Sonic revival

SCOTT MORGAN's POWERTRANE featuring DENIZ TEK along with BLURTONIA and CHEERLEADER at the Tequila Lounge (794 Bathurst),.


SCOTT MORGAN’s POWERTRANE featuring DENIZ TEK along with BLURTONIA and CHEERLEADER at the Tequila Lounge (794 Bathurst), tonight (Thursday, April 18). $12. 416-968-2001. Rating: NNNNN

There’s something very right about former Rationals and Sonic’s Rendezvous Band frontman Scott Morgan hooking up with Radio Birdman founding guitarist Deniz Tek.Both Morgan and Tek know what it’s like to be in world-beating rock and roll bands that dissolved before their time and whose influence is far greater than their unjustly poor record sales might suggest.

Just ask the members of the Nomads, Nitwitz, the Chickens, the Hellacopters, Mudhoney, Soundtrack of Our Lives or just about any rock band from Australia with two guitars and a blown Marshall amp and they’ll set you straight on how they learned to burn.

“I always felt that Sonic’s Rendezvous was a good band that never reached its full potential — much like Radio Birdman,” says Morgan, whose Hydromatics supergroup have just released their second disc, Powerglide (Freakshow).

“So it’s gratifying that groups from all over Scandinavia and Australia have discovered the music and we’re finally getting credit for the influence we’ve had on bands like the Hellacopters. Hey, better late than never.”

But, to be honest, the Hellacopters don’t even come close to the fearsome attack of Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, formed by the late Fred “Sonic” Smith following the early-70s split of the MC5, or Radio Birdman, which Tek assembled in 74 while in Sydney, Australia, continuing his medical studies.

No one understands that shared intensity better than Tek, the only person to have played in both groups. It’s not widely known, but the Birdman slasher made a few guest appearances with Sonic’s Rendezvous Band back in 78.

“The first time I saw Sonic’s Rendezvous was in 75,” recalls Tek from Ann Arbor. “I was visiting my parents here when I saw a poster for a gig that night. There were probably 30 people in this roadhouse on the outskirts of town. The astounding quality of the band just blew me away. I was an immediate convert.”

Two years later, when Sonic was performing City Slang, Tek was back in Ann Arbor and Smith kept calling him up onstage to join in.

“It’s one of those songs that you can never get to the bottom of. No one really knows the lyrics — Fred Smith never wrote them down in full, and you can’t decipher what he’s singing. But that’s great, because it means everyone can make up their own words.”

Originally, the current Morgan and Tek link-up was planned to be a three-pronged Ann Arbor guitar army attack involving Ron Asheton and a set list stacked with Iggy Pop classics. However, sadly, the Stooges guitarist won’t be able to make the trip north.

In any case, seeing Tek trade licks with Morgan will make for a memorable event, the first time the boss Birdman has appeared on a Toronto stage.

For Tek, it’s worth taking a rare break from his emergency-room surgery duties back in Montana to play with Morgan, whose group the Rationals were the first rock and roll band he ever saw perform live when they played his school back in 66.

“Scott is an awesome singer, and he’s a really good guitarist, too. When you get to play with someone you’ve admired, it’s kind of strange at first, but the feeling eventually goes away and you begin to appreciate their talents on a personal level.”timp@nowtoronto.com

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