How comes nobody ever mentions the MC5 round here?

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All I have to add to this thread is that I've never really understood the MC5 so much...taken out of context, it doesn't really seem too rockin', though I'm sure it was certainly more provocative at the time. (I had the same experience with the Clash--never understood what all the ruckus was about until a lot later. So maybe MC5 will click in one day, but for now the stuff I heard on that recent compilation just seemed unreasonably tame after considering all the expectations generated by zee hype.) Stooges, on the other hand, were a blast of raw energy, and I will not deny them.

Sean Carruthers, Sunday, 17 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

'Your reasons don't really seem to extend beyond your insistence that music like this is stupid, and music like Braxton's is smart.'

I accept that I might have implied that BUT as I've said before I like rock. I, in fact, love it. Goddamit, its the first i started listening to.

I've never said the MC5 was caveman rock. They tried to match free jazz WITH rock. Just like, say, the stooges and what I've said is that from listening to the records, they don't pull it off.

'Plus, your list of guitarists reads like a "The Insufferable Hipster's Top Ten Guitar Gods" thread on ILM.'

I'm not being a hipster: someone else started it because I said I liked Zappa's guitar playing (because mark asked me whether I liked zappa and if I was a hipster he wouldn't be on my list). So I cited other guitarists that I liked because that person said it was a load of wanking.

Again, I've listened to many more (Others I didn't mention: D. Boon, Bob mould, Stefan jaworzyn, rudolph grey, etc.). These are all really good guitarists that I like and if some people haven't heard them and they haven't listened to some of the records these people were in then they should give it a go.

Julio Desouza, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

hey doorag if U always mention mc5 and *I* always mention vanessa mae then, er, i don't know what then

mark s, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I've never knowingly heard the MC5 (Andrew I'm sure you must have played some when we worked together so I've probably unknowingly heard them). I wonder about buying one of their records sometime but, whatever.

I think people are being too harsh on Julio though. He's a poster with a limited range of tastes and his position on the MC5 is perfectly consistent. To someone who listens to the stuff he does the MC5 probably sound like Gorillaz do to lots of us, i.e. a misplaced, patronising and botched hybridisation.

Tom, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

What's a doorag?

Tom- my brother likes Goraillaz, so I got to know what they sound like. Unlucky for me.

Julio Desouza, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I don't have any problem with his position. Everyone's entitled to their own point of view. That said, coming off like an arrogant insufferable wank (i.e. my opinion is so so very right and you are an idiot or deluded or misinformed if you disagree) is pretty lame and, IMHO, a perfectly justifiable reason to be harsh in return.

The problem isn't really one of limited tastes, but of limited social skills.

Alex in SF, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

julio - i'm this thing.

tom - nah don't reckon. *everyone* i have *ever known* likes all the same shit he likes,& they all wuv the '5.

duane, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I'm 70% certain (as they say on 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire') that the MC5 wld not be yr cup of tea, Tom.

And I think I'm prob. guilty of overegging the MC5 jazz-rock pud. Most often they sound like The Who...

Andrew L, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

"everyone i know" - a phat lie obv but you know what i mean. or you don't. doesnt everyone else here know lots of "insufferable hipsters"?

, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I only know sufferable hipsters.

Alex in SF, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I think perhaps we've got on Julio's case because we recognise that 'insufferable hipster' impulse in ourselves but just don't express it so nakedly. Apart from enjoying the tunage, I like Destiny's Child etc. because they sort of allow you to say "See, I don't just like groups that have been given The Wire seal of approval."

Andrew L, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

No, you are wrong. We should not listen to what you think because you like mainstream music like Destiny's Child. giggles

Alex in SF, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

'That said, coming off like an arrogant insufferable wank (i.e. my opinion is so so very right and you are an idiot or deluded or misinformed if you disagree) is pretty lame and, IMHO, a perfectly justifiable reason to be harsh in return.'

I've no problem with people being harsh to me. Because this is a discussion group and I'm providing some disagreement and I'm more than happy to defend my position. This thread would have been over and done with hadn't I done so.

'The problem isn't really one of limited tastes, but of limited social skills. '

You are the one calling me an 'insufferable wank' so you are the one who needs to work on your social skills but thanks I am highly amused.

Julio Desouza, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Andrew- I like tunes. I've said so elsewhere in this thread.

By the way: I hate a lot of groups that have been give the 'wire' seal of approval as well. Including the MC5.

Julio Desouza, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I can't resist (probably a sign that I should clock out and go home and fall asleep) this:

No, you are! mimes sticking out tongue

Alex in SF, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

OK maybe people have been just harsh enough on Julio - but the thing is he's always like this on every thread surely? I've never found it particularly annoying myself even though I disagree hugely often enough. Why has everyone suddenly decided to call him a wank, point out how much he bugs them etc? Just because it's the MC5?

Tom, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

how do you mime sticking out yr tongue?

(i wasn't calling you a doorag julio, i wuz calling duane doorag a doorag)

mark s, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Melissa started it!

Alex in SF, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

You mime it with great difficulty!

Alex in SF, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Actually, I just said something cause somebody else pointed it out and upon rereading his posts I agreed (probably never noticed before). And I only responded to your response cause I'm awake and I'd said something and I felt duty bound to defend my reasons for saying something. And now I'm just having fun cause I'd hate to have anyone take any of this seriously and start a thread like "Why is everyone on ILM so mean and snarly?"

Alex in SF, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I should mention that saying that someone is coming off like a wank and saying someone is a wank are two different things. Julio was saying things that made him sound wank-y. I'm sure Julio is probably a nice enough guy. John Ashcroft, on the other hand, is a complete and total wank. He is not a very nice guy.

Alex in SF, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Tom- I am not always like this. I am not disagreeing just because I'm bored and I want some entertainment (I'm currently at work. Trying to juggle both work and answering some of these stupid things people have been saying abt me).

I don't care abt insults. Some people will resort to such rubbish but I don't care.

Julio Desouza, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I bought 'Kick out the Jams' on mayday 2000 after being let out of Trafalgar Square by the riot police and I have to say that it is poo. Its not even good as far as radical chic is concerned. Brian May nicked the singer's hairdo, it has the worst nostalgic sleevenotes ever, and worst of all they JAMMED.

owen hatherley, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Julio, DOORAGS ARE.....

Holla

Ramosi, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Wow. Leather doo rags. Will wonders never cease?

Alex in SF, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

listened to Kick Out The Jams this afternoon, conveniently enough. DIG THE CHAOS! i love the mic bleed, the detuned guitars, the ringing feedback echoing throughout, the liquid frenzy, the five-headed ramalama rumble, the desperation, the ridiculousness, the seemingly- unintentional-atonality, the fact that it sounds about twelve trillion decibels...

stevie, Tuesday, 19 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

KOTJ is pretty choice but it's no "Vincebus Eruptum".

How come no-one ever mentions Blue Cheer round here?

duane, Tuesday, 19 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

i can't listen to the MC5, because lots of local bands rip them off. so its nothing to do with the mc5, just that i am SICK AND TIRED with that thang. i think i could quite soon feel similarly about the oblivions. that is *yawn go home you are so boring*. maybe when that thang is over i will be able to appreciate the mc5 for what they were.

di, Wednesday, 20 March 2002 01:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

3 years pass...
This thread is horrible. The Five ruled.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Thursday, 21 April 2005 05:51 (9 years ago) Permalink

yes, 'back in the usa' and 'high time' are great. "looking at you" is fucking classic.

Amon (eman), Thursday, 21 April 2005 05:57 (9 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I think most people listen to Kick out the Jams (which is a little weak) and never make it to the two albums that actually kick ass. Oh well, their loss. I never understood the complaints that Back in the USA was their shitty overproduced album or anything like that. Sure ther are a couple of lame tracks but if you just skip those there's still an amazing album left. I have to confess though that I nominated Back in the USA for the 70s poll when I was actually thinking of High Time. Oops. I didn't bother to change it because I thought "obviously someone else will come along and nominate High Time". I was so wrong.

walter kranz (walterkranz), Thursday, 21 April 2005 06:04 (9 years ago) Permalink

i think 'kick out the jams' is pretty crap. the only dud on 'back in the usa' imo is the little richard cover.

Amon (eman), Thursday, 21 April 2005 06:09 (9 years ago) Permalink

Tim is right. You are all sad, sad, sad.

jack cole (jackcole), Thursday, 21 April 2005 06:13 (9 years ago) Permalink

"the only dud on 'back in the usa' imo is the little richard cover."

Ah, but the mix of that on Babes in Arms is great.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Thursday, 21 April 2005 06:26 (9 years ago) Permalink

MC5 are a personal touchstone, my Killing Joke as it were. But I understand the mixed reactions here because they were inconsistent and summoned love/hate reactions. The obvious modern parallel is Sonic Youth whose high-energy forcefields either gel into transcendence or collapse into anarchy depending on the weather. As the late Johnny Thunders told me in 1979: "I saw the MC5 25 times and they were always either really great or really terrible."

I never saw the 5 but I did follow Sonic's Rendezvous Band when I lived in Ann Arbor. Fred Smith was an amazing musician, pushing the envelope of every performance like a jazz saxophonist on a roll. Hearing him play was saturating, like swimming in the ocean: you'd wake up the next day still feeling partially immersed, with your ears ringing and a funny taste in your mouth. Kick Out The Jams!

m coleman (lovebug starski), Thursday, 21 April 2005 09:16 (9 years ago) Permalink

ah, the good days!! everyone looking so much younger...where are they now etc etc.

dave q told me I must listen to 'back in the USA' but you know I keep forgetting! maybe its one for the retirement home.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Thursday, 21 April 2005 09:27 (9 years ago) Permalink

apologies if i missed mention of it further up the thread, but the track 'black to comm' alone is justification enough for mc5 veneration.

cb, Thursday, 21 April 2005 11:56 (9 years ago) Permalink

Where's the best place to find a decent version of 'Black To Comm'? Had live recordings on a couple of vinyl bootlegs but the sound quality was super-terrible.

NickB (NickB), Thursday, 21 April 2005 12:03 (9 years ago) Permalink

I have a bootleg of early REM doing "I Can Only Give You Everything" live, which I thought (for years) was one of their many great pre-chonic town songs until I got a cassette of "Babes in Arms". Totally great collection. "Sister Anne"!

theophilus jones (theophilus), Thursday, 21 April 2005 12:11 (9 years ago) Permalink

The new Are You Ready to Testify has a fucking HUGELY FULFILLING rendition of "Black to Comm" that practically brings me to orgasm every time I hear it. There are two actually, but the 7:25 version (as opposed to the 11:00) features better sound quality.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 21 April 2005 13:42 (9 years ago) Permalink

Jesus, re-reading this thread, I forgot what a bitter pill Julio can be.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 21 April 2005 13:45 (9 years ago) Permalink

(I'm guilty of that too, by the way). This is not an attack.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 21 April 2005 13:46 (9 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I just re-read the thread and I can't believe that a discussion of the MC5 devolved into petty arguments about Zappa and free jazz. Come on people! LEARN TO ROCK!

walter kranz (walterkranz), Thursday, 21 April 2005 15:34 (9 years ago) Permalink

walter r u jack black? gonna teach me abt the counterkulcha too?

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Friday, 22 April 2005 10:10 (9 years ago) Permalink

Who the fuck had the audacity to mention Zappa on an MC5 thread?!?!? Oh it was mark s! Tut tut. "Back In the USA" is a great pop album.

Dadaismus (Dada), Friday, 22 April 2005 10:19 (9 years ago) Permalink

I saw an 'unauthorized' showing of the MC5 movie documentary recently. Wow, it was very entertaining. While I can see cynics snearing at the hippieish revolutionary chic aspects, and some of the allegedly corny rawk(a friend likened them to being similar to Grand Funk Railroad), I think they'd still find the movie fascinating. It's too bad Wayne Kramer and the filmmakers can't come to an agreement on releasing this officially. Great old photos, home movies, and interviews with band members, ex-wives, their former manager, and others help convey what the group was all about, and as a historical document of the times. I love the vocals and Wayne and Fred's powerful playing. While at times it's just another VH1 Behind the Music, it's still worth seeing.

steve-k, Friday, 22 April 2005 12:18 (9 years ago) Permalink

I think they were pretty ordinary, for the most part. (get one copy of "space ritual" or "yeti", heh) I don't think they rocked very well either. They are, I think, one of the most overrated bands ever, and their posturing strikes me as being somewhat embarrasing. I'm sure there's at least one other mc5 thread around here - mc5 vs the stooges perhaps? I kind of miss julio's hardass manner, a bit.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 22 April 2005 13:15 (9 years ago) Permalink

"Blue Oyster Cult do a better version of "Kick Out the Jams" "

I'd just like to say that this is shite.

everything, Friday, 22 April 2005 18:19 (9 years ago) Permalink

The best MC5 record I've ever heard is a live bootleg from January 1, 1970 - it's now part of the Are You Ready To Testify box mentioned earlier. Big problem, though - 2 seconds of silence inserted between tracks. Hope they removed that for the new version.

I don't like the 5 much, though. I prefer Grand Funk. Just bought the remasters of their first 3 albums the other week. They sound amazing.

pdf (Phil Freeman), Friday, 22 April 2005 18:31 (9 years ago) Permalink

walter r u jack black?

I wish.

(get one copy of "space ritual" or "yeti", heh)

Those are two of my all time faves but not really the same kind of thing are they? Yeti's a great proggy Jefferson Airplane trip and Space Ritual is a transcendently minimal slab of sludge more in the spirit of the Stooges and Blue Cheer. Neither have the hyper ice-pick-in-your-ear goood olde time rock-and-rool teenage lust of the MC5. Plus talking bout the MC5 makes me want to type and spell like a real idiot.

Seriously though, in what way were they pretty ordinary? Please point me to some more songs that sound like Looking at You, Human Being Lawnmower, or Future/Now because I'd really love to hear them. I can't see how anyone would think they're overrated either since they barely seem to be rated at all. They get about 1/20th of the love and acclaim that the Stooges get (for example) and they're at least half as good.

walter kranz (walterkranz), Friday, 22 April 2005 18:35 (9 years ago) Permalink

Stormy Davis, Sunday, 19 February 2012 09:19 (2 years ago) Permalink


their earliest footage unless I'm mistaken.
Shows them off as dandyish, I always thought they were a jeans & tshirt band until I heard that they had wives and girlfriends making a lot of clothes for them.

Sorry to hear about Mike Davis, hope he didn't suffer too much at the end. He was in hospital for a month. So have to assume he must have been.

Do wish somebody would release a compi of whatever complete footage with sound there is. Would love to see a True Testimonial released, it's a pretty good film.
So wonder if this death will trigger any new releases. A remastered set of lps would be good too. & will assume that Easy action will rerelease Purity, Accuracy the box set of rehearsal & live material.

Stevolende, Sunday, 19 February 2012 11:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

Aww RIP Mike Davis.

Been listening to High Time like crazy lately, kind of an amazing record and I wish it hadn't taken me forever to get that.

Will the waveform be unbroken? (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Sunday, 19 February 2012 13:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

My brother texted me this news this morning. RIP Mike D. MC2 now?

Charles Kennedy Jumped Up, He Called 'Oh No'. (Tom D.), Sunday, 19 February 2012 13:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

Just reading various stuff about him on the internet this evening and it sounds like he was a genuinely good dude all round.

Feebs K-Tel (NickB), Sunday, 19 February 2012 22:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

Feebs K-Tel (NickB), Sunday, 19 February 2012 22:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

9 months pass...

woooah, some people here seem to totally miss the point of the mc5. man, this is some fucking batshit freak the fuck out wild music. the energy and vibe they put out is phenomenal and they definitely set a high note for that kinda style. if you don't feel it, that's cool, but I'll never get enough of it.

Spectrum, Thursday, 13 December 2012 00:59 (1 year ago) Permalink


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