s Rendezvous Band from the ashes of the Stooges, the Rationals, and the Up.
Sonic never let up on the gas pedal, playing fiercely in this band like he did with the Five. The band released only one single, “City Slang,” but left enough tape behind for Easy Action Records to issue a six-CD set of basement tapes and live recordings a couple years back, and it contains the stuff that legends are made of. (Bullz-Eye’s Una Persson, who hipped me to this box, calls it “slop rock.”) It’s a find that makes garage-heads revel in blistering distortion splendor.
So what if the mics aren’t quite dialed in or the crowd noise is a little too prevalent? What, you want clean digital sound? If that’s your bag, man, click the heck away from this feature that brags about being “lo-fi.” Perhaps check out Popdose’s “Clean Hi-Fi Boring Friday” instead. Oh wait, that’s so uncool no one’s doing it. Well, as long as you’re here, get a load of Sonic’s “Do It Again,” and if you think that’s a hunka righteous Dee-troit rock, check out the video for “City Slang” below.