MC-5 at the *Straight Theater*


Artwork-Gary Grimshaw


We had never heard of the MC5 before the Straight Theater gig. After that one night we never forgot them. I was a roadie for Clover at the time and was one of the first to arrive to set-up the equipment for the night. The MC5's roadies were already there setting up a huge wall of Marshall amps on the rear of the stage. I had never seen such a massive wall of powerful amps ever. I set-up Clover's equipment in front of that wall and when I was done Clover's amps looked like toys in comparison. Having finished my job for the moment I went into the band room where the MC5 were sitting around in t-shirts, Levi's and black leather jackets. I thought, "Hey, these guys look pretty normal. What's the big deal?" About then Clover arrived and I left for the stage to finish my work. Clover opened the show and after their set I tore down the equipment and stored it behind the stage. The second act was The Congress of Wonders, a very hip and funny comedy team of three guys. As they took the stage one of them took off his jacket and tossed it at the wall of Marshalls. As the jacket brushed the massive amp, the giant wall fell over backwards off the stage, crushing Johnny Ciambotti's bass guitar case. Luckily the guitar was OK, but the amp was a mess. The guy in The Congress of Wonders was as white as a sheet muttering that if the amp had fallen forward he would have been crushed and that his jacket was not an amp killer and should be forgiven. I think that's when the two bands started talking to each other. Apologies from the MC5 and an "it's ok man, it was only my case and not my axe" from Johnny. Most times if we played first we would leave early and go home, but this night we stayed to catch the show. And what a show it was!
The MC5 had changed from the Levi's and t-shirts into wild colored costumes and took the stage with a roar from the mighty Marshalls. Loud, no way, beyond loud, almost to pain loud. So loud, you could not even think! For a finale the lead singer calls a girl to come up on the stage. She does not want to, but is reluctantly led up to the stage where the singer starts to sing to her, and she responds lovingly. They both slowly get more frantic and she starts ripping his clothes off. He rips at her clothes and they both go down on stage, in each other's arms, screwing like mad till the song ended. We all figured that some poor girl was just raped on stage and our minds were blown. The show was over and I went backstage to load up the equipment and looked into the band room and saw the girl that had just been raped sitting at a sewing machine, repairing the ripped costumes for the next show! She was a plant; it was all an act! Wow!
I drove back to Mill Valley in the equipment truck and brought the amps down to the living room for practice the next day. Someone in the band said that he had invited the MC5 to come over and had given them a map to our house. Time went by and nobody showed up so Mitch decides to go to bed. About twenty minutes later, two or three of the MC5 arrive after getting lost in the Mill Valley hills. After a few refreshments, Wayne Kramer, the lead guitar player of the MC5 wanted to jam. We say O.K., but tell to be very quiet. So he plugs in to McFee's amp and starts wailing real loud. Mitch comes out of his bedroom yelling, "Get out of my house!" So they left. You might think that this is the end of the story, but about half an hour later a knock is heard at the door. It is the MC5 guys again. Seems that after they left our house they drove about two blocks and went off the road, down a hill and crashed into a neighbor's front room. We said, "Sorry to hear about it, not much we can do. Maybe you should go back and wait for a tow truck. Good luck!" We never saw the MC5 again.


Library - MC-5 Gateway - Timeline - Calendar - Concert Posters