Showing posts with label GARY RASMUSSEN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GARY RASMUSSEN. Show all posts

2.23.2014

DENIZ TEK: SONICS RENDEZVOUS BAND, 1976 PART ONE

copyright photography Robert Matheu - robertmatheu.com
SONICS RENDEZVOUS BAND, 1976
AUTHOR: DENIZ TEK
PHOTOS: ROBERT MATHEU
            JOE RUFFNER

I was visiting home in Ann Arbor, taking a break from working with my own group, Radio Birdman, in Sydney. My brother Kurt and I were having drinks in an awful student bar on Maynard, and we were talking about the pathetic state of music now compared to the "good old days". We walked out into the bitterly cold street where I noticed a handbill sized gig poster. It was advertising a gig by a band called "Sonics Rendezvous Band", and there was a photo of these guys...

copyright photography Robert Matheu - robertmatheu.com

Rock Action,from the Stooges; Fred Smith, from the MC5; Scott Morgan, from the Rationals; Gary Rasmussen, from the Up. I knew all about them from the old days...what Michigan had been to rock and roll music six or seven years earlier, which I had thought was totally lost now. This would be worth checking out. Some of the old fire might still be alive.

The gig was at the "Roadhouse", a blue collar Michigan bar and restaurant about 10 miles north of town off US23 (Whitmore Lake). It was on for that night and the gig had already started. I knew these guys had all been great in the past, and could be great now. We got in my brother's green '72 Olds Cutlass "S", and he gunned the big block V8.

Deniz Tek with Fred's former Epiphone Crestwood Deluxe guitar

We headed up snowy North Main St, over the river bridge leaving town, on to 23 and north a couple of exits, across North Territorial, off at the top of the hill, across old Whitmore Lake Rd. and pulled up in the parking lot. We went in. The place held about 40 or fifty people, mostly sitting around at tables. There was a small empty dance floor and dim lighting.


The band was playing. Immediately, it held a great fascination for me. They were better than I had hoped. As players, they were technically solid. As a unit, they had fused into something magical. There was Fred, playing his 12 string Rick (strung with six), through an old Fender Twin through a Marshall 4x12 cab. Set against and within the bedrock rhythm background of the band, his solos were the most fluid and original I had heard since Hendrix.


His playing had progressed beyond his time in the MC5. In those days he had already started work on transcribing legendary jazz sax solos to guitar, and adapting them to rock music. He had come much closer now to perfecting this idea...starting with Coltrane, Shepp and Lester Bowie but ending up with something entirely of his own. Scott Morgan with his old Telecaster, was the perfect sixties rhythm and blues foil to Freds' experimentalist approach.

copyright photography Robert Matheu - robertmatheu.com

Morgan had the great white R&B shout, as good but more subtle than Mitch Ryder. He could hit all the notes, with incredible timing and sense of cool. For my money, the three greatest white R&B singers were all from the Detroit area: Rob Tyner, Mitch, and Scott Morgan.


Fred had an element of Bob Dylan in his voice as well. Scotty "Rock Action" Asheton had his simple Ludwig kit, beating it and the locality to submission, shaking the building with sheer brute force, but with split-atom accuracy. Every member was totally focused and were simultaneously deep in the moment while lost in nothingness.

They had achieved "loose tightness"...a term Ron Asheton used to describe the impossibly elusive balance of freedom and spontaneity yet being in the pocket. I could feel it instinctively....I abandoned myself to the sound and the look of it. I danced. I laughed. I absorbed every beat of it.


During a break between sets I talked to them a little. Fred was very polite and reserved, preferring to just sit there, bourbon and cigarette in hand, observing, thinking, but saying only an occasional word or two here and there.

 Scott,Gary, Fred and Rock  
copyright photography Robert Matheu - robertmatheu.com

Scott Asheton was Rock Action. The world famous tattoo was there. His persona initially seems intimidating. I found out later this fearsome initial impression shields a rather shy spirit with a quiet, intelligent sense of humor. Gary Rasmussen sat casually smoking, was friendly and seemed to find everything amusing. Morgan was the most approachable and happy to hold a conversation.

I left them to their break after a few minutes and went to the bar to get a drink. Coming back to find my brother, I recognized Ron Asheton at a table by himself, a Seagrams Seven and soda in front of him, smoking a Lucky through an aquafilter cigarette holder. Like something in a movie rather than real. He had on those trademark aviator glasses, and sported a full length black leather SS officers greatcoat.

 
I had seen him in the band in 1969 and on the album covers ... he was a little bit heavier now, but instantly recognizable. I went right over to him and said hi, and became an autograph hound, asking him to sign one of the Roadhouse drink menus for me. I was going to give it to Rob Younger as a gift when I got back to Sydney.  STAY TUNED FOR PART 2

Deniz Tek photo: Anne Laurent

★Deniz Tek, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a prolific guitarist, singer and songwriter currently based in Sydney, Australia. His career in music, grounded in late-60's Detroit, extends through several decades and across continents. He is best known as a founding member of the influential Australian independent rock band Radio Birdman.

In 2007, Deniz was inducted into the Australian Music Hall of Fame, and in 2012 was voted number 7 in the top 100 Australian guitarists of all time.★



1.15.2014

THE UP


The original band line-up consisted of vocalist Frank Bach, guitarist Bob Rasmussen, bassist Gary Rasmussen, and drummer Victor Peraino. The band was closely related to the MC5, as both bands' members lived in White Panther Party founder John Sinclair's commune. In May 1968, Sinclair moved the commune to Ann Arbor, Michigan and both bands followed. The Up served as the opening act for the MC5 during a September 1968 show at the University of Michigan's Union Ballroom in Ann Arbor.

This show was attended by Elektra Records president Jac Holzman; Holzman was impressed with both the MC5 and The Stooges (who were the concert's second act) and offered both bands contracts. The Up did not get signed to Elektra and unlike the MC5 and The Stooges, the band never received a major record label contract.

The Up continued to play gigs at the Grande Ballroom and other local venues. In 1969, the MC5 ended their association with John Sinclair and the White Panther Party; The Up took the place of the MC5 as the main musical outlet of the party's propaganda. The Up disbanded in 1973 and faded further into obscurity.

In 1975, the band's bassist Gary Rasmussen later joined Sonic's Rendezvous Band, a Detroit rock scene supergroup featuring former members of the MC5, The Stooges, The Up and The Rationals. In 1995, a retrospective album titled Killer Up! was released containing all of The Up's song recordings.

The album contains all of the band's singles, songs from a recording session at Head Sound Studios in Ypsilanti, Michigan and several live tracks recorded at the Agora Ballroom in Columbus, Ohio in 1972. John Sinclair states in the album's liner notes that, "It's common to name the MC5 and the Stooges among the forefathers of what they call punk rock, but it was their associates in a third band, the Up, who could more accurately be identified as the real precursors of punk."

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