Rhapsody University: Garage Rock 101
by Justin Farrar | September 2, 2014
Nuggets it clearly is not, yet Garage Rock 101 is no joke. It's sure to knock your sock suspenders clear off, what with its howling, raving, swinging cocktail of cheesy organs, riffs so stiff they're actually loose, maniacal teen angst and fuzzy everything. All of the genre's standards are present and accounted for, from "You're Gonna Miss Me" and "Dirty Water" to "96 Tears" and "Talk Talk." And yes, The Kingsmen's FBI-probed "Louie Louie" is in the shuffle (sandwiched between The Human Beinz and The Blues Magoos, no less). But hey, Garage Rock 101 also contains numerous obscurities generally associated with the 303 syllabus. (What can I say? I'm a demanding professor.) These include "Mr. Pharmacist" (one of rock's all-time best drug songs), "Mirror of Your Mind" (what an oddball mix of psychological insight and sexual frustration) and "Why Do I Cry" (The Remains were masters of suave).
As you bop to the playlist, hopefully you'll also get a sense of garage rock's evolution. For a movement that lasted roughly six years (1962 to '68), it coughed up a dizzying number of permutations. Early frat-house bruisers like The Sonics, Paul Revere & the Raiders and the aforementioned Kingsmen (all of them from the Pacific Northwest, interestingly enough) were heavily inspired by the distorto-rumblin' instrumental rock of Link Wray, Duane Eddy and The Wailers. In contrast, Shadows of Knight, Love, The Seeds and the rest of the acts that emerged a few years later, in the wake of the British Invasion, were obsessed with imitating the shaggy snarl of The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things, The Kinks and Them. As for garage rock's last days, they were littered with outfits like the Amboy Dukes (teenaged Nuge!), The Chocolate Watchband, H.P. Lovecraft and others who were drifting into psychedelia, folk rock or straight-up hard rock.
Remember: It's best to crank this playlist while sporting some kind of colonial costume … what the hell was that trend about?!?