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Kick Out The Jams , 8.5/10
Back In The USA , 7/10
High Time , 6/10
Wayne Kramer: The Hard Stuff , 6/10
Wayne Kramer: Dangerous Madness , 5/10
Wayne Kramer: Citizen Wayne , 4/10

MC5, led by White Panther's leader John Sinclair and guitarist Wayne Kramer, represented the revolutionary wing of the student riots and used rock and roll as a powerful agit-prop device. Their sound embodied the rage and the sarcasm of the extremists, their lyrics defied all moral standards. Their live shows were wild, collective orgasms in which the band unleashed a monster and chaotic fury on the audience. Kick Out The Jams (1969) remains one of the most orgiastic, terrifying and visceral album ever released, a grotesque bacchanal of atrocious, primitive musical skills, a formidable assault on reality, the rock'n'roll equivalent of a nuclear explosion, sounding as if free-jazz and acid-rock had been savagely mauled inside a particle accelerator. The fact that its follow-up, Back In The USA (1970), was so inferior is proof that the masterpiece was due to the spirit of an entire era and not to a particular group of musicians.
(Translated from my original Italian text by DommeDamian)

MC5 were born in Detroit in 1964 as a direct emanation of John Sinclair's White Panther ("rock and roll is the great liberating force of our age"). They played at the groundbreaking rallies of the Trans Love Energies commune and even in the midst of the Chicago riots. They represented the class of white immigrant workers from the South and Beatnik students who gravitated around the Mayne State University. Their "revolutionary" rock was based on the unbridled violence of the instruments and on a powerful amplification. Their performances were collective orgasms, wild intoxications, and avalanches of sound dumped in bulk on the audience, overflowing with obscenities and slogans.

The first singles were released by small local labels, and would be collected, posthumously, on Babes In Arms (ROIR, 1983 - Danceteria, 1990). '66 Breakout (Total Energy, 1999) documents the group's first recordings (including a Black To Comm17 minutes). The five members of the band, led by the first great heavy guitarist, Wayne Kramer, as well as his worthy shoulder Fred Smith, and a mad and ferocious singer like Rob Tyner, plunged headlong into the elementary riffs of their songs, vomiting screams (instrumental and vocal) at full blast and at full volume, strong in their musical-political belief: "brothers and sisters, I want each of you to make noise ... I want to hear the revolution!”. The opposite of being incompetent, they were actually aware of the other revolution, the one brought to Western music by Coltrane and Coleman's free-jazz. Their main influence, however, was Chuck Berry, followed by Tamla Motown, while their kinship with other "heavy" groups of the psychedelic season, such as Blue Cheer, and with other politicized groups, such as the Fugs, were casual.

Kick Out The Jams (Elektra, 1969) is one of the most important, influential and creative albums in rock music, although it was born as an anti-artistic and deliberately poorly played product. Recorded live at the end of the year, it is indeed a grotesque riot of musical atrocity and primitivism, but also a formidable example of devastating power and music of the heart. Few bands can boast a commando attack of atomic tunes like Kick Out The Jams, Come Together , Rocket Reducer No. 62 , I Want You Right Now. The blues matrix is ​​disintegrated by the disruptive energy in an agitated sabbah of abominable sounds. Unrestrained percussion creates spasmodic tensions which then explode loudly in chaotic instrumental sarrabands. The baroque solos of the psychedelic suites have been annihilated by the devastating fury of collective improvisation.
However, metaphysical digressions are also mixed with many incitements to violence, when one professes faith in a cosmic religion that gathers the meaning of all revolutions, within itself. Then, the record ends with a scary version of Starship (Sun Ra), spasmodically stretched towards infinity, an eight-minute schizophrenic delirium, a hallucinating orgy of galactic explosions, paranoid chants, hisses, lost voices, deafening silences, cosmic madness.

Ten other sonic epilepses whiz on Back In The USA (Atlantic, 1970). This time there is less experimentation. The songs oscillate between the depraved anthems of the Stones and the continuing distortions of the psychedelics, some lashing enough to be a worthy corollary to the apocalyptic rock on the first album, Looking At You in particular. But above all the MC5 discover that they are close relatives, waving machine guns and hand grenades, of the most naive and anthemic Mersey-beat (Teenage Lust , High School , Call Me Animal).

Involved in the general crisis of the Movement, after High Time (Atlantic, 1971), a bizarre rhythm and blues album (horns, choir, Salvation Army band, Sister Anne ), MC5 disbanded, some ending up in prison (Sinclair in 1969 , for drug possession, Kramer in 1976 for a bad story of drugs and the mafia), some turning to journalism, some joining the ranks of the Movement veterans (John Sinclair directing a jazz center, Wayne Kramer making ends meet in matches “combined" against Ted Nugent.

Fred Smith would marry punk diva Patti Smith and later, in 1994, die of a heart attack.

The Big Bang (Rhino, 1999) is an excellent anthology of the three discs and the first singles. After the rediscovery of the group, a stream of unreleased and live albums will be released.

Wayne Kramer briefly played with Johnny Thunders and wrote a musical Mick Farren of the Deviants, Who Shot You Dutch (Specter, 1987), a continuing collaboration on Death Tongue (Curio, 1991). Wayne Kramer was resurrected in the 90s from The Hard Stuff (Epitaph, 1995), a limping album that also includes existential songs such as Edge of The Switchblade , Hope For Sale , Crack In The Universe , Realm of The Pirate Kings and Sharkskin Suit . The  Clawhammer  accompanied him on the next Dangerous Madness(Epitaph, 1996), but the Detroit terrorist ended up playing a melodic rock and roll more suited perhaps to a dominator of the sales charts (Bob Seger and John Mellencamp often come to mind) than his past ( Rats of Illusion ). Both records are further sabotaged by spoken-work pieces which only serve to demonstrate how Kramer was more than just a spokesperson for Sinclair.

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Citizen Wayne (Epitaph, 1997) veers clearly towards funk and rhythm'n'blues, but the material is weak (other than Stranger In The House).

LLMF (Epitaph, 1998) is a live album, and perhaps works better than the studio albums.

Beyond Cyberpunk (Music Blitz, 2000) is a sort of tribute by a star-studded cast.

Human Being Lawnmower (Total Energy, 2002) collects live performances. Adult World (2002) marks a return to form, or at least a return to his favorite themes of violence (Brought A Knife To the Gunfight), sex (What About Laura) and urban decadence (Nelson Algren Stopped By Last Week).

Purity Accuracy (2005) is a six-CD box-set of rarities and live material.

MC5's bassist Michael Davis died in 2012 at the age of 68.

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