Friday Night Music Byte
The MC5 is an American rock band first formed in Lincoln Park, Michigan. They are most noted as forerunners of punk rock. The band was originally active from 1964 until 1972. The line-up consisted of vocalist Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson.
“Crystallizing the counterculture movement at its most volatile and threatening”, according to Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, the MC5’s far left political ties and anti-establishment lyrics and music positioned them as emerging innovators of the punk movement. Their loud, energetic style of back-to-basics rock ‘n’ roll included elements of garage rock, hard rock, blues-rock, and psychedelic rock.
The MC5 had a promising beginning which earned them a cover appearance on Rolling Stone magazine in 1969 even before their debut album was released. They developed a reputation for energetic and polemical live performances, one of which was recorded as their 1968 debut album Kick Out The Jams. Their initial run was ultimately short-lived, though within just a few years of their dissolution in 1972, the MC5 were often cited as one of the most important American hard rock groups of their era. Their three albums are regarded by many as classics, and their song “Kick Out the Jams” is widely covered.
Tyner died of a heart attack in late 1991, aged 46. Smith also died of a heart attack, in 1994, at the age of 45. Nine years later, Kramer, Davis and Thompson decided to reform the MC5, and this reformed line-up currently performs live.
Please enjoy this video clip of MC5 performing the first ever punk song, “Kick Out The Jams“.