MC5 * A True Testimonial
The long anticipated documentary about the MC5 played tonight in Hollywood, as part of the Don’t Knock The Rock Festival. Of course I was there! I’ve written about them and the movie here before, and this was a movie I had to see.
The website for the movie says
“The last great untold story of the 1960s is the story of the MC5″,
Their debut album, Kick Out the Jams, set a high-energy sonic standard rarely matched in the thirty years since its release. The MC5’s uncompromising stance and radical affiliations placed them, briefly, at the musical forefront of a generation bent on political and cultural change.”
And that ain’t just hype!
They were one of the most powerful rock bands ever, as well as being hardcore 60’s revolutionary types. One of the producers, while introducing the film, said this was history that was in danger of being lost, and that’s one reason he made the film.
I expected the movie to have amazing never-seen-before footage and interviews, and would show what the MC5 were really about – and it did this superbly well. What I did not expect was the movie would be so powerful and moving.
Like the MC5, I was part of that 60’s protest revolutionary tumult, when cities were burning, leaders were murdered, and our country was engaged in an insane war overseas. (Hmm, well some things never change…) The MC5 were greasers turned militant hippies and, with their manager John Sinclair, were in-your-face political. Constantly harassed by the police – their van was firebombed – they were the only band to play outside the ’68 Democratic Convention in Chicago just before the police went berserk.
The movie shows these years, their dedication for their music, the battles with the record companies, and doesn’t flinch showing how it ended badly, with smashed dreams and too much heroin. Which is how my 60’s ended too, except my drug was meth. However, after a few rough years, the individual members bounced back, and so did I.
Eight years in the making, the movie has only been shown at a few festivals so far. The producers hope for a major distribution deal, if not, then it goes straight to DVD.
At the t-shirt booth afterwards I was talking with one of the producers when a guy about 22 came up and said “Wow, there’s a movie about the MC5 now?”. Y’see, the MC5 still lives…
Oh, the producer says to expect many cool goodies on the DVD, and guitarist Wayne Kramer will be playing in North Hollywood on Wednesday and I expect bassist Michael Davis, who was at the film, will be there too. So will I.