Little Steven’s Underground Garage is presenting a trio of rock and roll groups playing together in Austin, Texas this May. The sounds of “The Woggles,” “Barry Whitfield and the Savages” and “The Sonics” will collide as the three bands rock the Mohawk in Austin on May 14. The three are on a 30-day tour, driving to as many cities as they can to share their timeless garage rock with a modern crowd. The SMU Campus Weekly was able to sit down with Rob Lind of the Sonics to discuss their upcoming tour right as they’re wrapping up their last.
SMU Campus Weekly: Firstly, what is it like working on this last tour with Robert Plant?
Rob Lind: Well, he’s amazing. You can talk about Robert on a number of levels, to begin with he’s a very nice guy and he still sings like he’s nineteen. He’s still got that amazing Robert voice and these are his crowds, these are not Sonics’ crowds. So it’s great that he’s brought us along with him on this journey because he’s introduced us to his fans, many of whom probably don’t know much about us. Our crowds are like a generation younger and they’re screaming and yelling and trying to get mosh pits going and stage dive and stuff. Robert’s crowd is not like that, they’re there to hear him, they know the words to all of his songs, they sing along with him, and he really gives it to them. His band, “The Sensational Space Shifters,” are really good, like real good, particularly when they launch into some of the old Led Zeppelin songs, “Black Dog,” “Rock and Roll.” They just shake the place. So it’s fun being with them, they’re good guys, all English boys, Brits, very, very good, great musicians.
CW: Is it a different vibe touring with multiple different bands, as you are now, rather than just with the Sonics?
RL: Well, most of the time we’re the headliner, so we have one or two bands normally open for us. It’s kind of weird for us not being the headliner because the crowd isn’t fully aware of who we are and like last night, when the crowd is still finding their seats we’re on the stage playing “Cinderella.” So it’s a little bit of a different thing. Now as to your question, we toured last summer with a band we weren’t familiar with at first, “The Savages,” from the east coast, Boston area. We got to be real good friends with them, they’re great guys, good band, so it was really kind of fun and towards the end of the tour, two or three of them would come up and do a song with us and then we‘d go on stage and do songs with them. We got to be a little friendly and as a result we’re doing a thirty-day U.S. bus tour with three bands in May. We’re the headliners on it, but the other guys are on that tour with us, which is good because we’re good buddies with them. Another band, “The Woggles,” are also coming so it’ll be the three of us traveling on two tour buses under the auspices of “Little Steven’s Underground Radio” from Sirius XM. So it’ll be a fun tour; it’s fun to hang out with other guys. And we’ve been lucky like I’ve said because that particular band, “The Savages,” are extremely good guys and on the course of that tour we became buddies with them, actually to the point of exchanging emails when we’re not playing.
CW: Do you ever find yourself riffing off of each other, or sharing influences and working together creating new music?
RL: Oh sure, we’ve gone back and forth that way. They have a song called “The Corner Man” and the first time I heard that I thought, “Holy smoke that’s a Sonics’ song” and their guitar player, Peter Greenberg, is a good friend of mine so I said, “Pete, what if we recorded ‘Corner Man,’ would that be okay with you guys?” And he said “Oh yes, we wrote that song for the Sonics!” So we do that back and forth stuff a little bit.
CW: You guys have obviously been around for a long time and you took around a 35 year break between studio albums. Was it tough getting back into the studio or was it like riding a bike where you never forget?
RL: Well when we did those first albums we were
kids, young guys around eighteen, and we were real nervous. So now when we do it
at our age, it’s much more relaxed. And we’ve been playing a lot, doing
European tours, Australian tours, Japan, New Zealand, we’ve been playing for
big audiences for four or five years before we went into the studio. So when we
went into the studio we were more mature, more seasoned and way more relaxed.
So in that respect it was much easier. The difference between recording in the
60s and recording last summer was the technology involved. It’s so much easier