Depending on who you ask, the MC5 were a bunch of breast-beating drug-fuelled lunatics who got the press's attention once with a naughty word and a manager doing time for doobies or... the precursors of punk, heavy metal and hard-edged fusion. Or both. Or neither. Anyone who witnessed the band live speak of it in slavering reverence like they've seen Jehovah's glory. For anyone who was born after the band disappeared, they're history, in more ways than one. You can hear how one or more of their three albums were classics that influenced a lot of mayhem in their wake.
So what does the music has to offer 30 years now after their debut? Listening to any of their regular releases or even some of their later live (legal and not) releases, you hear a band that was LOUD and unapologetic about it. Tightness and perfection weren't the point- it was capturing the drooling, anarchic energy of a bunch of young visionary madmen. Their directness, far-reaching experiments and heart (!) are something you don't take likely when many bands in their wake don't know about any of these things at all.
To commemorate the 5, we've assembled a variety of sources to tell the world about the 5. Band members Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson were roped in to give their side of the story. In addition, manager John Sinclair and biographer Ben Edmonds give their slant on the band. Freddie Brooks, Sonic Smith's charge d'affaires after he left the band, talks of Fred's post-5 career. David Thomas talks about his upcoming film about the group that he's assembling with Laurel Legler. Alan Crandall goes through Wayne Kramer's solo years. Eric Rairigh relives the 'Kick Out the Jams' shows in prose and verse. Ian Fines gives an overview of the band's history and there's a tribute to Rob Tyner from the whole gang. That oughta cover it pretty well, right?
In addition to all the writers and interview victims, special thanks go out to Leni Sinclair, Jeff Economy, Patrick Boissel, Jason Henry, Margaret Saadi, David Koepp, Ken Shimamoto and Matt Lutz. Eternal gratitude goes out to Ben E, Dennis T, Freddie B & David T.
Interrogations by Jason Gross
MC5 * A True Testimonial- the movie
Wayne Kramer solo- Keep the faith baby
Live at the Grande- the Kick Out the Jams shows
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