The Library

MC5 – Sonically Speaking

Brett Callwood
Independent Music Press

A pretty easy read at 221 pages, with 75% dedicated to the crash ‘n burn histrionics of the seminal Detroit quartet, and the final quarter follows the members post MC5 work, including two of them passing away and the reformation in 2003 of the other three.

Aficionados of the band will already be keyed up on much of the Five’s short yet highly influential story, but this is still an entertaining read, charting the bands involvement in radical Sixties politics, thanks to the colourful rabble rouser John Sinclair, the signing to Elektra Records along with buddies The Stooges, and their subsequent fight to survive in a music industry that clearly was not ready for these out of control RocknRollers. And then the disputes, disillusionment and heavy drugs kicked in as they hit the skids. Hard times lay ahead, some of them went to jail.

There’s lots of coverage of Wayne Kramer’s post-MC5 work/projects, a lengthy section on Fred Smith’s marriage to Patti Smith, and his own Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, plus some entertaining anecdotes from drummer Dennis Thompson on his New Order days in L.A. with Ron Ashton (from The Stooges). I’d like to have read more first hand history on Mike Davies involvement in Destroy All Monsters, and Dennis and Ron Ashton being reunited in New Race with ¾ of Radio Birdman. Ack, some people are never satisfied eh! Yes, very decent read this.

Pete Craven