The MC5 (1964-1972): a Rock band from Detroit, Michigan, USA.
etroit, Michigan, USA act MC5 was formed in 1964 originally known as the Motor Five but the group was sundered the following year when the entire rhythm section left in protest over the new original song, Back To Comm. It was here that Michael Davis (bass) and Dennis Thompson (drums) joined founding members Rob Tyner (Real Name: Robert Derminer; vocals), Wayne Kramer (guitar) and Fred 'Sonic' Smith (guitar) with the intention of pursuing more thoroughly the Back To Comm concept. By 1967 their repertoire featured material taken from R&B, Soul andavant garde Jazz in a set of original songs. Two singles, One Of The Guys/I Can Only Give You Everything (1967) and Borderline/Looking For You (1968) arrived to capture their high-energy sound soon after.
When connected to John Sinclair's management and the former Dj's Trans Love Commune and White Panther Party, the MC5 became Detroit's leading underground act and a deal with the 'Elektra' label resulted in the seminal Kick Out The Jams in 1969, recorded live at the Grande Ballroom showcasing the act's reckless and loud style.
They were then dropped from 'Elektra' over various disagreements but signed to 'Atlantic' to invite the soon-to-be Bruce Springsteen producer and former rock journalist Jon Landau to release their sophomore set, Back To The USA (1970), a set that showcased their abilities in the studio even if it lacked the thrill of the predecessor. The follow-up High Time (1971) re-enforced their desire to experiment with the addition of several local Jazz musicians even if the resulting album was ill-focused where each member but Davis contributed material.
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MC5 would then move to Europe in an attempt to re-kindle dwindling interest but after the departure of Davis, then Tyner in 1972 the act split. The act might have been gone but when the punk movement arrived in the middle of the decade their reputation created new interest. Davis would resurface in Destroy All Monsters, while Sonic Smith married Patti Smith and was subsequently featured on that singer/poet's comeback album Dream Of Life in 1988. Kramer and Tyner, for their parts, toyed with reviving the MC5 name for various unrelated projects but wisely dismissed the idea.
In 1991 Tyner died of a heart attack while seated in his parked car in his hometown of Ferndale, Michigan; Smith would pass away 3 years later. Kramer would launch a solo career that same year enlisting various prominent members of the US underground scene influenced by the MC5.
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