For years the only way to hear the oft-talked-about, under-heard SONIC’S RENDEZVOUS BAND was to buy an expensive original 45 or cheaper bootleg 45 of the one-song single “City Slang” (with a stereo a-side version and a mono b-side version), trade live tapes or bootleg vinyl (extremely hard to come by), or to buy a semi-legit split LP from France with Ron Asheton’s DESTROY ALL MONSTERS 45s on the a-side and various SRB material on the back, including the stereo “City Slang”. Me, I’ve heard most of what this 1975-80 Detroit-based act had to offer up, and for the most part, it’s just-above-standard-issue FM power rock, electrified significantly by the wild guitar playing of axe hero Fred “Sonic” Smith, late of the MC5. I’d position it somewhere between The Stooges and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, except on the longer tracks where Smith gets to go ape, and then it’s “the 5” all the way. You can read a lot more about them here.

In 1990 I was in a band with a fella who saw the band in Detroit many times in their heyday, and we decided to do an instrumental cover of the song “Sweet Nuthin’” from that French LP. It was so easy to play that even I could do it – but the song remains, especially in this instrumental version, to be a singular moment in their catalog: a sprawling, repetitive, understated but nasty rock and roll mauler. The opening guitar riff is just filthy, as they say in baseball. No need for a 6-CD box set – all the magic’s on the “City Slang” 45 and right here!

Play or Download SONIC’S RENDEZVOUS BAND – “Sweet Nuthin’” (from posthumous split LP with Destroy All Monsters)

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