THE GENERICS STORY
The Generics were a garage rock band I was in from late 1983 until mid-1984. Not as far back
as the golden age of garage music, nor recent enough to be part of the late-
80’s revival scene
Thee Generics). There may have been some other American bands (Chesterfield
in ‘83-84 with similar ethos, but at the time we weren’t aware of anyone else
sounding even remotely like we did.
In late summer 1983, my brother Matt told me there was a jam session going on in his
classmate Lou’s basement
. Matt wasn’t much impressed by their guitarist, so he pressed me to
go over and intrude. I showed up with my Les Paul and Peavey amp, and things seemed to click
right away. The drummer Andy, only 16, had some truly amazing chops. Larry, the bass player
we persuaded to join later, was firmly rooted in jazz (I still hold the opinion that jazz players
make the best rock bassists if you can persuade them to put a lid on their meanderings). Lou
was the default singer, still at a very early stage of using his voice as an instrument and
constantly improving over time. He owned the P.A. and we continued to practice at his
, until we somehow convinced the high school music department to let us use
the auditorium stage on weekends.
The oldest member at 21, I had already played paying gigs for a couple years in a punk/powerpop
band, The Detours, so I was sort of the rock veteran. I was also now at a point of trying to
expand my playing beyond my roots, into Cream, early Jeff Beck
and “Live at Leeds” territory.
But I had no desire to lose the punk energy level, and for the time being had three accomplices
who were willing to ignore what was usually expected of a covers band in 1983. No Van Halen,
no Foreigner, no Eye of the fucking Tiger
…our sound wasn’t commercially-friendly and that’s
how we liked it. A lot of Who comparisons were made and that was fine by us. Our music also
sounded bluesy in a late-
60’s, menacing hard-rock way. To small-town Maine audiences it
probably sounded like we stepped out of a time machine.
Our live set consisted mostly of amped-up covers of 60s classics, except for a few then-current
“Eminence Front”, then on the radio a lot, actually sounded non-Who-like in our
hands, and had a real proto-grunge sound several years before Dinosaur Jr. Our J.J. Cale-esque
The Pretenders’ “My City Was Gone” was the only instance ever of our toning a cover
down rather than blowing it up. But most of our setlist was comprised of older classic rock, and
could best be described by three words heard frequently from our audience members
At the time I was sort of a purist who didn’t want any guitar pedals, even a
fuzzbox. I preferred instead to turn my amp way up à la Townshend and try for the best
possible outcome. The other guys had no choice but to compete with my volume level in order
to be heard.
So here, 30 years later, presented for the first time are the Generics and their live wall of sound,
ersions of “Shakin’ All Over”, “Gloria” and “Steppin’ Stone” that could stomp just
about any other garage band’s versions
. Here are feedback-laced blues bashings of Clapton’s
hippie anthem “The Core” and CCR’s hoary “Keep on Chooglin’”, on which I play my own
“breaking glass chord”. Our one original, “Generics Jam Blues” (then considered
unnamable by us, for some reason), was our most technically proficient song. Audiences
seemed to love it. Also included is our failed first attempt
at “Johnny B. Goode”, my sole lead
vocal turn that, once we worked it out, allowed me on a couple of memorable occasions to preenact
famous scene in “Back to the Future” two years before anyone heard of Marty McFly.
Like I said, we had a time machine.
Please note: these tracks
aren’t sequenced like a modern CD, but more like a traditional album.
ou won’t necessarily hear the best songs first, but the music flows better as a whole.
I make no claims for
The Generics’ significance in rock history (I know we really had none) but I
can safely say we were anything
but generic. We weren’t about money and we definitely
weren’t afraid to take chances.
Our audiences were incredibly open-minded and enthusiastic.
Special thanks to all those kids who got drunk at our shows and woke up the next day with
January 23, 2013
THE GENERICS: Sean Smith - lead guitar & l
ead vocals (on “Johnny B. Goode”); Lou Morin - lead
vocals & tambourine; Larry Williams - bass guitar & vocals; Andy Cloutier
1. Eminence Front
2. Break on Through (to the Other Side)/Gloria
3. Johnny B. Goode/Frying of the Amps
4. Shakin’ All Over
5. Stage Introduction
6. (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
7. The Core
8. My City Was Gone
9. Sunshine of Your Love
10. Generics Jam Blues
11. Roadhouse Blues (Ending)
Keep on Chooglin’ (Fogerty)
13. Moby Dick
14. Crossroads [sound check]
(Johnson; arr. Cream)
15. Barney Miller Theme [sound check]
Tracks 1-4 recorded
at Lou Morin’s parents’ living room, Skowhegan, Maine in Dec. 1983
Tracks 5-15 recorded at The Barn at Eaton Mountain, Skowhegan, Maine on 4-21-84
Source for tracks 1-4: 2
nd gen. cassette, mono miked boombox
Source for tracks 5-15: 2nd gen. cassette, narrow-stereo soundboard
Sean also requested that I include his contact information, and here it be:
contact Sean Smith @ email@example.com” so he can get all his hate mail "directly....
I REALLY want to know what you guys think of this. I'd LOVE to amature, bar bands, new and old, on this blog, LOVE to, listening to that stuff is REAL LIFE, listening to blowhards like Corrosion of Conformity is phony, ANTI-rock n roll.......and we know, ROCK N ROLL is FOR REAL
I have no artwork for this post, so I will simply do what I ususally do in such a situation and put a series of hot-ass bitches out there for your (mostly MY) pleasure!