Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: MC5 - Kick Out The Jams (POWERFUL ROCK'N'ROLL US 1969)

9 May 2009

MC5 - Kick Out The Jams (POWERFUL ROCK'N'ROLL US 1969)


MC5,Kick_Out_The_Jams,psychedelic-rocknroll,back_in_usa,wayne_kramer,fred_smith,sinclair,detroit,elektra,front"MC5 - KICK OUT THE JAMS" (POWERFUL ROCK'N'ROLL USA 1969)

Out of successful live recordings came "The MC5"'s legendary LP "Kick Out The Jams", yet it was in 1964 that the seeds of the band which would come to symbolize the anger of the Revolution were planted.
Conceived in Lincoln Park, Michigan, "The MC5" ("Wayne Kramer" lead guitar, "Fred 'Sonic' Smith" lead guitar, "Michael Davis" bass guitar, "Rob Tyner" vocals and "Dennis Thompson" drums) were originally a straight Rock and Roll band with matching uniforms.
The first signs of energy came when the original drummer "Bob Gaspar" and bassist "Pat Burrows" quit because the rest of the group was moving towards 'cranking our amps to ten and using feedback and distortion'.
This new use of noise was eventually noticed, and by 1966, "The MC5" were a regular slot at "Uncle Russ" Gibb's newly-opened "Grande Ballroom", which would rapidly become the epicenter for the exploding Michigan music scene.
In October 1966, "The MC5" caught the attention of local hippie king "John Sinclair", who by early 1967 came to manage them.
Under "John Sinclair"'s influence, "The MC5" took on his "White Panther Party" ideals of drugs, sex, and rock and roll.

MC5,Kick_Out_The_Jams,psychedelic-rocknroll,back_in_usa,wayne_kramer,fred_smith,sinclair,detroit,elektra,PROMOAlso, the band's range of musical influences began to broaden, including such Jazz greats as "Pharaoh Sanders" and "John Coltrane".
These influences led to "The MC5" becoming more wild, creative, and improvisational, and in the end more widely recognized as the new hot act in the Motor City.

MC5,Kick_Out_The_Jams,psychedelic-rocknroll,back_in_usa,wayne_kramer,fred_smith,sinclair,detroit,elektra,gatefold
Before long, "The MC5" were outdoing the national headlining acts they were opening for at venues around Detroit.
More and more, kids wanted to hear and see the band known as "The MC5", and their popularity skyrocketed.
But, already "The MC5" was known for it's bad-boy image, and were continuously involved with the police.
MC5,Kick_Out_The_Jams,psychedelic-rocknroll,back_in_usa,wayne_kramer,fred_smith,sinclair,detroit,elektra,thompson,liveMC5 - Photo: unknown

But, ironically enough, the fear of getting into trouble overtook them in July 1967, when the Detroit riots took place.
Fearing for their own personal safety, and generally fed up with daily raids by the Detroit cops on their apartment, "The MC5" moved to Ann Arbor.
Being a college town, forty miles away from the flames and mayhem of the riots, Ann Arbor was relatively peaceful compared to Detroit.


Residing in a mansion on Hill Street, University of Michigan's fraternity row, "The MC5" along with "John Sinclair", their wives, and roadies, could now better concentrate on their musical aims and revolutionary agenda.

MC5,Kick_Out_The_Jams,psychedelic-rocknroll,back_in_usa,wayne_kramer,fred_smith,sinclair,detroit,elektra,thompson,live,gibson_firebirdLate 1967 Mid-1968
MC5 at Grande Ballroom, photo: Leni Sinclair (Wayne Kramer with "Gibson Firebird non-reverse"


By this time, "The MC5" had caught the attention of "Elektra Records"' A&R ace, Danny Fields, who signed them on September 22, 1968, following a typically riotous show in Ann Arbor's "Fifth Dimension" club.
Success did seem near at that point, but for some reason "The MC5" couldn't hold onto the moment for a very long time.

MC5,Kick_Out_The_Jams,psychedelic-rocknroll,back_in_usa,wayne_kramer,fred_smith,sinclair,detroit,elektra,promotionWith the recording contract came "The MC5"'s first album, "Kick Out The Jams", a live recording from "Grande Ballroom" on October 30-31, 1968.

Even though "The MC5" had a hit single in the "Kick Out The Jams"'s title track, controversy still surrounded the band.
As Billboard stated, "The album, "Kick Out The Jams", used a slightly different lyric for its title song than the group's hit single of the same name".
Simply put, record stores refused to deal with the uncensored album, with it's opening command, "Kick Out The Jam's, Motherfuckers!".
When the band ran a series of ads in The Ann Arbor Argus, proclaiming "FUCK HUDSON'S", "Elektra Records" dropped the band on account that "The MC5" were too political and confrontational.

MC5,Kick_Out_The_Jams,psychedelic-rocknroll,back_in_usa,wayne_kramer,fred_smith,sinclair,detroit,elektra,fuck_hudsonThe ads were taken out because Hudson's refused to deal with "The MC5"'s "Kick Out The Jams".
With the break in the contract, "The MC5"'s "Kick Out The Jams" faded off the charts.
All "Wayne Kramer" could say was, "They didn't even know what we meant when we demanded to have that 'motherfucker' on the album".
That demand might have left "The MC5" in the dust for good.
Although "The MC5" were still popular in Michigan, what had translated on a regional Midwestern level wasn't clicking nationally.
As the "Rolling Stone Magazine" put it, "All has not gone smashingly for The MC5 on their current national tour".
On the West Coast, "The MC5" weren't being accepted in the least bit, and they ended up playing for free at the Straight Theater in the heart of "Haight-Ashbury" (which also happened to be the heart of the Revolution) for less than 200 people.
This showed that still, through all the hard work and controversy, the band was not received as they thought they would be a few months before.

MC5,Kick_Out_The_Jams,psychedelic-rocknroll,back_in_usa,wayne_kramer,fred_smith,sinclair,detroit,elektra,kramer,true_testimonialMC5 with "White Panthers" pins

Still, with "The MC5"'s popularity waning, the cops followed.
Among many incidents, the band was busted while driving across the Bay Bridge to Oakland, along with Sinclair going to Detroit jail for his participation in a clash with police.
On a pitiful note, bassist "Michael Davis" was busted by Ann Arbor police on a larceny rap for sealing sunglasses from a drugstore.
As a common response, it was said that "The MC5 deny everything and promise that Campus Korner Drugstore 'will surely face the wrath of the people through lawsuits for The MC5".

MC5,Kick_Out_The_Jams,psychedelic-rocknroll,back_in_usa,wayne_kramer,fred_smith,sinclair,detroit,elektra,kramer,France_vogue_80175MC5: "Kick Out The Jams" / "Motor City Is Burning", Elektra Vogue INT 80175, France 1969

Although Sinclair managed to get out of his first offense for assaulting a police officer, he "found himself drawing an incredible nine-and-a-half to ten-year prison term in late July, 1969, for the heinous crime of possessing two marijuana joints".

See also "MC5 - Back In The USA" (Vital Rock'n'Roll US 1970)

3 Comments :

Anonymous said...

THE 5 WERE TRIBAL IN NATURE ,WARPED IN TIME,PURE OF HEART,RENEGADES AND HOODLUMS IN THE GREATEST SENSE AND THE MOST ENRGETIC,MAGNETIC AND HYPNOTIC BAND OF THAT TIME AND THIS TIME.THERE SHORT REIGN STILL RESONATES AND MESMORIZES THE VERY ESSENCE OF OUR SOULS ANDTHEIR LEGACY OF LOUD, POWERFUL,RAW SOUNDS STILL STIR THE SPIRIT

Terri ( Meterr) said...

My mom used to party with these guys at the Depot House in Ann Arbor!

DSB said...

Sonic Smith was survived by his wife Patti Smith, whose grief burned so hot it lit her soul on poetic fire and produced the great album HORSES.