I'd say this is a perfect introduction to the garagedom.I've taken it from the All Music Guide site and the author is Richie Unterberger who wrote two critically acclaimed books "The Unknown Legends of Rock ' n' Roll" and "Urban Spacemen & Wayfaring Strangers: Overlooked Innovators and Eccentric Visionaries of 60s Rock ".He's got a personal homepage too ( http://www.richieunterberger.com/)


Garage Rock by Richie Unterberger

For those who prize adolescent, primitive energy as one of rock &

roll's best features, the garage rock bands of the '60s rank at or

near the top of the rock & roll pyramid. Ignored or even scorned 

by critics in its heyday, garage rock proved an influential

inspiration for the punk rock explosion of the '70s, and 

experienced a renaissance of sorts in the '80s,

among the rock underground and collector community if nowhere else.

Largely a North American phenomenon, the garage band movement began

in the wake of the British Invasion in 1964. There were already

plenty of young, White rock groups throughout the U.S., but they

were usually found playing instrumental (sometimes surf) rock or

heavily R&B-influenced "frat rock," and largely unconcerned with

writing their own songs or making individualistic, rebellious

statements. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals and 

others changed that overnight. Caught off-guard by this

 unexpected onslaught, teenage groups put the focus on

 loud electric guitars and grew their hair long in attempts to emulate their heroes.

What emerged was a distinctly cruder and more adolescent variation

on the British Invasion sound (which itself had been largely

inspired by American rock and R&B in the first place). It is not

accurate to say that the garage groups matched the talents of their

British idols, or of American outfits like the Byrds; they were

usually considerably younger and less sophisticated, and lacked the

songwriting skills or instrumental finesse of the era's major

groups. By way of compensation, perhaps, they placed a 

premium on sheer outrageousness: over-the-top vocal 

screams and sneers fought it out with loud guitars that 

almost always had a fuzztone attached.Garage bands 

were so named after the habitual practice space of the

musicians, which were overwhelmingly White, suburban, and teenaged.

While scattered 1964 recordings by groups like the Gestures and the

Barbarians served as early blueprints for the sound, it didn't

blanket the country properly until 1965, when virtually every major

city (and many minor ones) became home to dozens of new guitar

groups hungering for a piece of the action — which meant parties,

girls and, of course, records.

These records were usually pressed on tiny local labels, and usually

only heard within a 50-100 mile radius (if they were heard on local

radio at all). Occasionally they were picked up for nationwide

distribution by a larger company; more occasionally still, they

became bonafide national hits. The Shadows of Knight, The Count Five

the 13th Floor Elevators, The Standells, The Seeds, ? & The

Mysterians, and the Gentrys were among the lucky few who hit 

this jackpot, although their time in the spotlight was

brief.An enormous amount of records were released by

garage bands in the '60s, particularly between 1965 and 

1967.California and Texas were probably home to more of these bands per capita 

than any other state, but the number of groups that recorded, let alone played, 

was staggering. Detroit, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle,

Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Phoenix; they all were home to large local

scenes supporting several dozens of bands, much in the manner of

today's alternative rock and punk communities.

There are a great many generic garage band recordings: fuzzy

variations of the "Satisfaction" or "You Really Got Me" riffs,

simplistic lyrics about cheating girlfriends, inept guitar solos and

cheesy organ riffs. There are also a great many great garage band

records by bands that combined their energy with sharp 

songwriting skills, compelling hooks, or sheer unpredictable


The Texas bands favored galloping rhythms with bigger-than-life

fuzztones; the California bands often copped folk-rock and

psychedelic licks from their own local heroes; Midwest groups

sometimes drew upon trends in soul music; New England groups were

more prone to use Zombies-like keyboards and melodies; Cleveland

acts showed a strong affinity for Merseybeat and British power-pop.

But the bands from these far-flung territories had a lot more in

common than not; all of them kept abreast of the latest trends in

British rock, folk-rock, and psychedelic music.

A number of factors conspired to slow the momentum of the garage

phenomenon around 1967 and 1968. Facing college, lack of national

success and, worst of all, the military draft, many of the bands

simply didn't stay together for very long. Increasingly homogenous

national radio airplay and distribution meant less of a chance for

regional labels to succeed or get their records played, and hence

less opportunities for local talent to enter the studio. And the

fact was, a lot of the garage bands were outgrowing the pop/rock of

the first wave of the British Invasion, and moving — as their

inspirations were — towards more progressive and psychedelic 

sounds,with lyrics that, for better or worse, addressed more 

mature concerns than picking up girls and adolescent


Almost immediately forgotten by rock historians, garage music 

began its comeback when future Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye

compiled the original Nuggets album in 1972. This double set

featured the most popular garage band recordings by the likes of the

Standells, Seeds, Chocolate Watch Band and others; Kaye helped coin

the term "punk rock" in his liner notes, in reference to bands such

as these that celebrated rock & roll at its most primal and

unself-conscious. Adding a measure of contemporary lyrical content

and attitude, bands like the Sex Pistols would embellish this

prototype and give birth to modern punk rock a few years later.

The Pebbles series of the late '70s took the Nuggets approach

several steps further, unearthing even rarer and rawer garage 

band recordings from across the nation. Eventually

numbering dozens of volumes, Pebbles in turn kicked off a 

deluge of '60s garage bandreissues and compilations; often 

great, sometimes awful, these numbered in the hundreds

 by the late '80s. Contemporary groups like

the Fuzztones the Pandoras, Thee Fourgiven and dozens of others

played garage revival music in the 1980s, though in truth they never

approached the authentic qualities of the best of the '60s garage,

and never made a significant impact on either the mainstream or

underground rock scenes.

The reissues introduced young and old listeners to scores of fine

bands, ironically giving them their greatest international exposure

decades after they broke up. Some, like the Remains or the Music

Machine were arguably too talented and innovative to be lumped in

with the garage crowd in the first place. Others, like Zakary 

Thaks, the Chocolate Watch Band and the Rising Storm 

personified teenage rock & roll at its most enjoyable. All of the 

above-mentioned groups — and quite a few others —

 were nearly as good as the more accomplished

 and more famous British and American hitmaking bands of

the era, and deserve belated recognition as first-rate '60s rock & rollers.

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