"It was seeing the MC5 at the Grande Ballroom that opened our eyes. I can't describe in words what it meant to witness the power of that band live. Seeing them made us realise we had to play better, harder, than anyone on the scene. We began practising like boys possessed. In Detroit, you'd die if you played it like the record - you had to add something ..." (Ted Nugent)
KICKOUTTHEJAMSM---- O ------- - -T-----H ----E -----R -- --- F--U--C-K-E-R    ! ! ! ! ! ! !!!!!!!!!!THE---------M---------------------C-------------- FIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Despite repeated entreaties from the band for [Landau] to succeed Sinclair as their manager, he demurred. "We pushed him and pushed him and pushed him," says Kramer. "But he was determinated to be a record producerr." (MH)

15 Thursday / Release of BACK IN THE USA 12"

Fred Goodman:
"If the album was an attempt by the MC5 to distance themselves from the powerful influence of Sinclair in favor of their own musical identity, then it was a failure: they had traded Sinclair's values for Landau's ... Similarly, if Landau's mission was to create a new, commercially viable MC5, he, too, had failed. Back In The USA did not attract any new fans for the band and alienated many of their die-hard followers." (MH)

"[Landau] had received 3 percent of the retail price of the albums he had produced for Livingston Taylor and the MC5." (MH)

A STP (Serve The People) Coalition production present a "Free John Sinclair Fund" benefit in the Grande Ballroom and Eastown Theater. "The biggest "name" bands in the city appeared there. Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels and MC5 both drew standing ovations, though there was some hostility and bitterness apparent between the audience and the Five due to their split from the Sinclair/Trans-Love organization." (c2#9)

13 Friday / Release of SHAKIN STREET / AMERICAN RUSE 7"

Greg Barrios:
"There have been some comparisons drawn, somewhat outrageously, between The Velvet Underground and the MC5." Sterling Morrison: "That's a comparison that would drive me to an early retirement." Greg Barrios: "What do you think of the MC5?" Sterling Morrison: "I think seldom of the MC5."... (fusion03/06/70)

David Harris:
"Tyner said the new album (recorded in Detroit) was a four-month recording effort. The band got up each morning and jogged for two hours. Everyone was on a "high protein diet" (meat and water) and practice sessions went from six to eight hours daily.
"The practice depended on the piece," he continued. "Each piece is different. 'The Human Being Lawnmower' is very difficult - it does a lot of different things. We practiced it thousands of times before we were ready to successfully play it live. But on so many of our pieces, we have to work a long time on everything - get every part down so everybody knows what's going on next.
"If something isn't there when the time comes - it can really be a mess. We're playing so fast, it has to be accurate." (Rob Tyner's int. when the MC5 played the Boston Tea Party in March 70) (CM70)
Pete Townshend on the connection between rock and revolution: "...The MC 5 are presently trying to get out of that. They were a vehicle for revolutionaries who were interested in their own remuneration and their own good times. John Sinclair - ever since he was 15, every minute of his life he was free. Some people can do that, take care of their own problems, never need to work, and get along. Abbie Hoffman, too - he can take bad trips and never do a stroke of real work and live and go through his own particular kind of existence and come out. The MC 5 were manufactured; at that point they were a good rock group, but they were used. Revolution is something which happens ..." (DBM)
25 Saturday / MC-5 *Phun City Festival*, Worthing, UK

Mick Farren
(on the Phun City festival) : "We knew we were out of the music business running for any big international acts, like the Grateful Dead, but i did want to put on one band with a chance of ensuring that the name Phun City might live in infamy. The MC5 had carved themselves a niche as the house band of the revolution with their live album Kick Out The Jams, and as the only band that actually played at the riots at the Chicago Democratic Convention. Their manager, John Sinclair, had been handed ten years of Michigan jailtime for a couple of joints and, all in all, they had such a rep as radical troublemakers that it was unlikely they'd ever make it to Europe, unless someone like me brought them over for something like Phun City.
A dialogue was started with Detroit that revealed the MC5 as both ready and willing to play Phun City as the centrepiece of a UK minitour that would cover their expenses. Back in the USA, the band was having its problems. They'd been bounced off Elektra Records, home of the Doors, for being too loud and political. Although quickly signed by Atlantic, their troubles were by no means over. They'd been blacklisted by rock impresario Bill Graham after a group called the Motherfuckers - the New York equivalent of the London Street Commune - had trashed the Fillmore East while the 5 were attempting to play a benefit for them. After a massive initial promotion, Rolling Stone seemed to have turned on them, and rumours of first-phase destructive drug use were spreading.
Okay, so we had the MC5 as the capstone of what was rapidly growing into the alternative (or maybe read 'parody') rock festival, but unfortunately around that time we ran out of money, and the prospects of getting any more was rendered hard - going on impossible - when the West Sussex County Council and Constabulary obtained a court order against us ... A New York City hashish dealer, with extensive contacts in pre-Soviet Afghanistan, donated enough money to keep us in a holding pattern and i went to see our last hope, Ronan O'Rahilly. The legend was that Ronan's father was the O'Rahilly, a hero of the battle at the Dublin Post Office in 1916. This gave Ronan a lot to live up to and, both to fill a need in the marketplace and thumb his nose at the English, he conceived Radio Caroline, the great pirate radio station of the early Sixties that broadcast from an old trawler parked in the North Sea ...
... The real financial hope to make Phun City all it could be was to sell the film rights ... Early in the game, Ronan had told me that, if all else failed, i should come and talk to him. After forty-eight hours of legal drama, i had to face the fact that all else had definitively failed. Thus i called Ronan and took myself off to his mews house in Mayfair, with the cherry Harley Davidson Electroglide that Marianne Faithfull had ridden in Girl on a Motorcycle parked outside. Ronan had produced the trash classic and was justifiably proud.
He was a master of indecision and procrastination. He hummed, he hawed, he told irrelevant anecdotes, he phoned the MC5 in Detroit and checked that all was well with them, while all the time his huge bodyguard, Big Jimmy Houlihan, lurked in the background ... A full two days of nail-biting and hanging-in passed before Ronan finally called the travel agent for the MC5's tickets and began to write cheques. As he spent money, he winked at me.
"We're flying here, boy. We're really flying."
Ronan had one stipulation. It should be a free festival ... By far the most awkward moment came on Saturday afternoon when i had to explain to the MC5 how things at the festival weren't exactly as they had first been pitched to them. Fortunately the blow had been softened, first by Ronan having (so far) taken excellent care of them, right down to hiring Howard Parker to do the hands-on babysitting. In addition we had a cat called Mitchell Rothberg - a passing-through American, a friend of John Sinclair and with the most impeccable of international radical-underground connections - to vouch for at least our good intentions. The 5 were far from stranded. They had return air tickets and other gigs were in place to pay their way, but they were silent at first; their faces a combination of disappointment and resignation. They'd seen this shit a hundred times before. A bunch of freaks sitting on a situation that hadn't come out totally as planned. Guitarist Fred Smith finally turned to guitarist Wayne Kramer. 'Let's take a look at the equipment.'
I knew i was off the hook. At Phun City the gear was perfect; Boss had seen to that. The matched Hiwatt stacks came directly from a stage plan used by the Who, plus provision had been made for an extra guitar player. Absolutely nothing could be complained about ... Enough of my mission had been accomplished for me to be happy that i'd accepted it, and it hadn't self-destructed after fifteen seconds. I walked onto the stage, into the full glare of the lightning set-up. I think i was about to introduce the MC5, but was greeted with a standing ovation that i figured was merited. The MC5 were about to come on. Out there somewhere in the darkness, William Burroughs stalked the night in his FBI man's hat and raincoat, requiring hippies to talk into his portable tape machine while he baffled them with instant cut-ups. Ronan had brought an entire British Lion Outside Broadcast unit, plus a mobile home for himself, like a villa on wheels; all under the command of Tom Keylock, the Stones' old minder, and the formidable Big Jimmy Houlihan. The flare of the lights, and the big cumbersome OB cameras flanking the stage, lent an impressive - if probably spurious - media importance. The gang and i had thrown one hell of a party. Give the lads a big hand. On the light tower, the lightshow guys, not wanting to be outdone by the British Lion, plugged in everything they had and pointed their full battery of slides, loops and blob-shows at anything that would carry an image. The large inflatable dome pulsed with light from within, like a huge narcotised alien blob, while the canvas of tents became cinema screens and the field itself undulated.
The MC5 were the icing on the cake and i believe we got to them in the nick of time. We Witnessed one of the very last shows that offered the original majesty, before the road and the bullshit took their toll. With Rob Tyner on his knees offering the testimonial, Wayne Kramer spitting a stream of Johnny Walker Red with great accuracy into the lens of camera, and Fred Smith tumbling back over a bent-double Boss, as our yeoman stage manager attempted to rescue a fallen mike stand with roadie panache, what more did i want? My cup ranneth over. Then, after the 5 had climaxed, encored and exited, i was taken on a conducted tour of Narnia by night, and moved from campfire to campfire and from habitation to habitation until i was as ripped as Crazy Horse." (MF)

Michael Watts:
"...The MC5, who headlined, were a joy to listen to for their unabashed exuberance, which they have successfully harnessed to form one of the most professional rock bands around. In fact, one does not listen to their sound, one is overwhelmed by its volume.
Their use of two lead guitars is extremely interesting, in that this extra power at the front enables them to erect great slabs of intricate sound, whose texture and intensity they are constantly building and lowering. Visually, too, they are a gas, with lead guitarist Wayne Kramer twirling from the back of the stage up to the mike to take a solo, or Rob Tyner, the vocalist, bumping and grinding in the fact of the audience.
Musically, honesty, it seems, is the best policy." (MC5 at the Roundhouse, London) (MM)
Dennis V. Hickey: "Of Our Own was a small club in Houston that operated around 1970-71. The MC5's equipment was clearly intended for much larger venues--maybe even stadiums. The band came on stage--without the lead singer (can't remember his name) and about half way through the first or second song he leap on stage at what must have been a pre-arranged time. They all had pasty white skin like they hadn't been in the sun for ages. Now, remember this was Texas where the sun shines all the time and its hot most of the time. So they look really weird to us. The guy who ran the club was named John--a typical hippie type with very long hair. When the band wanted something, they would shout in a mocking voice, "OHHHH JOOHHHHHHNNNN!" At one point, between songs, they shouted "Fuck You" several times at the audience. When a girl got up to leave during a song, they stopped singing and the leader singer demanded to know where she was going! The show was loud, vulgar, weird and unforgetable. It was the most interesting concert I ever saw at "OF OUR OWN." And they never came back." (28,29 - Sat.,Sun. / MC-5 *Of Our Own*, Houston, TX)
KICKM---------------------C-------------- FIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OUTTHEJAMSM---- O ------- - -T-----H ----E -----R -- --- F--U--C-K-E-R    ! ! ! ! ! ! !!!!!!!!!!THE---------
6 Tuesday / Release of HIGH TIME 12"

Mike Davis:
At this time, the personal life of each one, apart from the recordings, is completely dissociated from that of the others
"No one cared anymore. Atlantic had lost interest in the MC5 and offered only minimal marketing support for the new album. Worse, several members had developed heroin habits and the group slowly desintegrated." (MH)
KICKM---------------------C-------------- FIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OUTTHEJAMSM---- O ------- - -T-----H ----E -----R -- --- F--U--C-K-E-R    ! ! ! ! ! ! !!!!!!!!!!THE---------
Recording and release of film Soundtrack GOLD

5 Saturday / MC-5 *The London School of Economics*, London (UK)
M.Davis misses this significant concert : Airport security in Detroit would not let him board his plane for England. He takes another flight the following day and D.Thompson comes to meet him.

Recording (in London) of the following titles: TRAIN MUSIC, INSIDE OUT and GOLD for the film soundtrack GOLD

Dennis Thompson
about Gold: He (R.O'Rahilly) was into the same sort of consciousness thing, too. The movie (1971) was about people escaping the Fascist environment that existed at the time. He played scenes from the movie for us. WE watched and came up with Train Music which corresponded with a sense of a mass exodus by train.
The players on that are : Fred on guitar, Wayne on bass, and I'm on drums. The last of the MC-5. The piano was dubbed in on the tune Gold by Wayne.

Dave Hopkinson: "The Penthouse in Scarborough was packed on Friday night by those wishing to see if the MC5 would inspire revolution in their hearts, and generally live up to their reputation as a wild, storm-rocking, jam-kicking band. In fact they have now broken with John Sinclair and his merry man, and having shaken off these early associations and original, political aims, they're back to simply being playing the music, simply being the operative word.
They trooped on stage to the sound of applause from the hipper ones among us who "knew" the band by their three albums. Guitarist Wayne Kramer looked as though he had been dragged through his speaker cabinets backwards, and judging by the battered gear and the sound problems, perhaps he had.
Nevertheless, they proceeded to drum the audience into submission, using the maximum of volume and the minimum of imagination. "Ramblin' Rose" with Kramer's high-pitched vocals sounded exactly the same as the version on their first L.P., though after a while the succession of over-familiar, well-worn riffs induced an atmosphere of mild irritation, if not boredom.
The Revolution, to which they had formerly pledged themselves, certainly was not going to be a musical one. It was their famous "Kick Out The Jams" that brought the dancers to their feet, but despite its enthusiastic reception one could not help feeling that this present band were living off the M.C.5 legend. Long live the Stones!" (MC5 at the Penthouse, Scarborough, UK) (MM)

Steve Peacock:
"I'd forgotten what a good sort of atmosphere you get at all-nighters: everything seems a lot looser and less formal between the hours of midnight and six, a chance for everyone - people and musicians - to stretch out a bit. The King Cross Cinema seems to provide just the right environment for such events - at least it did on Saturday when Kingdom Come, and the MC5 played.
The MC5 were (...) slick, tight, hard-rocking and very together, they steamed through a set that was mostly exhilarating but occasionally fell a bit flat. Numbers like "Thunder Express", "Mother City Is Burning" (sic) and "Poison" showed them at their tough, aggressive best. These Detroit bands can certainly do it." (MC5 at the King Cross Cinema, London) (S72)

31 Sunday / LAST SHOW EVER at the *Grande Ballroom*

Wayne Kramer:
We got back together because they offered us $500 to play on New Year's Eve. At the peak The MC5 were getting $3000-$4000 a night at the Grande. And here we were playing for $500. We were paid before we went on, so I had the $100 in my back pocket.
I didn't finish the night. We usually did 10 or 12 tunes - this night I got through around half of them. It wasn't ... very good at all...I remember going over to Fred at one point and saying, "Fred, I'm sorry man. I've got to leave now." And I was off to the dope house. I was aware that this was the final break up ...

<  1962-67  -  1968  -  1969  -  1970-72

Sources & Credits: HERE

Excerpts from "Give The Anarchist A Cigarette" are reproduced here by permission of Mick Farren.

Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any additions to this!