presents :

MC5 by Richard Goldstein

THE MC5 IS A WHOLE THING by John Sinclair


©1970 by the New American Library



In sharp contrast with traditional rock concerts, where the performer was easily distinguishable from his audience, the MC 5 resemble their fans. The separation between an audience and its heroes on stage is disappearing.

The MC 5 and its audience participate in a political-rock experience. Along with music, the group offers sermons on the Yippie-Panther alternative. Partisans gather around the stage, their hands raised in the V or clenched fist of revolution.

"Kick Out the Jams, Brothers and Sisters," meaning "throw off all restraint." This marks the MC 5 as a group to be banned. If their reputation spreads anyway - as it probably will - they could restore to rock its lost mantle of disrespectability

If the MC 5 does succeed it will be because its references to liberation and upheaval are a natural part of the rock experience. In contemporary society, any man who declares himself a sexual being is already in revolt. Since rock is a celebration of Eros, its message to kids everywhere is loud and clear:

Kick out the jams

Richard Goldstein



KICK OUT THE JAMS Elektra Records/EKS 74042 : recorded live

There is no way to get at the music without taking the whole context of the music too - there is no separation. We say the MC5 is the solution to the problem of separation, because they are so together. The MC5 is totally committed to the revolution, as the revolution is totally committed to driving people out of their separate shells and into each other's arms.

I'm talking about unity, brothers and sisters, because we have to get it together. We are the solution to the problem, if we will be just that. If we can feel it, LeRoi Jones said, 'feeling predicts intelligence." The MC5 will make you feel it, or leave the room. The MC5 will drive you crazy out of your head into your body. The MC5 is rock and roll. Rock and roll is the music of our bodies, or our whole lives - the resensifier, Rob Tyner calls it. We have to come together people, "Build to a gathering," or else. Or else you are dead, and gone.

The MC5 will bring you back to your senses from wherever you have been taken to hide. They are bad. Their whole lives are totally given to this music. They are a whole thing. They are a working model of the new paleocybernetic culture in action. There is no separation. They love together to work together, they eat together, fuck together, get high together, walk down the street and through the world together. There is no separation. Just as their music will bring you together like that, if you hear it. If you will live it. And we will make sure you hear it; because we know you need it as bad as we do. We have to have it.

The music is the source and effect of our spirit flesh. The MC5 is the source and effect of the music, just as you are. Just as I am. Just to hear the music and have it be our selves, is what we want. What we need. We are a lonely desperate people, pulled apart be the killer forces of capitalism and competition, and we need the music to hold us together. Separation is doom. We are free men, and we demand a free music, a free high energy source that will drive us wild into the streets of America yelling and screaming and tearing down everything that would keep people slaves.

The MC5 is that force. The MC5 is the revolution, in all its applications. There is no separation. Everything is everything. There is no thing to fear. The music will make you strong, as it is strong, and there is no way it can be stopped now. All power to the people! The MC5 is here now for you to hear and see and feel now! Give it up - come together - get down, brothers and sisters, it's time to testify, and what you have here in your hands is a living testimonial to the absolute power and strength of these men. Go wild! The word is yours! Take it now, and be one with it! Kick out the jams, motherfucker!

And stay alive

with the MC5!

John Sinclair



Dean Alpheous Latimer was born in Canton, New York, in 1945, into a household already comprised of nine brothers and sisters, six cows, three pigs, numerous chickens, wood stoves - no running water. During his year and a half at the New York State College at Potsdam, he worked as a reporter for the St Lawrence Plaindealer and the Potsdam Courier-Freeman. After college he went to New York City, where he wrote for the East Village Other, then to California, where he won the Creative Writing Fellowship at Stanford University. While in California, Latimer worked for the Black Panthers and taught a course at the Midpeninsula Free University. Upon returning to New York in 1968, he began writing Decomposition, his weekly column for EVO.

Well, if you wanna talk about violence,
You know you can count me out.
Don't you know, everything's gonna be all right?
Everything's gonna be all right . . .

from Revolution by J.Lennon

After he'd made his first million dollars - it must have been in late '63 - John Lennon by that fact counted himself out. A couple grass busts, some naked posters, and an intercontinental bedside chat with the media shouldn't make us lose sight of his bank balance. Money does dirty things to your head, you commence to prattling on about violence, how it begets nothing but more violence, and how estrangement from the System is the only means of fighting it, and of course the happy ineffable tendency of all things to Turn Out All Right In The End.

This is rich men's bullshit. Violence begets change, a wasted pig is a force for social evolution. Estrangement from the System merely allows the System to do its thing, part of which necessarily involves fixing the wagons of them as act E-stranged. And a cursory study of the ineffable tendency of all things as they tend right now is sufficient to prompt some grave reservations about their happy disposition In The End: dig it, it may be your End that gets the final shaft.

As prophets of the coming era, then, the Lennon Brothers have to be taken with a grain of salt. Certainly, in a tactical sense, when it comes to fostering helpful Revolutionary attitudes and ideas, the Beatles aren't the most forceful of propagandists. It cannot be said of them that they spur you forward to joust against the pigs with the same fervour and determination with which the Redskins fly against the Vikings after one of Vince Lombardi's half-time pep talks. 'Don't you know everything's gonna be all right?' Sure, and when the middle linebacker steps on your quarterback's spleen, that's cool baby, don't get hung up on it, we must maintain moderation in all things, rage included.

Brother John Sinclair, now, there's a moderate man for you. . . They sentence him to ten years in jail for two joints of smoke, and by George he doesn't stir a hair, what few remain since the prison barber got to him. Any lesser man would have tried to total his arresting officer right there in the courtroom, but not ole Brother John. No, a few words to the judge and he goes away all sweet and quiet to the maximum security prison at Marquette, Michigan, a place of heavy sandstone bricks and electric barbed wire and guns, where they tattooed his serial number into his forearm with blue laundry ink. We've come a long way since Germany in the thirties, baby: tattoos can be surgically removed now.

For two joints they ripped off Brother John, defaced his body, and cut more years out of his life than nicotine cut out of Edward R. Murrow's. You should weep to think about this, because John Sinclair was to the teenagers of Darkest America the only truly incendiary force that existed for them in the last decade.

DARKEST AMERICA is the vast waste of pork fat and corn husks and motor oil that lies between the Northeastern Megalopolis and the narrow beachfront stretch from Los Angeles north to the Marin Peninsula. For all practical purposes, nothing ever happens in this vastness of mediocrity, except on the day every few years that the bars are closed and the polls are open. Only in the Cities and on the Coast does anything new ever come into being, but for all the effect these places have on the lives of the Darkest Americans, they might as well be amusement parks, or brothels. Nothing grows in Darkest America but the young, and when they reach a certain age in years the growth process is firmly arrested. At seventeen you graduate from high school in Columbus and you go straight into the Service: at twenty you come home, sit around until the boredom kills what's left of you, and then you go get a job. Eventually you get married and watch television while your kids grow up.

Tradition has it that this is the only way to live in Darkest America. What an insane idea! Why, fifty years ago you could shoot bears in your back yard in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A hundred years ago the place was woods so thick even the Indians had trouble getting through it. And these people now have the nerve to tell their kids to jam themselves up tight at the age of seventeen out of deference to tradition?!! What God damned tra-fucking-dition, pray? Grandpa sold his soul to the company store during the Depression, little Elroy is supposed to follow in his footsteps?

"Bull Shit!!" John Sinclair was wont to explode when some professional hippie with hunkie tendencies tried to back-ass out of some Trans-Love Energies project. "I'd like to carry the Sun in my head shop," the guy would plead, "but gee, John, you got all that filthy writing in there - and it's obviously directed straight at the teenage kids - look, John, I gotta license to worry about, and you know what the DA's been saying about smut and crime on campus. . ."

"Bull Shit!!" John would remark, and stomp heavily out into the Detroit streets leaving in his wake a trail of blue expletives. Trans-Love Energies, operating out of Detroit and Ann Arbor, was Brother John's baby. It had grown out of the Writers and Artists' Workshop, which John had formed in 1965, in an effort to organize all the creative people in Motor City to resist the Formaldehyde Tradition in Darkest America. It worked well: with a whole mess of people operating as one, it was nothing to arrange for cooperative living and studio space, necessary equipment and food, and phenomenal amounts of dope (cheap) with which to coax th' bashful muse.

There was one thing no one could have foreseen, however, in the founding of the Workshop, and that was the unnatural quantity of creative folk who answered Sinclair's summons. It was '65, the year something green was unleashed in the American psyche, and Motor City abounded with creative young kids. Swing a cat and you'd knock over four writers, a painter, two cute little jewelry sculptresses, and a couple weird sorts who never actually did anything, but from whom radiated a whole spectrum of profoundly fertile vibrations. Faced with the Traditional fate of a life spent working at GM and following the Lions every autumn, these kids were opting out in frenzied bellbottomed giggling droves. It came then to Sinclair's shrewd and delighted mind that the Formaldehyde System would do better to protect itself from these kids than the other way around. Why, if all these young punks ever went on the offensive - it was clearly the best part of the Baby Boom - it would be a terrifying thing to see, for J.Edgar Hoover and all those other freaked-up old dudes. So Brother John went into
in a big way with Trans-Love Energies. Communications: First he put out the Detroit Sun, one of the very first Underground newspapers to appear in Darkest America. Written mainly by Sinclair himself - eight pages or so out of every issue - the Sun covered developments of interest on the municipal scene, such as drug busts and rumors of drug busts, be-ins, art shows, and a generous amount of radical propaganda. A frequent contributor to the Sun was John's friend Pun Plamondon, who wrote a regular column with the aggressive title "Fucking In The Streets." Kids who grew up watching television and not believing a bit of all that old bullshit - pray, who could take Walter Cronkite seriously? - found in the open, out-front sincerity of the Sun a lot which reflected their own experience of Darkest America.

Activism: After reading the Sun you couldn't sit still. If there was one human being in Detroit who shared your sensibilities - Brother John Sinclair - the surely there were hundreds more, if you could only bust out and get to them, with them. In fact there were thousands, and thus the White Panther Party Was born, out of John's observation that anyone who deviates from the Traditional Norm is effectively a nigger. Much more than a mere Hunkies-For-Huey handkerchief outfit, the White Panther Program became a radical alternative to the Detroit YMCA Teen-Canteen: kids collected around it because, for the first time in history, here was something TO DO!! For a million years teen-agers had perplexed their parents by complaining about the lack of things to do, and now John Sinclair was on the scene, suggesting, "Just kick out the jams, motherfucker. Kick out the jams." Which brings us to:

Propaganda: The MC5 is one heavy bitching group! Now, to Activate a high school kid, you do not - if you know what's good for you - fill his teeming imagination with Marxist dialectic and the history of the Wobblies in the Twenties. This won't work. The only kids who get interested in such rap are the ones who read stuff like this, and in this age of Television, these kids are not the tastemakers of their age group, not by a damn sight. No, to turn on the adolescent population at large, you got to kick out the jams, goddammit! Brother John, Information Minister of the White Panther Party, got for his Detroit movement the Motor City Five, good clean young American boys who with him traveled the length and breadth of Darkest America causing young folk to lose their wits and run amok in the streets screaming obscenities and engaging in deviate forms of premarital intercourse. Buffalo, Seattle, Denver, Miami, Boston, New York, Oakland, St.Paul, Youngstown: when the MC5 leave town, they leave a shambles.

IT THREW A SCARE INTO all those freaked-up old dudes, all right. Why, look at that newspaper, the Sun there, with all those dirty words and them Pinko nigger-lovin' antiwar stories. Would you want your kid reading stuff like that? So the Sun was shut down with obscenity busts and judicious license-violation terrorizing of a new key Detroit newsstands, and henceforth was mimeographed and distributed for free on streetcorners. Stomping out the Detroit Sun was about as productive as trying to piss the real sun down - it was an organic phenomenon, like fingers growing out of wrists, it couldn't be stopped by an act of Congress - and when Trans-Love Energies moved to Ann Arbor to escape the heat, the Sun turned into the Argus, and now appears biweekly.

ADVERTISEMENT : EAST VILLAGE OTHER  Dec.20, 1968   DESIGN by GARY GRIMSHAW (?)The MC5 was a blight on the nation. Goin' around cussing on stage, taking their pants down, pissing on the audience, inciting to riot and rock'n'roll, dope and fucking in the streets. . . They were busted in Oakland for balling a teenybopper on stage. They were kicked out of Seattle for publicly cussing out a plastic hippie who accused them of selling out. After Rolling Stone warned the Mayor of Miami about the Five's proclivity for unnatural acts, the group was banned from the state of Florida. And in New York at the Fillmore East, a mini-riot erupted when the Five refused to accede to the demands of the hysterical crowd that they start the Revolution on stage right there that night; it is a testament to the power of Sinclair's group than anyone thought they could blow up the country all by themselves.

This matter of the White Panther also tended to give the authorities the cold cobbles. Panthers . . . Panthers . . . Wasn't there some violent militant Black Power outfit called the Black Panthers got wrote up in Bill Buckley's magazine a while back? Why sure enough, and if you thought the Communists were evil, wait'll you clap your eyes and ears on the likes of Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, and Bobby Seale. From the first, the Panthers had the best white folk freaked for fair: it was bad enough when the blacks just wanted your job and your woman, but now they're creating an identity of their very own, not the sort of lamebrain self-effacing niggerhood the White Man's been laying on them since he "discovered" Africa.

So this White Panther business was just doubly alarming. Kids, good well-brought-up American kids leading decent lives like in Leave It To Beaver and the Mousketeers, all of a sudden these kids are nigger lovers!! And not merely like in CORE or Vista or NAACP, harmless liberal wastebasket caseworkers and envelope stuffers, no, these kids were doing something even more distressing - they were adopting the lifestyle of the Black Panther Party, the mystique, the cellar-Christian humor, yea, the very language thereof, for themselves. To have kids working for Civil Rights was merely repugnant, but to have them working with and acting like this new brand of nigger, well . . . Well, y'all best check up on the tear gas supply and order a few gross more cattle prods, hear?

The new interstate anti-riot bill was considered the ace up the Formaldehyde System's sleeve, since under its implementation virtually anybody who made a long-distance call on a tapped phone could be busted for one thing or another. It was merely a question, after the act was rammed through as a rider to the Rap Brown Bill, of who to bust out of Ma Bell's millions of satisfied clients. The Panthers went first, those niggers soon learned who was boss on this plantation. Then they got the Chicago people. And what about them thousands of midwestern high school students so woefully deluded and mislead by one John Sinclair?

HE WAS THE SORT OF MAN who caused respectable women to tighten their sphincters and leave the room; the look of him alone threw previously secure gentlemen into seething fits of confusion and resentment. Built like a defensive tackle, John Sinclair was, very tall but so broad as to be apparently stuffed ankle-deep into the ground by his own heft: hair all over and the specific density of a neutron star. Invulnerable! You saw that by the look of his eyes behind his thick spectacles, gentle and gentle, so very gentle there was no hate that could ever cloud them over. And John Sinclair was a man of heavy passions.

If only he wouldn't wear his hair that way. John had beautiful hair, like the mane of one of those lions on a Provençal coat of arms, only black. It came out of his head like black shrapnel at first, but then it rippled down over his sloping shoulders in wonderful waves that made a Toni permanent look vulgar by comparison. It was the hair that blew the mind of anyone who clung to the trappings of propriety - it was too long and too pretty and too masculine, dammit! Nobody who'd spent his life admiring the Korean War look could relate much to Brother John, he was just too weird.


from The Collected Sentences of Judge Robert J.Colombo, Recorder Court Judge, speaking in the name of the People of the State of Michigan.

To which Brother John immoderately responded: "You've completely revealed yourselves, you're exposed yourselves even more. Power to the people! Off the pigs! You will die!" And he will.

Certain people hated John Sinclair. One who made his career out of hating John was Warner Stringfellow of the Detroit department of narcotics control. Twice before Stringfellow had busted Brother John for possession of weed. The first conviction, in 1963, resulted in an extended period on probation. The next conviction, in 1965, landed John in the slammer for six months, during which he wrote


from Poem For Warner Stringfellow by John Sinclair, in response to Stringfellow's declaration, on the night of the second bust, that "I know what you are, and when I get you again you ain't gettin' off so easy. I'll drown you, you worthless prick." And he too will die.

So after the third conviction, which came about after John in his generosity had given a couple joints to some other undercover pig who'd been running a pottery shop in Detroit, they put him away for ten years.


In solitary confinement.

For grass.

Not that grass ever hurt anybody, but on the Monday after the Woodstock Music And Art Festival at Bethel, N.Y. last fall, Pun Plamondon and Sinclair's wife, Leni, were stopped in their car in Wayne Township, New Jersey, by the police, and kept in jail for several days fro possession of the stuff. It can't be too comforting to be sitting in an isolation cell in a maximum security prison with your number branded on your forearm, to know that the woman who is carrying your baby is socked in the Jersey slams. Research is underway now to determine the identity of the pigs who busted Pun and Leni, and when their names are known they will certainly die.

"We may allow several months to pass attempting to free John Sinclair on bail and attempting to reason with the media. Senators, liberals, legislators, etc. to secure some trace of justice. If we fail, we shall be forced to mount a campaign to alter, if necessary, the nature of the government of the state of Michigan to free one of the most important men of our time.


1) To Judge Robert Colombo, Detroit
Recorders Court, Detroit, Michigan;

2) to a Mr.Callahan who is Wayne County prosecutor (Detroit) and has requested that John's sentence be upped to 20 - 40 years;

3) to Governor William Millikin, State Capitol Building, Lansing, Michigan 48904;

4) to the Warden, Southern Michigan
Prison, Jackson, Michigan

Remember to make you letters calm enough to be read and forceful: but not threatening. We must exhaust certain legal avenues before we may have to jessejames him out of the slams."

from The Christ of Marijuana by Ed Sanders, East Village Other, which also suggests:

John Sinclair Defense Fund
Trans-Love Energies
1510 Hill Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan."

Dean Alpheous Latimer


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