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SONNY VINCENT BIOGRAPHY PDF Print E-mail

Vocalist, Guitarist, Songwriter

 

1975-1976


Sonny Vincent forms the group TESTORS.



They play ‘Max’s Kansas City’ and C.B.G.B. as a three piece.

Two guitars and drums, no bass.

Sonny Vincent - Vocals and Guitar

Gene Sinigalliano - Guitar

Gregory R - (Gregory Lapina) - Drums



LISTEN TO MUSIC SAMPLES OF TESTORS & SONNY VINCENT

1977


Testors performs shows in N.Y.C. at CBGB's and Max's Kansas City with ‘Mink DeVille, ‘Teenage Jesus & The Jerks’,’ The Cramps’, ‘Dead Boy’s and others. Later in the year they begin headlining. This year Sonny spends some time in jail. A special ‘reform school’ for underage criminals. Labelled by the court as a 'PINS case' (person in need of supervision), his infractions include trespassing, destruction of city property and drug possession.

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TESTORS tours the East Coast of the U.S.

 

1978


TESTORS – Gregory leaves. The drummer gets in some violent situations and leaves town. Testors bring Jeff Couganhaur (West) from Cleveland in on drums and add a bass player to the band. The bass player's name is Ron Pieniak, a surrealistic painter/artist, a good friend of Sonny and Gene. Ron (Rex Pharaoh) lived with Gene in the Testors loft. Ron's stint with Testors although short-lived was the first version of Testors with a bass. Ron also designed many of the flyers used to promote their shows in New York City. After a few months of playing shows with Testors Ron gets seriously stabbed in the subway wearing his original ‘Kill Me’ T-Shirt. The design for his shirt came directly from his surrealistic painting of the same name. Following the stabbing incident Ron moves back to Florida.

 

1979


TESTORS Play more shows and add a new bass player Kenneth Brighton. Sonny begins writing songs with more than two parts and somewhat of a melody. They go on a major groundbreaking tour across the U.S.A with the Dead Boys. Soundmen run for the hills and hotel managers check their insurance policies. A very insane tour!

1980


TESTORS releases a single titled ‘Time is Mine/Together’ on Bleeker Bob's "Drive-In" label.
TESTORS play shows with the Cramps, Iggy Pop, Steel Tips, Suicide etc.

disctestors

Sonny confined for observation.

Following a series of intense episodes that include a fist fight with Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group) live on New York radio (broadcast on W.P.L.J. from the new C.B.G.B. theater), setting a fire onstage of C.B.G.B’s that gets out of control (sprinklers turn on and club, audience, bands and equipment are soaked). Sonny is taken to Wingdale mental hospital upstate in New York for observation and therapy. After three months he is released and begins filmmaking. Along with filmmaking he is active as a multi media installation artist in New York City.

Testors breaks up.

Sonny leaves New York City and moves to Minneapolis.

He forms SONNY VINCENT AND THE EXTREME with Mike Phillips, Jeff Rogers and Mort Baumann. They tour the U.S. and issue a self-release single ‘SVE’ on an Eva-Tone flexi disk (inspired by the records in the National Geographic magazine). This group, as most of Sonny's later groups, had a revolving line up. Other notable members are Chris Osgood (Suicide Commandos) and Luigi [aka Louis] (Luigi played with Johnny Thunders on the ROIR tape, toured with Johnny, and also toured with Bo Diddley.)

 

1981


In Minnesota he is arrested again for reckless driving, driving without a valid license, drug possession, assaulting police officers and resisting arrest. Jail time.

 

1982


Recording with ‘Sonny Vincent and the Extreme’ and is involved in a performance art project that gets him banned from the grounds of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Receives a national ‘developing artist’ grant to finance his filmmaking projects. Buys a Ford van with the grant money and tours the U.S. with his band.

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1983


Sonny Vincent's film ‘Mannequin World’ is shown in Minneapolis on the TV show ‘Moondance’, in N.Y.C at ‘The Kitchen’ and at various museums and art institutions around the U.S.

 

1984-85


Sonny creates and builds a major visual arts installation in St. Paul, MN. Involving film, sound, light and sculptural elements, manipulating sensory perception. Collaborating with artists Susan Lucey (Professor of Art, University of Minnesota) and Professor Stan Shetka. During this time Sonny also is busy creating sound tracks for filmmakers and Theater productions

 

1986


Release of Sonny Vincent’s solo single ‘Lesson in Life’. This song charts in U.S. Indie stations and college radio charts. No.1 in Milwaukee, No. 8 in Minneapolis, etc.

 

1987


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MODEL PRISONER

Sonny Vincent and Bob Stinson (former Replacements) form a group they call MODEL PRISONER. They mostly play in Minneapolis and do a couple of U.S. tours. The other members were: Mike Henderson, Eric Magistad, and Jeff Rogers.
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1988


MODEL PRISONER records an album at Twin Tone Studios.
The band then consists of Sonny, Bob, Jim Michels and Mike Henderson.The second line up is with Jeff Rogers and Eric Magistad.
After the group is denied access across the border to Canada, they have to cancel a Canadian tour and drive back to Minnesota. Although there was a definite musical influence from Bob Stinson in this line up, there was also the ever-present ‘drinking’ influence. On their arrival back in Mpls the band gets drunk and decides they must go to therapy sessions as a group to try and resolve some of the problems stemming from all the drinking! Bob and Sonny's negligence in attending the first therapy session prompts the others to leave the session and quit the band. Bob and Sonny get drunk again and Sonny gets arrested for (allegedly) assaulting Police Officers. But before bringing him to jail the police have to take him to the emergency room because they beat him so badly he was nearly dead (this was 3 nights before the Rodney King thing happened in L.A.)

 

1989


Sonny forms SHOTGUN RATIONALE with Mort Baumann and Mike Henderson they record a debut-album called ‘Who Do They Think They Are?’ in Atlanta Georgia with Moe Tucker (Velvet Underground) as producer.
Sonny tours Europe with MOE TUCKER & HALF JAPANESE as their guitarist. (Half Japanese line up: Jad Fair, Hank Beckmeyer, John Sluggett and Joe Martinelli).
SHOTGUN RATIONALE Midwest tour. Sonny plays guitar on a U.S. tour with MOE TUCKER & HALF JAPANESE. SHOTGUN RATIONALE plays various shows and tours the U.S. and Canada with various line ups. One in particular had Bob Stinson and Cheetah Chrome both on guitar

 

1990


whocoverSonny tours Europe with MOE TUCKER. SHOTGUN RATIONALE releases the album ‘Who Do They Think They Are?’ thanks to John Loder at Southern Studios. (Line up: Sonny, Mort Baumann, Mike Henderson and guest guitarist Cheetah Chrome.)

 

 

 

 

 

1991


moespentSHOTGUN RATIONALE tours U.S. and Canada. Line up: Sonny Vincent - vocals, guitar, Gary Taylor - drums (Tank), Greg Norton - bass (Hüsker-Dü), Paul Smith – guitar (Gutter Sluts).

Sonny records on an album with MOE TUCKER in N.Y.C. called ‘I Spent A Week There The Other Night’ with Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Victor DeLorenzo, Brian Ritchie, Don Fleming, John Sluggett and Daniel Hutchins. Tours Europe with MOE TUCKER (Mike Lehecka on bass). SHOTGUN RATIONALE releases EP on Dog Meat Records, Australia. SHOTGUN RATIONALE records new album ‘Beyond Rebellion’.

 

1992


Shotgun Rationale : Beyond Rebellion Shotgun Rationale : Beyond Rebellion
SHOTGUN RATIONALE releases album Beyond Rebellion in Europe. (Line up: Jamie Garner, Gary Taylor, and Jim Michels).
Successful touring in Germany with SR and also a European tour with MOE TUCKER & STERLING MORRISON. SHOTGUN RATIONALE- TV and Radio features. SONNY VINCENT - solo album called "Recordings 1979-91". Comprised of various recordings made across the years, most tracks are exclusive ,Released on Vince Lombardy High School Records (Hamburg, Germany).
SHOTGUN RATIONALE tours Europe two times.
Line up one: Sonny, Gary Taylor, Chris Romanelli (ex Plasmatics), Jamie Garner (ex Leatherwoods)
Line up two: Sonny, Gary Taylor, Paul Smith, Bob Stinson.

 

1993


SHOTGUN RATIONALE releases album ‘Roller Coaster’ with many guests: Cheetah Chrome (ex Dead Boys), Don Fleming (Gumball), Sterling Morrison and Moe Tucker (VU), Scott Asheton (Stooges), Richard Hell (Voidoids), Chris Romanelli (Plasmatics) and more.
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In 1993 Sonny Vincent also has a band for a while in Holland called THE DONS with two Dutch musicians (Egbert Hotz and Jeerc Cannepooper). THE DONS begin recording an album.

 

1994


SHOTGUN RATIONALE tours Europe. Sonny plays guitar on MOE TUCKER's new album release ‘Dogs Under Stress’ in Georgia. THE DONS tour in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Recordings for SHOTGUN RATIONALE'S new album ‘Cocked’. Sonny tours in the U.S. with MOE TUCKER BAND (Sterling Morrison, Victor de Lorenzo etc.)



1995


Sonny Tours with The Dons, Moe Tucker and Shotgun Rationale

Along with Eppie Hotz on Drums and Jeerc Cannepooper on Bass the ‘Dons’ debut their-album ‘Naked’ and tour Europa.

Subway Records releases the ‘SONNY VINCENT'S SHOTGUN RATIONALE’ album ‘Cocked’. SHOTGUN RATIONALE tour Europe including Scandinavia and Spain. Line up: Sonny, Gary Taylor, Tony Leeuwenburgh (ex Loveslug, BGK) and Spencer P. Jones (Beasts Of Bourbon). ‘Incognito Records’ releases previously unreleased TESTORS recordings ‘Original Punk Rock Recordings New York City 1976-1977 - The Testors’. Sonny tours the West Coast and Europe with MOE TUCKER. THE DONS continue to tour Europe. THE DONS release a single (unique in its non-usage of any special effects in the studio, such as compressors, limiters, gates, delays, etc.); released by Vince Lombardy High School Records, Hamburg, Germany.

 

1996


A special line up forms called ‘SONNY VINCENT AND THE GUEVARAS’. The line up of this group consists of comrades from various former line-ups. They do a tour across Europe. More recording with THE DONS.

 

1997


Sonny releases a solo album called ‘Good Dogs Die Young’ (on Noiseworks Records/Germany), featuring tracks recorded with THE DONS and an exclusive release of songs Sonny originally recorded late 70's to early 80's.

Later this year Sonny puts together a project album that he and the members in the line up had talked about for three years. The line up is: Scott Asheton (Stooges), Captain Sensible (The Damned) and Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys). They record in Nashville, Tennessee; the band is called SONNY VINCENT AND HIS RAT RACE CHOIR. The album is called ‘Pure Filth’ and it is released on a small label in Switzerland ‘Overdose Records’. Sonny tours across Europe with Scott Asheton on drums and Steve Baise on bass (Devil Dogs). A single is released on ‘Flight 13 Records’, which includes two songs from the ‘Pure Filth’ album and three songs previously recorded as MODEL PRISONER with Sonny Vincent and Bob Stinson. A new album is recorded in Detroit December 1997. It is produced by Ron Asheton (Stooges). The line up:

Sonny Vincent - vocals and guitar

Scott Asheton - drums

Captain Sensible - bass and guitar

Ron Asheton - guitar (on ‘French Music’)

 

1998


Sonny records in Berlin with two German musicians, Jimmy Warwas and ‘Blacky’.

Guitar parts and backing vocals by Wayne Kramer are added in L.A. The material is released on Incognito Records, Germany and other European labels. French record company Nest Of Vipers puts out HARD IN DETROIT. Empty Records in Germany release the 'Parallax in Wonderland' album. In summer Sonny Vincent auditions more than 200 musicians in Los Angeles for a European tour that takes place in the fall. The L.A. musicians are Bobby Breton and Mikey D.

 

1999


Sonny Vincent solo Tour of Europe with Stephan G. (Johnny Rio) on Bass and Bernward .K. (The Bishop) on Drums. They play Italy, France, Austria and Germany. Among the new material recorded by the trio is a cover version of the Stooges ‘Search and Destroy” for a split single on Nest Of Vipers Records in France. More TESTORS recordings thought to be lost are found and prepared for a release.

 

2000


Touring France and Spain. "Parallax In Wonderland" is released in Spain and the U.S. ‘Rave Up’ Records releases Testors Material. Recordings in Germany for a new album "Hell's Kitchen", several new 7" releases on various labels. Sonny also works as a producer for various bands.

 

2001


This year a three month European Tour Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Belgium with Spain's Safety Pins as backing band. And the German Line up. ‘Hell's Kitchen’ is released by Munster Records, Spain.

2002


Recordings made in Detroit with Scott Asheton and Captain Sensible are being mixed.

 

2003


Release of the Album ‘The Good,The Bad and The Ugly’ simultaneously on Empty Records, Germany, Munster Records, Spain and Acetate Records in the US.

 

2003


Swami Records releases ‘Testors Complete’

A Double CD and Double Vinyl edition of the complete TESTORS comes out on Swami Records.

 

2003


Sonny tours the U.S. with Rocket from the Crypt. The RFTC guys are Sonny's backing band on his set and then play their own show. Also on the bill: The Spits from Seattle.

 

2003


Touring Europe with Ivan and Bobby Steele

After the U.S. tour with RFTC there's a successful and wild European tour. Members of the Euro tour include Ivan Julian from Richard Hell & the Voidoids and Bobby Steele from the Misfits. Notable events: The van gets broke into in Dublin and 8 videotapes from live shows amongst other things are gone forever.

Uzi the drummer goes to the embassy to get his passport renewed and makes the mistake of putting a bag of garbage into a box that is actually for newspapers. The police were called and the bomb squad were called in, the entire building was emptied out until they found out it was Uzi's innocent little garbage bag.

Sonny gets arrested for smashing a decibel meter. The decibel meter is a handheld device to measure how loud the music is. Sonny took and smashed it. After being arrested he said: "Of course I smashed it, that's an anti-rocknroll device... I'm supposed to smash those, right?"

 

2004 –2008


Albums, Touring, Filmmaking

Some notes for events between 2004-2008

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Various tours and shows

U.S./ Canada tour with-

Tony Fate on Guitar (Bellrays)

Roy Morgan on Drums (Lazy Cowgirls)

Billy The Kid on Bass

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Serbian Tour with-

Johnny Rio on Guitar

Bishop on Drums

Simon ‘Baby Face Nelson’ on Bass

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Scandinavian Tour with

Johnny Rio on Guitar

Bobby Breton on Drums

Billy The Kid on Bass

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Albums recorded and released:

‘Soul Mates’ Disturbed Records (Germany)

‘P.I.N.S’ NDN Records (U.S.A.)

‘Switchblade Summer’ Nest Of Vipers Records (France)

‘Testors Live’ Incognito Records/Rekord Records (Germany)

‘Semper Fidelis’ Anthology Rockin’ Bones (Italy)

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P.S. Only one ‘arrest’ during this time period! In 2007 Sonny is caught by the French Police buying a bit of Hash near the train station. They arrest him and jail him for 24 hours. After spending the night sleeping on the floor Sonny leaves the jail but first stops at the front desk and asks if any of the police ever heard of a guy named Jimi Hendrix “I suppose you would have liked to jail him for life!”

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LISTEN TO MUSIC SAMPLES OF TESTORS & SONNY VINCENT

2008

The Journey Continues

Sonny is contacted by three Italian musicians about playing some shows. He goes to Italy to meet them and play some of his songs. Shows are booked for Italy.

************************************************************************************************************************ Upcoming releases:

‘Sonny Vincent And The Dudes’

Recorded in San Diego with RFTC

‘Sonny Vincent And Bob Stinson’

Recorded In Minneapoils Minnesota at Twin Tone

NEW RELEASE

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2011