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Kick Out The Jams

February 20, 2012
by

Michael Davis, the bassist of the MC5 has passed on.

Before becoming embroiled in the MC5’s tumultuous hard-rock sound, Davis had been more inclined towards folk music. A native of Detroit, he was studying to be a painter at Wayne State University in the city in the early 1960s when he went to hear Bob Dylan play at the Masonic Temple. “He was just playing guitar sitting on a stool all by himself, and it took hold of my life,” Davis recalled. “I decided that’s what I wanted to do – I wanted to be a musician.”

At this early stage the MC5 – short for Motor City 5 – were a covers band, blasting out versions of songs by the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Kinks and the Yardbirds, and Davis would recall this as his favourite period with them. “The sound was just raw and rough and exciting,” he said. In 1968, MC5 signed to Elektra, who realised that the band’s pulverising live shows could not be bettered in the studio, and duly released the live album Kick Out the Jams (1969), recorded at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom. Bristling with classics such as the title track and the insurrectionary Motor City Is Burning, the disc charged into the Billboard Hot 100, but the Detroit-based department store chain Hudson’s refused to stock the album because of its obscene lyrics. The band responded by taking out newspaper ads saying “Fuck Hudson’s”, which prompted Elektra to end their contract.

Yeah. Fuck Hudson’s!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2012 2:28 pm

    Kick out the jams, Motherfuckers! I remember playing this record and my mom was horrified to hear it coming out of my room. R.I.P.

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