news about sonic's rendezvous album

[short piece by David Fricke, Rolling Stone, Sept. 12, 1998]


They rarely played outside the Detroit area, and they released one rare single, the searing "City Slang." But Sonic's Rendezvous Band--the high-energy supercombo led by former MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith in the late 1970s and featuring ex-members of the Stooges (drummer Scott Asheton), the Up (bassist Gary Rasmussen) and the Rationals (singer-guitarist Scott Morgan)--was arguably the killer live band of the Seventies: Midwestern legends who left punks and metalheads alike drooling in their beers.

Two decades later--and four years after Smith's death, in November 1994--the Mack Aborn Rhythmic Arts label in Detroit has released the first-ever Sonic's Rendezvous album, Sweet Nothing, recorded at a gig in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in April 1978. The album features roaring Rendezvous originals like "Dangerous," "Asteroid B-612" and, of course, "City Slang," and was produced by the band's manager, Freddie Brooks, with the blessing of Smith's widow, Patti Smith, and the assistance of their son Jackson.

"This is a missing part of Michigan rock history,"says Brooks. "A lot of people know about the band, but nobody's heard them. I wanted to get Fred some belated recognition."

For information, contact Mack Aborn Rhythmic Arts at PO Box 441915, Detroit, MI 48244-1915 or

Copyright © 1998 David Fricke

back to babelogue