The Real Garage

Glorious Noise was representin’ in full effect on WXRT’s Sound Opinions last night. I hope I sounded better than the first time I was on that show. The show focused on garage rock, and they had us on to discuss the recent White Stripes thing we did here a couple weeks ago.

I get frustrated listening to other people talk about sixties garage rock though. It’s a subject I care deeply about, and it’s annoying to hear people throwing terms around willy nilly. As anyone who has heard Crypt Records’ Back from the Grave series knows, there’s a huge difference between garage rock (roughly 63-66) and psychedelic rock (roughly 66-70). I don’t care what Lenny Kaye thinks or what the original Nuggets album contained. Just listen to the stuff, and you can tell which is which.

Update: you can now listen to my segment online via

12 thoughts on “The Real Garage”

  1. So, are you saying garage rock was a period, not a genre? If not, how would you define it?

  2. Well, I just updated the article to clarify that I was referring to sixties garage rock. But I’m not saying it was just a period, because there was certainly a whole lot of overlap, time-wise.The garage genre can be described as (if not defined by) American teenagers trying to emulate the early Beatles and the early Stones, or in some early (mostly Pacific Northwestern)examples such as the Wailers and the Sonics, to actually emulate the bands r&b groups that the Beatles and the Stones were trying to emulate.How they ended up creating something new was that they often substituted enthusiam for virtuosity (and that’s putting it mildly). Of course, that’s not the case with all garage bands. Some of them had really talented musicians (usually the poor kids) combined with some mediocre musicians (usually the rich kids who paid for things and who’s dads arranged gigs at the lodge).Psych happened because of fucking Sgt Pepper. That album fucked up real rock and roll for a long time, and had dopey kids trying to sound deep. Bad news 99.9% of the time. At least that’s my scapegoat. I’m sure there were plenty of psychedelic things going on in San Francisco pre-Pepper, but I prefer to blame it on the Beatles.

  3. Thanks Jake, so what would you say about “new garage”? I don’t think the Hives nor the Mooney Suzuki would fit that category. The Gories, the Immortal Lee County Killers and the Soledad Brothers would?

  4. I listen to “Sound Opinions” pretty much every week, and it was so cool to hear you guys introduced. You did a great job, Jake.For me, garage music was just that. Growing up in 60’s white suburbia, most of my friends practiced in the unattached garages of their parents bungalows. The bands that appeared on the Nuggets album played at the high school dances and radio station gigs around town. I think the show touched on a lot of the meanings of the term “garage”, and did it quite well. There are so many interpretations, past and present. Too many to hit on in a two-hour radio show. I could have requested a dozen songs!

  5. Jake, I can’t believe you left the Animals out of that influences list. We both agree that many of those early garage rock bands were in fact imitating Eric Burton, not Mick Jagger.

  6. Yeah, but the Animals were doing such a great job of imitating US soul acts that I don’t even think of them as British rock. Same with Them, but Them was as garage as they get!

  7. Damn, then you have the Faces and that secomnd wave of Brit bands who brought about the Mod movement. Those kids were nuts for Motown and Tamla but were as white as Ivory soap. Again, it was enthusiasm (and speed) that brought about a new type of Rock and Roll.

  8. Oooh, ugly psychadelic bias there, Jake. It produced a lot of crap, but not nearly as much crap as what I consider its direct descendant… PROG ROCK! But even that genre isn’t totally worthless.I think bands like The Count Five, which I proudly say were from my home town, definitely blurred the line between “psych” and “garage,” but more and more, I think we’d all be better off dispensing with the fucking labels and letting the musicians do their thing without trying to pigeon-hole them. Of course, that would make it awfully difficult to describe somebody’s sound. Still, genres and labelling are so limiting. What’s a fan to do?There’s a column topic. Why all the subgenres? Are they a good thing or bad thing? Isn’t it all just rock and roll?

  9. Even worse, why all the damn genres in your local music store? I need a guide book in order to find a Dismemberment Plan cd!

  10. Great job, Jake. Very understated–and you didn’t go for any of their stupid barbs or jokes. You sounded at least as smart as your hosts, in fact, I think we GloNo folks could do a better show. Of course, it’s the first time I’ve listened (over the Internet) and I always think I can do everything better than anyone…Kings of all media? Why not us.

  11. One of the great, unchronicled aspects of garages in the ’60s somehow related to certain nuances of rock is that they were places where teenaged boys sometimes affixed a bedsheet to a wall covering the rakes and shovels so that they could achieve a screen for a rickety 16-mm projector that displayed mini-dramas in which a repairman/mailman/deliveryman knocked on a door to a house to be greeted by a semi-nude woman for the predictable to happen. Like 45-rpm records, this is a cultural manifestation that is lost to digital technology. Or so I’ve heard.

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