Three years ago, family tragedy thrust Sonny Vincent from being a cult New York punk legend into the role of full-time carer.
Based in Europe for two decades from where he prolifically recorded and toured, he was suddenly pulled back to the USA by a home gas explosion and fire that left his son, daughter-in-law and grandson on life support in a North Carolina hospital.
Sonny’s family has survived but his music is on indefinite hold. Day-to-day life now revolves around his 12-year-old grandson Cayden, still undergoing skin grafts while trying to live the life of a schoolboy. Sonny hasn’t picked up a guitar since that fateful night and has been existing on donations.
Here's your first taste of the new album "Snake Pit Therapy" from old school New York City punk Sonny Vincent, out September 19 on Svart. Pre-orders are open here and you can read a rewview of his book by the same name here.
Ultramafic: An igneous rock with a very low silica content and rich in minerals such as hypersthene, augite, and olivine.
This is a short run of 12-inch vinyl, each copy with its own bespoke, hand-painted artwork. They were put together for a series of art exhibitions in Switzerland, New York City, Holland, Germany and France about 10 years ago. It will look great on your wall and sound devastating on your turntable.
The music was recorded by Sonny Vincent and various bands from 1976 onwards – much of it in tiny studios while on endless tours of Europe and the USA. Some of it has been heard in other versions.
The line-ups include Vincent’s Max’s and CBGB staples, Testors, as well as members of Rocket From The Crypt, Sonic Youth, The Damned, the Stooges, Dead Boys, the Velvet Underground. There’s even an appearance by Ernie Knapp, a guy who drummed for Charles Manson as well as the Beach Boys (I shit you, not.) Don’t expect polish. It’s all uncompromisingly raw, but always passionate.
Don’t let its diminutive size lull you into thinking this book is in any way insubstantial. It’s pocket-sized so you can carry it on your person - like a concealed weapon.
Punk survivor Sonny Vincent’s first formal foray into being A Published Author packs a hefty punch in its 91 pages. Is it a memoir, a collection of prose or a bunch of musings from a hyperactive, creative mind? All of the above.
It’s not just punk rock and roll. “Snake Pit Therapy” bounces from childhood rejections of authority to tripped-out excursions around a dry-cleaning shop (‘You get $100 a day and all the cocaine you can snort,” read the note on the laundromat’s bulletin board’.)
There’s a bizarre vignette (“My Evil Little Krishna”) arguing with itself in the finest post-modern style, an ode to formica and an impenetrable prayer. There’s a story of a doomed smalltown newspaper run scam.
Eternal punk rock outsider Sonny Vincent is re-emerging after years off to manage the fall-out of a family tragedy with a new group, The Limit, comprising members of the Stooges, Pentagram and infamous Portugese metal band Dawnrider, Their album "Caveman Logic",comprising Vincent-penned songs,will be released via Finnish labelSvart Records on April 9 and can be pre-ordeered here.
For the unitiated, Sonny Vincent is a proflific solo artist and played with culy CBGB and Max's Kansas City band Testorsas well as people like Scottand Ron Asheton, Bobby Stinson, Spencer P Jonesand Mo Tucker. Vincent is joined by Pentagram singer Bobby Liebling, singer and main-man of Pentagram, Jimmy Recca(the Stooges, and New Order),guitaristHugo Conim on Guitar and João Pedro Ventura on dums
Some would hide their earliest bands’ recordings in a dark place and hope nobody found them. Thankfully, not Sonny Vincent.
As one of the last New York punks still standing, Sonny Vincent criminally remains a well-kept secret. The music he’s made under his own name, and with a string of bands - most notably, Max’s Kansas City and CBGB graduates, Testors - is some of the best primal sound around. This collection of songs from his pre-punk bands, spanning 1969-72, does nothing to detract from that track record.
I-94 Bar regulars will know that Sonny Vincentis held in high regard around these parts. He is the Fucking Real Deal for whom Rock and Roll is a calling, not a paerttime job. If you’re not a fan of proselytizing on behalf of Real Rock and Roll, you can stop reading now, because even more than the usual level of evangelistic hard-sell follows.
Just the facts: “Snake Pit Therapy” is Album Number 30-something from the indefatigable punk rock veteran and it’s as good a collection of songs as he’s delivered to date, as well as his best-sounding record.
Not to be confused with Sonny's recent book of the same name, “Snake Pit Therapy” blends familiar melodies with powerful downstroke playing and buckets of passion. It’s delivered with a measured wisdom that only a life lived travelling many miles of bad road can bring.
Simon Chainsaw with The Liberators at Frankies Pizza in Sydney. Anthony Mitchell photo.
2021 was a bit of a re-run of 2020.. lockdowns, gigs cancelled, industries decimated. While in 2020 I was inspired to create and consume, 2021 left me fatigued, lethargic and generally disinterested. Let’s hope 2022 too is not a rerun! However, there were some bright spots that come to mind.
Greetings Rockers and Goomers! It’s the end of another weird year. How many is that now?
Here are my Top Ten releases - mostly Australian artists - and venues, in no particular order of preference. Not all were released in 2021 - but close enough. These releases and venues kept me sane in 2021.Merry Xmas and a free and Happy New Year!
2. Snake Pit Therapy – Sonny Vincent (Svart) New York punk’s (almost) last man standing bounces back with his best-sounding and arguable most well-rounded album ever. Sonny has been hidden in plain sight for the many for far too long.
10. JAMES DOMESTIC – “FAZE OUT” This just scrapes in as a debut single but by the time The Domestics’ frontman’s album emerges this Spring, it’ll be a shoo-in for end of year lists. A brilliant first effort, “Faze Out” keeps some of the East Anglian hardcore pioneers’ energy but cloaks his Dury-ish man-in-the-pub spiel in junskshop electronica.
9. VIEWS – “MOTHER TAPES ANTHOLOGY 1986-1990” Not sure how this lot passed me by in my student days, but this double from Area Pirata is an excellent introduction to (or reminder of) Brescia band Views. One for paisley underground fans, they borrow the Dü’s knack for belligerence and melody with occasional wigouts into Yo La Tengo lightheadedness.
8. SONNY VINCENT – “SNAKE PIT THERAPY” STILL one of punk’n’roll’s best-kept secrets, Sonnycame within a Rizla’s breadth of going overground and not a moment too soon. The Limit album that came out earlier in the year, fronted by Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling, brought him a whole new audience, but this is really what he does best. A confident resurgence considering the trials of recent years.