Read the full story here, stay tuned for the swansong album out soon.
The Motor City of Detroit and Europe's own Murder Capital, Amsterdam, collide in the lethal combination that is the Hydromatics, a trans-Atlantic rock 'n' roll outfit that brings together members of the Rationals, Sonics Rendezvous Band, Nitwitz, Loveslug and B.G.K.
Hellacopters frontman Nick Royale and Tony Slug from Amsterdam's punk veterans the Nitwitz had planned to do a side-project since 1996, with the intention to record a demo with their cover versions of songs by their favourite group, the criminally under-documented Sonic's Rendezvous Band.
Still unnamed at the time, the recording project was put on hold for several years because of the Hellacopters' relentless and time-consuming touring schedule. Nitwitz guitarist Tony Slug got Sonic's Rendezvous Band founder Scott Morgan in touch with the 'Copters, and after they met each other, the only logical next step would be a cooperation between them. And so it happened. Ever since, Scott has performed vocal duties on stage, recorded with, and written material for the band.
During the Hellacopters second visit to Detroit, Scott was glad to accept Nick Royale's offer to participate in his side-project, and it was him who came up with the band's name. With the addition of ex-Nitwitz bass-player Theo Brouwer, the Hydromatics were born. In February 1999, Scott and Nicke flew to Amsterdam where the band rehearsed for a mere six days, working on a live set as well as material for a full album. With only three gigs in small Dutch venues under their belt to try out, the Hydromatics managed to gel together as a tight and solid international riffing unit, as demonstrated by the band's debut album "Parts Unknown.
With Scott's soulful vocals sounding as fresh as ever. Nicke's 'School-Of-Keith-Moon' style drumming provides high-octane Rock Action thunder with Theo Brouwer's rock solid bass playing, and Tony Slug ripping the place to bleeding shreds with chainsaw guitar, the right chemistry was there for Sweden's renowned White Jazz label (Hellacopters, Nomads, Turpentines, Gluecifer) to put out "Parts Unknown".
Receiving rave reviews both from the mainstream press as well as from underground rock publications worldwide, the Hydromatics succeeded in documenting the legacy of the Sonic's Rendezvous Band as accurately and true-to-the-original as it gets, at last, and 20 years to date, the material proved to have passed the test of time, royally.
But the Hydromatics do not aspire to merely be another reunion/cover band that needs to rely on nostalgic sentiments. Besides the four Sonic's Rendezvous Band covers, Scott, Nick and Tony each penned two originals for the album to make for welcome variety. From the haunting sounds of "Calling LWA" to blitzkrieg riff-o-rama of "Valentine Frankenstein" or "No Justice (In Rock'n' Roll)", it's all high-energy rock'n'roll the way it was meant to be played and sound.
Then there is a (previously unreleased) cover by an obscure Detroit group called The Weathervanes and concludes with a wild rendering of "Baby Won't Ya" by the legendary MC5. The latter band of course featured guitarist Fred 'Sonic' Smith, who would later form Sonic's Rendezvous Band with Scott.
Although the Hydromatics made a good solid studio album after practising for six days, after six weeks on the road with the Hellacopters and Zen Guerilla they had turned into a lethal rocking monster. What the band was capable of on stage can be heard on the upcoming live release "Fluid Drive", which is to be released in 2004. The six-song mini live album, accidentally recorded off the board in Freiburg, Switzerland, is the real deal, with no overdubs or fancy producer tricks. It's a pure adrenalin rush from the very first second to the last feedback-drenched note of the glorious Sonic's Rendezvous Band anthem "City Slang".
After the tour, Nicke Royale decided to part company with the band, as his career with the Hellacopters no longer allowed for double tasking with other bands, (much less bands of which all members live in three different countries). Needless to say, finding a suitable replacement for Nicke was a hard task to accomplish, but a young talent from Ann Arbor named Andy Frost (right), who had only recently had started playing with Scott in Powertrane, turned out to be a godsend, and capable of just that.
In May 2001, the Hydromatics got together in Amsterdam once again to record their second full length offering in Amsterdam for Italian label Freakshow. Well over one hour long, "Powerglide" features seven Sonic's Rendezvous Band songs, as well as seven new ones. Augmented by horns and female back-up vocals. "Powerglide" is a rare mix of soul and rock energy.
Unfortunately, the demise of the Freakshow label means it's difficult to find, but the Hydromatics plan to put a third studio album down whenever their schedules allow.
Also imminent is a month-long 2003 European tour which will include dates with Wayne Kramer and the legendary Radio Birdman.
The Hydromatics (2004) were:
Scott Morgan - vocals, guitar
Tony "Slug" Leeuwenburgh - guitar
Theo Brouwer - bass
Andy Frost - drums
Live shots by Laurent Van Bouvelen