Garage Punk Pioneer Sean Bonniwell Dead At 71
Sean Bonniwell, leader of the 60's garage band The Music Machine, passed away on Dec. 20 after a battle with lung cancer. The name, Sean Bonniwell, might not be familiar to most, and his band, The Music Machine, might not ring too many more bells. But his stance, image and attitude are undeniable and can be traced to later generations of rock 'n' rollers who he, and his music, inspired.
The Music Machine were best know for their 1966 proto-punk anthem 'Talk Talk' (later covered by Alice Cooper, among others). In just 2 minutes, the tune manages to capture teen angst and anger in all it's glory, creating a blueprint for other aspiring and perspiring teens of the era and inspiring what would become punk rock in the 1970's. Sean's music was dark but inviting and The Music Machine stood alone in their sound and vision.
The band dressed head-to-toe in all black, Prince Valiant haircuts and medallions with a sound just as menacing. But there was more to them than the two-minute crunch of their one and only hit. Songs like 'Eagle Never Hunts The Fly', 'The People In Me' and 'Masculine Intuition' show more depth and innovation than most garage rockers ever got around to.
Their debut LP, 'Turn On The Music Machine' is a solid batch, but their second album, 'The Bonniwell Music Machine', takes things even deeper into the garage! After that first offering, the band never hit the charts again. One final solo album was issued at decade's end.
In 2000, Bonniwell published an autobiography, 'Beyond The Garage', which covered his life and The Music Machine. Meanwhile, the band's bassist Keith Olsen would go on to huge success as a producer, working on albums by Fleetwood Mac, Ozzy Osbourne and the Grateful Dead, among many others.