The Sonics are a classic example of a band that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the early 1960s, they became one of the earliest garage rock groups and laid the groundwork for punk. By 1967, they had split up.
As garage rock made a comeback in the early 2000s, The Sonics would be cited as an influence by groups like The White Stripes and The Hives. Soon, their songs were being heard in commercials, and they were asked to reunite. They've been touring since 2007 but waited until now to release a new album, "This is the Sonics," which sounds like it could have come out in 1968.
amNewYork spoke with saxophonist Rob Lind.
How did you develop your style?
We haven't changed our style much from the time we were 18 until now. In the Pacific Northwest [where we grew up], there were two main towns: Seattle and Tacoma, [Washington]. ? In Seattle, the bands were really good, better musicians than we were, but they played swing-y, jazz-type music. Seattle is metropolitan. Tacoma is a port city. Our dads were blue-collar workers. Down there, the idea was rock 'n' roll. In Seattle, they were swinging it. In Tacoma, we wanted to knock you on your butt.
You were big in the Northwest. Were you surprised you didn't catch on more nationally?
It was a strange thing. There were some good bands up there, but none of us got out of there. It's like we were trapped. Years later, the Northwest exploded with Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden.
Did you see your influence in that?
Not initially. The world kind of worked its way on us. I got drafted ? and became a Navy carrier pilot. [Guitarist Larry Parypa] was working for an insurance company. [Keyboardist/singer Jerry Roslie] had an asphalt paving company. I didn't look back until 2005 when we started to get approached to play some shows.
Why did you wait until now to make an album?
The more we toured, we started going back to the same places. We started feeling uncomfortable. We never wanted to be perceived as a retro band, an oldies-but-goodies band. We have great fans and started feeling like maybe we owe them. Maybe we need to put out new stuff to let people know we're still here, still vibrant and will come at you like we always did.
If you go: The Sonics are at Irving Plaza at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, 17 Irving Place, $29.50.