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"It's tough territory to go to songs like that and try and redo them and better them," says Sonic. "If people do better an original song, it's usually because they started it with their own approach, and said, 'OK, we're going to treat this like it's our song; we're going to do it our way.'"
The Spacemen not only nailed the 13th Floor Elevators, they also nailed fellow underground Texas psychedelic favorites Red Krayola, whose leader Mayo Thompson gushed to Sonic about the Spacemen cover of "Transparent Radiation."
"About three or four years ago, he said he thought we'd done to the song what it should have always had done to it," says Sonic. "We actually regressed it from four chords to three. And he said, 'When I heard how you did it, I realized that's how it was meant to be.'"
Sonic's ties to Texas psychedelia and his role as a primary influence on a generation of drone rockers and noise mavens led him to a starring role in the first Melodica Festival, held at the Argo in Denton in 1996. The banner lineup included Tortoise, the Sea and Cake, Magnog and a plethora of adventurous local outfits such as Mazinga Phaser and Comet, who stood at the forefront of a North Texas space-rock renaissance that won't be soon forgotten. In addition to a set of tonal exploration as E.A.R., Sonic also added an array of improvised electronics to Tortoise's set for the ages in one of the coolest spontaneous collaborations ever seen in these parts.
"That was one of the best things I've ever played at," says Sonic, who has quite a history to draw from. "It was just the most amazing thing. That was one of those special events that people tell their grandchildren about. Even the bands that musically weren't that great were so weird and mad that it was just a great event."
Now, five years later, Sonic Boom gives his fans a rare chance to experience a piece of the legendary Spacemen 3 live show. You can be sure some of the same characters from the first Melodica will be there in the crowd, reveling in the unbroken circle of song that connects the dots between Roky Erickson and Light Bright Highway. It's a sound that loops back over itself until past, present and future meld into one big ball of sound: the sound of confusion.