When in mid-january earlier this year I received an invitation from Francois Hostal for the MC-5 reunion concert at the 100 Club I almost couldn't believe it! Due to my writing about MC-5 for the "MC5 Gateway" site it had become possible. "You can bring five people" Francois told me. "I will bring five and my friend Mauro will bring five as well". It took me five seconds to decide whom to bring! My old bandmate from the early eighties Peter and my friends the four guys from the Swedish band Dollhouse it had to be. The weeks prior to our departure was busy with coordination, booking of hostel, getting cheap airfare tickets, arranging for our party to team up with Francois, Mauro and their friends in London. Getting closer a few days before the trip Francois mailed me: "There will be a filming of the event and the director Dom Phillips wants some MC-5 fans to be in it for an interview!".
I immediately suggested that they asked Dollhouse. It was getting better and better.
Me and Peter would be flying from Copenhagen airport, Dollhouse would arrive from Sweden and we would meet in the Stansted airport outside London 11.30 AM on the 12th. Once we had checked in to our hostel we would go and meet Francois on Oxford Street outside the 100 Club.
When me and Peter had gotten ourselves through customs we found Dollhouse waiting for us in the arrival hall. "Hey Anders!" Chris the band's frontman said "Dom Phillips called". "He will contact us later today about that interview thing". Perfect! Sitting in the airport bus headed for London we started talking about how things were. Everybody was in high spirits needless to say. "So Anders" Yoda Dollhouse's bassplayer said. "We gotta come down to see you in Copenhagen soon, have some beers and smoke a little grass, enjoy spring time in Copenhagen together". We hadn't seen each other for quite some time since Dollhouse had visited me last time in early August 2002. "Yeah we still don't want any regular work, just have fun and play music" we all agreed.

Dollhouse on the plane to London
Arriving in London we got off at the stop at the far end of Oxford Street the closest the bus would stop to our hostel "The Generator" located at Tavistock Place a side street to Tottenham Court Road. Walking the distance inhaling the London air we realized that we would be late for our appointment with Francois. "Well hopefully he will just go back to his hostel if we don't make it on time and we'll catch him there" I said starting to feel a bit unconviniently stressy being the one in charge of the co-ordination and the one leading on on our way to "The Generator".
Checking in there was a note for us the guy at the reception told us. "My assistant Claire will come around tomorrow at 4.00 PM with a camera and a sound man for the interview". "Please call us to confirm" the note from Dom Phillips read. After having left our luggage in our rooms we called up Claire to confirm the appointment after which we hurried already twenty minutes late back to Oxford Street to see if Francois would still be waiting for us outside the 100 Club. Not finding him there we headed for the hostel where he, Mauro and their friends Adrian, Boris and Christian would be staying located vey close to the 100 Club. "Is there a Francois Hostal staying here?" I asked the girl at the reception. Checking she told me that she could not find that name in her card file of lodgers. "A Mauro Bozzi?" I asked and she confirmed that she was expecting a lodger later in the day by that name. "Please look for Francois Hostal again" I said and checking once again: "Yes there he was" she said. "Is he in?" I asked starting to feel a little irritated by the girl's slow and inattentive manner. "No but you can leave a note for him at the message board over there" she said pointing to the notice board on the wall. "We'll go down and wait for ya' outside" Dollhouse and Peter said. Leaning over the reception desk writing a note to Francois asking him to meet us outside the club at 5.00 PM (Our alternate appointment should one of us miss) I suddenly heard Dollhouse and Peter crying at me from downstairs in the hallway. "Anders - Francois is here!" the cry sounded and a few seconds later a person approached on the stairs outside the reception hall. "Hello man!" I said giving him a big hug never having met before not really shure if this WAS Francois. "Oh - you must be Dom Phillips assistant?" Francois said. "No I'm Anders the guy you have mailed with and who has done some writing for the web-site" I said feeling relieved that we had managed. "Mauro and the rest of the guys will come around and meet me later" Francois said. "Also I am expecting Yukiko Akagawa the editor of the MC5 Japan site to join us". Together the seven of us went back down on Oxford Street to find something to eat and grab a beer at some pub. Being unable to find some decent but cheap food we went for the pub first. Inside we made plans for the night. "Mauro and the others will be at the hostel soon and I must go and meet them there" Francois said. "Right!". "Let's all meet in the evening in the bar at "The Generator" we agreed. "They have beers at half price between 6.30 and 8.30 PM!".
Cashing in our "free drink" tickets that we got upon our check-in at the hostel me, Peter and Dollhouse situate ourselves at a table in the rear end of the Generator bar. Half an hour later Francois appears in the company of Mauro, Adrian, Boris and Christian. "Yukiko couldn't make it tonight but she will meet us tomorrow at the 100 Club" Francois says as we shuffle together a couple more tables for all of us to gather around. Haven gotten ourselves a round of beers we sit down and before long everybody is talking. Adrian and Boris are both long time record collectors of garage and psychedelic rock and we start talking about the new Deviants record as well as the records of Blue Öyster Cult and the strong come-back they have made with their new rhythm section. One of us rolls us a joint and makes sure to add in a sufficient amount of tobacco - enough to avoid the smell of hashish from spreading in the room attracting unwanted attention from the other guests as well as the bar crew. A little past midnight we split. Tomorrow we will meet outside the 100 Club at 7.00 PM half an hour before the doors open. Me and Peter go to our room at the fourth floor and leave Dollhouse who want to stay a little longer. Getting to bed we realize how shitty the beds are. Outside in the hallways the cries of drunken teenagers keep me from falling asleep while Peter dozes off to the sound of a CD in his headphones.
Next morning I'm all mashed up from lack of sleep and creep back into the uncomfortable bed after having had breakfast to try and restitute for the evening. But to no avail. Too much noise. Too little comfort and the clock comes close to 4.00 PM and the arrival of Claire and the film crew. Still all mashed up I drag myself down to the reception to receive them and wait for Dollhouse who has gone out to return. Claire and the film crew arrive and shortly after Dollhouse and they decide to conduct the interview in mine and Peter's room upstairs. When they are through about an hour later they come down and meet me in the reception where I have been waiting and together we go out to shoot some outdoor scenes of Dollhouse. Having finished the filming for now we split from the film crew and go back to meet Peter who has been out shopping CDs and get ourselves ready for the evening. After some fast eating in our room and a couple of beers it's time to go. As we come nearer to the 100 Club we can see the queue stretching out on the pavement outside and we take our place in it. I am talking to a girl beside me when Francois who has already arrived finds us. "We'll meet inside" he says before he gets back into the line. Standing waiting for the queue to move slowly forward I once again wonder who'll be on stage tonight with Wayne, Michael and Dennis. From the little information I've had I know that one of the guest stars will be Nicke Andersson of The Hellacopters but who else I'm pondering? Suddenly a hush runs through the crowd as Lemmy walks by with a friend. My presentiment that he would be attending haven't failed. Once inside the hallway leading to the concert room downstairs I am met by Claire and the film crew hand-picking some of us for a short filming asking us how we consider the significance of the MC-5 and about our expectations for tonight's show. Downstairs inside the small concert room the atmosphere is sweaty and crowded and having found Dollhouse and Peter I start to look around for Francois, Mauro, Adrian, Boris and Christian. Having found Francois he asks if I have seen Yukiko who we find shortly after and we join together the twelve of us leaning against the rear wall beers in hands waiting for the support band to come on stage. As they finish off their set we decide in the break before tonight's version of the MC-5 to appear that we move up in front of the stage where we take our place on the left side. On the stage the stage technicians do a final check of the gear and we can spot the exciting looking setlist being taped to the stage floor. Then tonight's version of MC-5 appears!

Appearing on stage other than Wayne, Michael and Dennis are Charles Moore and Buzzy Jones on trumpet and tenor saxophone respectively both of whom participated in the brass section included on the "High Time" album - the brass section for whom Charles did the arrangements. Also appearing is Nicke Andersson on additional guitar. After a short spoken introduction by Wayne Dennis hits into the intro of "Skunk (Sonicly Speaking)" and then the rest of the band joins in. Boy! Is this cool?!!! Me and Dollhouse are in the front row. Peter, Francois, Mauro, Adrian, Boris, Christian and Yukiko somewhere closely behind us. Me and Dollhouse scream along to the music waving at the band. VICTORY!

These guys rock!
As "Skunk (Sonicly Speaking)" reaches its thundering climax and ends Nicke steps up to the microphone for vocal duties on "Gotta Keep Movin" then next up is Michael on the vocals for "Shakin Street". This rocks! Right in front of us on the stage is Dom Phillips filming away his camera assistant over on the right side covering that angle. Behind us at the rear wall up on the mixing board stand Lemmy sits chain smoking laughing with the sound man. Then up on the stage comes a funny looking character looking like a parody between Elvis and Bono and as the band plunges into "Tonight" he starts to sing.
Then the band pounders into a rousing version of "Looking At You" the guy on stage doing the vocals for this as well and the next song "High School" too. Still at loss I suddenly feel someone pulling my sleeve turn and it is Peter saying "Hey it's Dave Vanian man!". "Great!" and I feel a little ashamed for not having recognized the singer of one of my favourite 1977 bands "The Damned". Then Wayne comes to the microphone for one of my all time favourite MC-5 songs "Poison" and I suddenly feel like I've stepped into a dream Wayne looking like a mix between an angel and a demon behind his cooly shaded glasses. Then a bit of proto-type action rock with Nicke doing the vocals for "The American Ruse". The girl that has been sitting on the stage edge right at my feet during most of the concert suddenly gets up and joining the band Wayne introduces her to us as the singer Kate O'Brien.

Charles Moore and Buzzy Jones, the brass section

Kate singing "Let Me Try"
She delivers an unusual and fine version of the ballad "Let Me Try" before modestly taking her place at the stage edge again. Then da dada daa dada da da daa it blasts from the twin attack of Wayne and Nicke and we find ourselves screaming and hollering along to "Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)" the swansong if any of The Mighty Five.
Lemmy can no longer be spotted at the mixing board and then he appears on stage coming in from the right wearing some flamboyant looking western boots, tight black jeans, a black not less flamboyant looking western shirt, his hair and beard dyed black, his face displaying his characteristic two big beauty spots in his trade-mark raspberry voice exclaiming "If it had not been for the music of the MC-5.......!" and the

Lemmy during "Sister Anne"
band begins their super hard rocking ode to that liberated lady "Sister Anne" with Lemmy providing the vocals as well as the blues harp parts for the middle piece. As the song goes in to the coda piece Wayne, Michael and Nicke together carry it home forming a magnificient chorus. When through Lemmy introduces the next song: "But before the MC-5 there was Chuck Berry.......!" and then delivers the vocals for Berry's tune "Back In The USA". The band then leaves the stage for a short break before returning for an encore my dreamlike state intact. What's next?!

Wayne and Dennis doing "Ramblin' Rose"
Wayne takes the vocals for the first encore "Ramblin' Rose" the little known R&B tune made popular by The Five. Wayne sings it an octave lower than on "Kick Out The Jams" which suits the song finely. Between every fourth or fifth song Dennis has thrown his sticks to the audience. First time to the right, secondly to the middle and when he after "Ramblin' Rose" aims to the left one of us catches one of them and gives it without hesitation to Marcus the Dollhouse drummer but not before having realized seeing the stick's beat-up condition that the middle name "Machine Gun" is NO GIMMICK for sure.
Last guest star on stage is Ian Astbury of "The Cult" and the previously partly reunited "The Doors" fame. With Ian on vocals the band rounds of the night with a blasting version of "Kick Out The Jams" the song that once made The Five famous and the reason for much of the controvesy that would follow them to the end.Then a short break and the band returns for a final encore a spiritual medley of "Black To Comm" paired with the Sun Ra composition "Starship" with

Wayne and Nicke kickin' it out

Wayne doing the vocals backed by Kate O'Brien adding some spacey vocal elements to the whole. Then it's over. In about an hour from now the club will be closing for the night the players having disappeared into the backstage room next to the bar counter covering the right side of the

Wayne and Michael during "Ramblin' Rose"
room. But not for long. Lemmy is still in the room and suddenly Michael appears. The Dollhouse guys approach both head-on while me and Peter being the older guys of our traveling party keep ourselves in the background. Lemmy stands talking to Yoda looking kind and cool while Michael surrounded by Marcus, Chris and Johan smiles broadly a soft open awareness radiating from his face.
Dollhouse have brought copies of their 7" and make sure to give both Michael and Lemmy a copy and that additional copies are brought in to the back stage room. Francois, Mauro and their friends seem to have disappeared but I find Yukiko and talk to her shortly each of us promising to stay in e-mail contact for possible future collaborations before she leaves as well. Peter informs me that he'll wait outside to get some fresh air from the smoke filled room where the bar has now been closed.
Then I see Wayne sneaking out of the backstage room his guitar over his shoulder like he was some kind of street musician and rapidly leaving the room avoiding any eye contact. Dennis is nowhere to be seen. Then it is announced: "The 100 Club will be closing in a few minutes. Please pick up your jackets and start leaving the room".

Ian during "Kick Out The Jams"
Once outside me and Dollhouse find Peter has left to go back to "The Generator". We stand outside talking when suddenly Nicke appears. "We've heard that you have bought yourself a summer cottage in our little shitty country-side town" Chris says and Nicke and Dollhouse starts joking in

Buzzy blows while Wayne contemplates during "Black To Comm/Starship"
Swedish everybody smiling while I in my tired state remains quiet unable with my limited Swedish to follow them losing out on the slang. "There's an afterparty at our hotel" Nicke informs and "Do we wanna go?!". I decide to go back to the hostel to catch up with my lack of sleep certain that there will be another chance for meeting the MC-5 guys sometime in the future waiting ahead while Nicke and Dollhouse head in the opposite direction for the afterparty at the hotel.
Alone I walk through the London night the mile back to "The Generator". Underway I am approached by groups of homeless asking me for some small change but I am alone and too paranoid not sure how easy I will be able to find the hostel having borrowed my street map earlier in the day to Dollhouse to stop and reach for any. And also if I'm to have just one meal for the one more day I'm staying I will need every penny I have left. After getting lost in the side streets of Tottenham Court Road I finally find the hostel.
Shocked by the desparation in the eyes and faces of the homeless and their desperate and aggressive manner I am relieved to find Peter still awake and we decide to grab a goodnight beer in the hostel bar for which Peter offers to pay knowing much too well of my chronically non-existent economy. This night the bar has a karaoke arrangement with prizes for the best AND the worst performance and while me and Peter sit enjoying our beers listening to a bunch of drunken teenagers on stage mangling The Beatles' tune "Hey Jude" beyond recognition Dollhouse suddenly return glad to find us still up. "Didn't you go to the party?" I ask and it turns out that Francois, Mauro and some others had been outside the hotel waiting to get in and that Dennis had then appeared saying " Come in everybody" but that the doorman had then replied "Sorry...two persons only" upon which everybody had decided that no-one would go in. Leaving the hotel on their way back Francois and the others had then run into Nicke and Dollhouse coming from the other direction.

All smiles! Michael with Yoda and Chris of Dollhouse
"Damned!" I think to myself. Had I gone there I would have said: "You and me Francois. We go in" but knowing much to well that in my mashed up state I probably would not have been able to be much company for anybody.
Next morning after breakfast it's time for Dollhouse and Peter to leave for the airport while I will stay around for one more day later to meet up with Francois, Mauro and Christian the four of us together heading for the record shop "Stand Out" located in the Portobello Road area. There we are to meet the owner Bill Allerton who has promised Francois

Johan, Marcus and Chris can't believe it while Lemmy proudly displays his copy of the Dollhouse 7"
access to his comprehensive archive of music magazine articles. After having arranged with Bill to meet him at the shop's closing time an hour later we locate in a beautifully decorated pub just around the corner Francois kindly offering to buy me a beer even while already having covered for my part of the cab fare from Russel Square to Portobello Road. When we meet with Bill they decide to go to a restaurant to have dinner while I with my last five pounds in my pocket enough to provide me with the cheap but not very good quality food
offered each evening at "The Generator" decide to go back there to get some writing on the concert done catching bus line no. 7 which takes me back to the Russell Square tube station close to the hostel. After yet another terrible night in the cheaper six bed room I have booked for the last night I pack up my things. As I walk back down Oxford Street I make sure to get rid of my last money - less than a pound - to the first homeless person who asks and then catch the airport bus for Stansted.
Back home I am chocked to discover the infantile level of the debate going on at "The Wayne Kramer Messageboard" concerning the so-called "co-operation" with Levi-Strauss who has been partly responsible for arranging the event and come to think of the joke I'd made with Francois when he had mailed me about the filmproject that I would "love to be filmed stepping out of the plane cursing and swearing claiming to be: THE LAST MC-5 FAN ON THIS GOD DAMN EARTH!".

Anders Röder, Copenhagen 2003/04/08

©2003 by Anders Röder

Photos ©2003 by Marcus Sjöberg




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