This week’s Monday Magick comes from pioneers of the Pacific Northwestern music scene, The Sonics. Hailing from Tacoma Washington, The Sonics are one of the Garage Rock bands from the ’60s whose fast and hard-hitting style can be cited as proto-Punk. And though their two LPs, ‘Here are the Sonics’ and ‘Boom’, released by Etiquette Records in 1965 and 1966 respectively, were heavy with covers, they were also known for penning original tunes about decidedly dark subject matter.
One of those originals, 1965’s “The Witch”, is pretty straightforward in warning a newcomer to town to avoid the feminine wiles of a certain “witchy woman”. It doesn’t go too far in explicitly enumerating her occult activities. And while it couches its terminology in metaphor, it also maintains a sense of seriousness, warning the listener to flee if she should visit your abode. “She’s gonna make you itch” sounds pretty innocent to our modern ears. But we could also assume that “itch” is meant to signify some metaphor for dark sexual desires inspired by her spell casting. And besides, the song just fucking rocks, both pre-figuring decades of Punk rock and, with its ill screaming chorus, hearkening back to early shock-rocker Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
Over the decades The Sonics inspired countless younger acts, including fellow Northwesterners Nirvana, The White Stripes, and even LCD Soundsystem. The band has gone through numerous personnel changes during that time as well, with a version of the band still active today.
Music is magick!