Sonic Highway Detour

If there was one fault in the “Something From Nothing” episode of “Sonic Highway,” it is the omission of Chicago’s answer to the British Invasion.

Sixty minutes is too short of a running time to tell the story of America’s music cities, especially Chicago.  “Something from Nothing” does a good job to shine a spotlight on Buddy Guy, the Blues, Cheap Trick and giving a nod to notable act such as Naked Raygun, Etta James, Gene Krupa, Kanye West, and Ministry.

Completely absent are the names of moptop musicians who answered the British Invasion with a style of music that almost perfectly encapsulates the attitude of Chicago.  “Working class.  Rough around the edges.”

After The Beatles debuted on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” teenagers and young adults around the nation took to the garage with newly acquired music instruments to copy the sounds of The Beatles, and other British Invasion bands.  The result was a product that may have been dismissed as amateurish, but inadvertently, some of the singles pressed by these bands would yield a product of infinite influence.

006.  The Buckinghams.  The Cryan’ Shames.  The Daughters of Eve.  The Del-Vetts.  The Lemon Drops.  The Colony Six.  Haymarket Riot.  The Shadows of Knight.

Just a short list of bands who produced some of the best Garage Rock of the 1960s.  Unfortunately, their history has become almost a lost chapter of music history in Chicago.  Almost forgotten.  Each band would achieve minor success, pressing a 45 that would get some airplay, but would share similar fates that would dissolve each individual act.  Members getting drafted to Vietnam.  Bad business deals.  Egos.  Drugs.  Any and all of the ingredients that would be found in an episode of “Behind the Music.”

What was the lasting effect of these bands?  Many of these Chicago Garage Rock bands, and others across the nation would find their way on to the legendary compilation “Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era.”  A two disc record set that would be played on the turntable at CBGBs, and at the rehearsal space of the New York Dolls.  Helping influence the sound and attitude of New York Punk Movement of the 1970s, and later the Garage Rock Revival of the 2000s with bands like The White Stripes, The Hives, and The Strokes.

The original Garage Rock movement was almost too cool for the masses to understand at first.  Maybe that is why it took years for people to catch up to what was being made in so many suburban garages across in nation and in Chicago.

Your “Lost Chapter of Chicago Garage Rock” mix tape tracklist:

“Like What Me Worry?” – 006
“Someday Baby” – Untamed
“Last Time Around” –The Del-Vetts
“Gloria” – Shadows of Knight
“Girl I Need You” – December’s Children
“At the River’s Edge” – New Colony Six
“Mr. Unreliable” – The Cryan’ Shames
“Trip On Out” – Haymarket Riot
“I Live in the Springtime” – The Lemon Drops
“Hey Lover” – Daughters of Eve
“The Train Kept A Rollin’ ” – Haymarket Square (different band)
“Don’t You Care” – The Buckinghams

For those interested in Chicago’s role in the Hardcore Punk movement in the 1980s, I highly recommend the documentary “You Weren’t There.”

Be on the look out for “The Terry Kath Experience,” a documentary on the guitarist for the band Chicago.  It is currently in post-production.


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