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About MC5

Not all counterculture in the ’60s and early ’70s espoused peace and love. For Detroit’s MC5, rock was high-octane testimony for revolution in the streets. By 1965 the Motor City Five—consisting of singer Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson—were an R&B-informed garage act swiftly evolving into the free-jazz-inspired proto-punks responsible for 1969’s Kick Out the Jams. Capturing the MC5’s incendiary performances, including the iconic title track, the album reflected their solidarity with activist John Sinclair and the White Panthers, an anti-racist collective inspired by the Black Panthers. Pivoting away from militant politics after Sinclair’s 1969 conviction for marijuana possession, the MC5 released two more records: 1970’s Back In the USA, a harbinger of late-’70s punk, and 1971’s High Time, a formative influence on hard rock and metal. After the band folded in 1972, the deaths of Tyner and Smith in the ’90s prevented the original quintet from kicking out the jams one more time. Kramer, however, has carried their torch by touring the MC5 as an all-star collective that has featured the likes of Kim Thayil, Gilby Clarke, and Ian Astbury.

Lincoln Park, MI, United States
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