Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Frederick Dewey Smith (September 14, 1949 â€" November 4, 1994), known as Fred "Sonic" Smith, was an American guitarist, best known as a member of the band MC5.


Smith was a guitarist with MC5 and later went on to form Sonic's Rendezvous Band, which released one single, "City Slang", during Smith's lifetime.

Personal life

Smith was born in West Virginia.

He and his band opened a show for singer and poet Patti Smith. Patti Smith's guitarist, Lenny Kaye, introduced Fred and Patti before the show. The two were married in 1980. He and Smith collaborated on her 1988 album Dream of Life.

The Smiths had a son, Jackson (born 1982) and a daughter, Jesse (born 1987), who is a pianist and has performed on stage with her mother. Jackson was married to Meg White (formerly of indie band The White Stripes).

A resident of St. Clair Shores, Michigan (a Detroit suburb), Fred Smith died in Detroit in 1994. The apparent cause was heart failure.


In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Smith #93 in its list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

He served as inspiration for Patti Smith who wrote to him, among other tributes, a song "Frederick". Smith's 1996 album Gone Again features a tribute to her late husband.

The band Sonic Youth took its name from Smith's nickname.

Musical equipment

  • Rickenbacker 450 with Gibson PAF pickups
  • Epiphone Crestwood
  • Mosrite Guitars
  • Gretsch Country Gentleman
  • Marshall Amplifer
  • Fender Super Reverb

See also

  • List of guitarists


External links

  • Fred "Sonic" Smith at AllMusic
  • Fred "Sonic" Smith at the Internet Movie Database
  • Fred "Sonic" Smith at Find a Grave

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