|The Witch performed by The Sonics ()|
"The Witch" was the Sonics' debut single, released on Etiquette, the Tacoma, WA-based label owned and operated by local hero Buck Ormsby, member of garage rock pioneers the Wailers, who are known for unearthing the obscure R&B song "Louie, Louie." Reworking the tunes of Little Richard and Bo Diddley, the Sonics worked the local teen-hop circuit as a rock & roll cover band until eventually coming up with some original material with "The Witch" and what would become the flip side to the single, "Psycho." After revamping the lineup, taking on various members of the Searchers, Gerry Roslie commandeered the vocal duties with a bracing blues shouter style that would become the group's trademark. "The Witch," roughly recorded in mono, is a brooding rocker based around a revved-up blues progression with quivering guitar and a basic sax line holding down a simple riff, drums kicking away in the background. Roslie belts his cautionary tale, sagely advising all to steer clear of "evil chicks," with vocal-chord-shredding wails: "So you know the little girl/Who's new in town/Well you better watch out now/Or she'll put you down/'Cause she's an evil chick/Say, she's the witch, oww!" The band barrels on, lacking any semblance of finesse, stomping into a tempo shift and doubling the speed as Roslie howls, "Well she walks around/Late at night/Most other people sleepin' tight/If you hear her knockin' on your door/You better say get away/Wha whoo!" Guitarist Andy Parypa lets loose a note-stumbling guitar solo in a style similar to Dave Davies of the the Kinks. "The Witch" would become a regional hit, receiving extensive airplay on the powerful Seattle AM station KJR, but the Sonics would never break nationally, most of the country not yet ready for the extremely aggressive attach of the group's rough-and-tumble music.