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"Garage rock, Frat rock, Garage punk, Pub rock (UK), Pub rock (Australia), Group Sounds (Japan), List of garage rock bands
Garage rock is a raw form of rock & roll that was first popular in the United States & Canada from about 1963 to 1967. During the 1960s, it was not recognized as a separate music genre & had no specific name. In the early 1970s, some rock critics retroactively labelled it as punk rock. However, the music style was later referred to as garage rock or '60s Punk to avoid confusion with the music of late-1970s punk rock bands such as the Sex Pistols & The Clash.
The style had been evolving from regional scenes as far back as 1958. "Dirty Robber" by The Wailers, & "Rumble" by Link Wray are mainstream examples of the genre in its formative stages.
By 1963, garage band singles were creeping into the national charts in greater numbers, including the Kingsmen (Portland), Paul Revere & the Raiders (Boise), the Trashmen (Minneapolis) & the Rivieras (South Bend, Indiana). Other influential garage bands, such as the Sonics (Tacoma, Wa.), never reached the Billboard 100.
In this early period, there was a cross-pollination between garage rock & frat rock. Frat rock (another heavy influence & precursor to punk rock) was also a loosely defined genre of rock & roll which featured raw, energetic, usually party-themed anthems. It is sometimes viewed as merely a sub-genre of garage rock.
The "British Invasion" of 1964-1966 greatly influenced the garage band sound, as many local American bands (often surf or hot rod groups) began augmenting their sound with a British Invasion lilt. The British Invasion also inspired new, & often very raw, bands to form. Garage rock bands were generally influenced by those British "beat groups" with a harder, blues-based attack, such as The Kinks, The Who, The Animals, The Yardbirds, The Small Faces, The Pretty Things, Them, & the The Rolling Stones. Another influence was the folk-rock of the Byrds & Bob Dylan, especially on bands such as the Leaves.
Looking back from a later perspective, it is generally agreed that garage rock peaked both commercially & artistically during 1966. It went into a slow, but irreversible, decline beginning the following year, with fewer & fewer examples of the genre being released in 1968 & 1969. From a general interest standpoint, the genre was spent by 1970.
"Garage rock" comes from the perception that many such performers were young & amateurish, & often rehearsed in a family garage. This connotation also evokes a suburban, middle-class setting. It is, of course, inaccurate to conclude that all garage bands met this demographic dynamic. Some bands were made up of middle-class teenagers from the suburbs, some were from rural or urban areas, while others were comprised of professional musicians in their twenties.
The performances were often amateurish or naïve. Typical themes revolved around the traumas of high school life. The lyrics & delivery were notably more aggressive than was common at the time, often with growled or shouted vocals that dissolved into inchoate screaming. Songs about "lying girls" were particularly common. Superficially, this implies that the music was very limited. In reality, different garage rock acts were quite diverse in both musical ability & in style. Bands ranged the gamut from one-chord musical crudeness (e.g., the Seeds, the Keggs) to near-studio musician quality (e.g., the Knickerbockers, the Remains, & the Fifth Estate). There were also regional variations in many parts of the country with the Pacific Northwest states of Washington & Oregon having the most defined regional sound.
Thousands of garage bands were extant in the USA & Canada during the era. Several dozen of these produced national hit records, including "Louie, Louie" by The Kingsmen (1963-64), "Psychotic Reaction" by The Count Five (1966), "Pushin' Too Hard" by The Seeds (1966), "Gloria" by the Shadows of Knight (1966), "96 Tears" by Question Mark & the Mysterians (1966), "Talk Talk" by The Music Machine (1966), "Dirty Water" by The Standells (1966), "Double Shot (of My Baby's Love)" by The Swingin' Medallions (1966), "Respect" by The Rationals (1966), & "Little Bit O'Soul" by The Music Explosion (1967).
Hundreds of garage bands produced regional hits. Examples include: "I Just Don't Care" by New York City'sThe D-Men (1965), "The Witch" by Seattle's Sonics (1965), "Where You Gonna Go" by Detroit's Unrelated Segments (1967), "Girl I Got News for You" by Miami's Birdwatchers (1966) & "1-2-5" by Montreal's the Haunted. Boston's Remains, though only able to make it onto Billboard's Bubbling Under charts, had enough of a following & reputation to open for the Beatles during their 1966 U.S. tour. Ohio's Shondells released a minor regional hit in 1964 before disbanding; when it was unearthed by a Pittsburgh DJ in 1965, the resulting success of Hanky Panky revived the moribund career of Tommy James, who formed a new group of Shondells & went on to chart seven more Top 40 singles.
But as one would expect, most garage bands were commercial failures. This is despite scores of such bands being signed to major or large regional labels. For instance, "Going All The Way" by The Squires was issued on a national label (Atco) & is now regarded as a genre classic, but was not a hit anywhere.
By 1968 the style largely disappeared from the national charts (the minor hit “Question of Temperature” by The Balloon Farm being a notable exception). It was also disappearing at the local level as new styles had evolved to replace garage rock (e.g., progressive rock, country rock, Bubblegum, etc.) & as the music industry withdrew its support. In Detroit garage rock stayed alive until the early 70s, but with a much more aggressive style than early garage rock. Among garage purists, these later bands are considered a different genre altogether, however, proto-punk or proto-hard rock.
The garage rock revival is a musical phenomenon largely influenced by the original garage rock of the 1960s. Its earliest roots can be traced to the early 1970s, following the release of Nuggets in 1972 & continues to this day through the Weste World as mode youngsters continue to pay tribute to a vanished golden age of rock & roll that was 1960s garage rock. Proto punk bands of the early '70s such as The Stooges & The New York Dolls were arguably garage rock revivalists. Iggy Pop had been in a mid-sixties, Detroit garage band, The Iguanas, who released a version of Bo Diddley's "Mona" in 1966 & recorded many other songs that fit within the genre.
The mid to late 1970s saw the arrival of the quintessential garage punk bands, who inspired all garage rock to come, most notably The Ramones, who are usually considered the first of the American punk bands. A good example of the continuing Detroit garage rock scene of this period is The Romantics.
In the 1980s, another garage rock revival saw a number of bands linked to the underground music scene eaestly trying to replicate the sound, style, & look of the '60s garage bands (see The Chesterfield Kings, The Fuzztones, The Milkshakes, & The Cynics as examples of this); this trend coincided with a similar surf rock revival, & both styles fed in into the alteative rock movement & future grunge music explosion, which some say was partially inspired by garage rock from the Seattle area like The Sonics & The Wailers, but was largely unknown by fans outside the immediate circles of the bands themselves.
This movement also evolved into an even more primitive form of garage rock that became known as garage punk by the late 1980s, thanks to bands such as The Gories, Thee Mighty Caesars, The Mummies, & The Devil Dogs. Bands playing garage punk differed from the garage rock revival bands in that they were less cartoonish caricatures of '60s garage bands & their overall sound was even more loud, obnoxious, & raw, often infusing elements of proto punk & 1970s punk rock (hence the "garage punk" term).
The garage rock revival & garage punk coexisted throughout the 1990s & into the 2000s with many independent record labels releasing thousands of records by bands playing various styles of primitive rock & roll all around the world. Some of the more prolific of these independent record labels included Estrus, Hangman, Rip Off, MuSick, In The Red, Telstar, Crypt, Dionysus, Get Hip, Bomp!, Music Maniac & Long Gone John's Sympathy for the Record Industry.
In the 2000s, a garage rock revival gained mainstream appeal & commercial airplay, something that had eluded garage rock bands of the past. This was lead by four bands christened by the media as the "The" bands: The Hives, The Vines, The Strokes, & The White Stripes, the last of which came out of the prominent Detroit rock scene which also include; Von Bondies, The Dirtbombs, The Detroit Cobras, The Go, The Sights, The Hentchmen, Fortune & Maltese & the Paybacks. Elsewhere, other lesser-known acts such as The Boss Martians, Sweet Lemons, The (Inteational) Noise Conspiracy, Satan's Pilgrims, The 220.127.116.11's, The New Bomb Turks, the Oblivians, Teengenerate, Mando Diao, The Makers, Mooney Suzuki, The Flaming Sidebus, Guitar Wolf, Lost Sounds, The Kills, & The Young Werewolves enjoyed moderate underground success & appeal. Other notable bands that enjoyed commercial success, were Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Maddison Street Riot, The Datsuns, Kings of Leon, Jet, The Black Keys, Cold War Kids, The Patte, The Hellacopters, The Libertines & Yeah Yeah Yeahs, though some of these bands popped up on the scene a few years following the initial wave. Even younger bands currently on the cusp have ties to the genre, including The Shys, The Parlor Mob, The Wildbirds, & Sikamor Rooney.
In the late 1990s, Steven Van Zandt ("Little Steven") became a torchbearer, spokesperson, & proponent for both garage rock & the garage rock revival, promoting concerts & festivals across the United States, & also, in 2002, starting a syndicated radio program called Little Steven's Underground Garage & has also launched The Boxen an Underground Garage channel on the Sirius Satellite Radio network. Van Zandt has described the music format as "groups that inspired the Ramones, groups inspired by the Ramones, & the Ramones."
Original mid-1960s garage bands (primarily active from 1963-1967)
, 13th Floor Elevators, The Barbarians, The Bees, The Birdwatchers, Blues Magoos, The Brigands, The Brogues, The D-Men, The Castaways, Chocolate Watchband, The Choir, The Count 5, The Crackerjacks, The Dovers, The Electric Prunes, The Fifth Estate (band), The Five Americans, The Gants, The Gestures, The Golliwogs, The Great Society, The Hombres, The Human Beinz, The Human Expression, The Kingsmen, The Knickerbockers, The Leaves, The Litter, The Luv'd Ones, The Magic Mushrooms, Michael & the Messengers, The Mods, The Monks, Mouse & the Traps, The Moving Sidewalks, Mr. Lucky & the Gamblers, The Music Explosion, The Music Machine, Nobody's Children, The Outsiders, The Other Half, Paul Revere & the Raiders, The Premiers, Question Mark & the Mysterians, The Remains, Richard & the Young Lions, Los Saicos, Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, The Seeds, Shadows of Knight, Sir Douglas Quintet, The Sonics, The Squires, The Standells, The Strangeloves, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Syndicate of Sound, The Third Bardo, The Trashmen, The Ugly Ducklings, Unrelated Segments, The Wailers, The Weeds
- Later period & borderline garage bands (1967 to 1979)
, Alice Cooper, Amboy Dukes, The Balloon Farm, Blues Project, Bubble Puppy, Captain Beefheart, The Charlatans, DMZ, The Electric Eels, The Frost, Jefferson Airplane, The Lollipop Shoppe, Love, Lyme & Cybelle, Max Frost & the Troopers, MC5, Mind Garage, The Nazz, The People, Sagitarius, She, SRC, The Stooges, Thor's Hammer, The Uniques
- 1980s, '90s, & 2000s garage revival bands
, 22-20s, The 7 Shot Screamers, 1313 Mockingbird Lane, 1964, The 18.104.22.168's, The 69 Eyes (until Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams), Arctic Monkeys, Bantam Rooster, The Baseball Furies, The Bellrays, Bikeride, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Black Keys, The Black Lips, Billy Childish, The Blueskins, The Buff Medways, The Blue Van, Capsula, CarbonSilicon, The Charms, Chikita Violenta, Cold War Kids, Compulsive Gamblers, The Creeps, The Cynics, The D4, The Darkness, Dead Moon, Deja Voodoo, The Detroit Cobras, The Dirtbombs, Eagles of Death Metal, The Fades, Flat Duo Jets, Flying Shuttle, The Fleshtones, Foxboro Hot Tubs, The Fuzztones, Gas Huffer, Girl Trouble, The Gondoliers, The Gories, The Greenhoes, The Gruesomes, Guitar Wolf, Gun Club, Thee Headcoats, The Hellacopters, The Hives, The Horrors, The (Inteational) Noise Conspiracy, Jet, Juliette & the Licks, The Kills, Kings of Leon, The Larksmen, The Last Drive, The Libertines, The Light Brigade, Los Dynamite, Lyres (band), Mando Diao, Magneta Lane, Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, Thee Mighty Caesars, The Milkshakes, The Miracle Workers, Mondo Topless, The Mooney Suzuki, The Morlocks, Muck & the Mires, The Murder City Devils, Nevada Smith, The Mummies, Mustang, The Nymphs, The Nomads, The Norvins, Oblivians, The Pandoras, The Phantom Creeps, Plan 9, The Raconteurs, Reigning Sound, Rocket From The Crypt, Thee Shams, Shrubs, Silent Border, S-M-A-S-H, Soledad Brothers, The Sound Explosion, The Stems, The Stepford Husbands, The Stomachmouths, The Strokes, The Subways, Surf Trio, The U-Men, The Von Bondies, The Vines, The Vipers, The Whigs, The White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Young Knives, The Young Werewolves, Zoé (band)"
According to Rock & Folk N°494 (a french magazine), The Norvins' first album will be out in January 2009 on German label Soundflat Records.