What did the White Panther say when he stepped on an ant?
*special introductory paragraph!
*Kick Out The Jams
*Back In The USA
*High Time
*Kick Out The Jams DVD

The Motor City Five roared out of Detroit in the late '60s with one thing on their minds: A Macho Revolution. Long-haired, bare-chested men blasting their six-string artillery rifles at the President's motorcade. Making love in the streets as loud boring fuzz rock blared from black helicopters overhead. White men pretending to be black men. The phrase "Brothers and Sisters!" Luckily, most of this nonsense was just the influence of band manager and White Panther cult leader John Sinclair, whose reign of terror ended when he was sentenced to fourteen life sentences for possessing one marijuana seed. This wised up the MC5, who quickly gave up the political doo-doo to concentrate on good old-fashioned rock and roll. And whammo! They got really GOOD all of a sudden! This is the story of that band. It may not be strong and it may not be pretty, but it's a story that must be told - a tale of sound and fury, told by idiots, signifying nothing. And when you've read this story, I guarantee you that you will not only see the MC5 in a new light - you'll view the entire world in a whole new way.

From inside a trashbag dangling from a flagpole! But enough about my hilarious terrorist pranks. And that's all they are - pranks. Did you notice that big fart noise that the World Trade Center made when it collapsed? That was me! I had installed a gigantic whoopie cushion between the 46th and 75th floors a week earlier. And who can forget the "flaming pile of dog doo and truck bomb" gag I set up in Oklahoma some years back? "A laff riot!" said the local papers!

Kick Out The Jams - Elektra 1969
Rating = 4

A stinging raw blister of sweaty hookless crap. Recorded live in a marijuana store, this messy batch of heavy raw rock guitars has the sludgey grotesque feel of a Three Dog Night concert, but performed by a loud gritty drug street rock band. The guitar tones are absolutely vicious, and the songs sound heavily influenced by '60s black music (soul, r&b, blues), but played loud, long-haired and white. There is no precision at all in this loose slab of distorted chordery, and it hardly ever manages to "rock" because the drums are buried in the mix and rarely play a straight backbeat anyway. Instead, the songs just kinda throw their long hair around a lot, shouting "Brothers and Sisters!" and talking about how "it takes just five seconds" to change your life or overthrow the British Crown or something. The most remarkable thing about Kick Out The Jams, however, is not its revolutionary fervor or socio-political leftist leanings, but the fact that it has almost no good songs on it!

Singer Rob Tyner sounds exactly like a colored African-American negro, and guitarists Fred "Sonic" Smith and Wayne "Youth" Kramer are certainly crankin' up the volume, but 5/8ths of the material presented herein is just SHIT. I mean in capital letters SHIT. What would you like in your SHIT omelet this morning, kind sir? How about a loud spirited cover of a boring '50sy song -- with atonal FALSETTO vocals!? Or would you prefer an exact ripoff of "I Can See For Miles"? For that matter, how about a second song that is ALSO a complete ripoff of the "I Can See For Miles" chord changes, but played in a slightly different rhythm, almost as if the band members were too stoned to realize they'd written the same song twice? Would you like that in your SHIT omelet? Be sure and save room for some SHIT waffles, made out of a 7-minute by-the-numbers blues song! And if you still have room for some SHIT dessert, how's about an 8 1/2 minute avant-garde music concrete piece about space travel? Thanks for the tasty SHIT meal, Fred "Sonic" Smith and Wayne "The Hedgehog" Kramer!

The bottom line is that bands with no original ideas should consider staying in the gairidge until they have more than three good songs. But oh! Those three songs! Have you heard the title track? "Kick Out The Jams, Meet The Fockers!" Now THAT is a rock and roll kit-shicker. So much fun, the Stooges totally ripped it off for "Loose"! Then there's "Rocket Reducer No. 62," a one-chord slam basher so hoTTT that the Melvins covered it twenty years later! Last but not lorst is the Three Dog Night-style three-party vocal harmony-driven "Borderline," a dance track so irrestistible that it put Madonna on the pop map once and for all! And now there's NO slowing her down! Please, could somebody slow her down? I'm sick of her!

Lyrically, it's mostly all hard rock sloganeering stupidity (except "Motor City Is Burning," which is sloganeering stupidity mixed with a description of an urban riot. Here are a few of the more idiotic passages to be found:

Yes i'm starting to sweat
You know my shirt's all wet


I'm a born ass pincher
And i don't give a damn


I should probably alert you that Kick Out The Yams is considered a legendary groundbreaking album by some. That number doth not include I. But don't give up the goat! In less than a year, Wayne "Pana" Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith would be back in town with the funnest, goodtimest, rootin' tootin' rock and rollest early '60s toe-tapper of an album since Jerry Lee Lucas!

Reader Comments
Kick Out The Jams deserves a 10. That's all I gotta say. *sticks out tongue derisively and regrets it when toucan shits on said tongue*

Seriously man, this is just as balls to the wall as "Fun House." I'm pretty seriously disagreeing with you here.

At least you gave "Back In The USA" a good grade, though.
I love The Sex Pistols, Iggy & The Stooges, New York Dolls, the Dictators and lots of bands that were suposed to be influenced by the Motorcity Five, so when i picked this "landmark" album, i was very disappointed; i was expecting something like Funhouse, you know, creepy rock n roll, and all i heard was that "Ramblin' Rose", that sounded like gospely-Little richard- RnRoll to my ears. I don't think their hit "Kick out the jams" is earthmoving, either.

I'll check "Back in the USA", though.
Yeah, I never really understood the appeal of this thing, the sound quality is shit, and most of the songs aren't much better...except for the title track which is just really great. Besides that I can't remember a single song though, it's just a blur. I'll take Fun House over this anyday --- I might check out the MC5's next album though, since you gave it such a good review.
Yeah, this album is a big fat disapointment. I lose kick out the jams after the first minute of the title track. If you read any books at all detailing the band, you realize they were big fucking sexist pieces of shit. I mean so were the stooges, but at least they were, you know, GOOD. And i've got no place for big sexist pieces of shit in my record collection. Unless they rule.
oh prindle... prindle PRINDLE. you've let the minor imp of iconoclasm overcome you here. i mean, kick the sacred cow and all that but... really... a 4?! yes it slips and splashes and is shrill and overblown and all the rest of it, but these were young men puffing their chests out and acting like gods. and fleetingly ('borderline', 'come together') they WERE gods. in my opinion. which is always right.
Dude, what is with these people AND you? This album is flat out, balls to the wall sonic power. If you don't dig the're a pussy. In the red is where the rock n roll is supposed to be. Oh but the bubblegum Back in the USA gets 10, huh? You're all wacked out.
I don't believe pringle dosen't like this! He must have been in a bad mood when he listened to it (probably no more than once.) Either that or he's a homosexual communist sypathiser from red china. Seriously though if your curious about the MC5 don't take this review as anything more than an excuse for princess pringle to show off his expertise in profanity.

Just because a lot of punk bands are influenced by the mc5 you might think that they will sound like punk. Rest assured that they don't. What they do have in common with punk is a fuck all attitude and no regard for the rules morons like pringle "pig molester" Mcfaden expect them to follow.

WHat i mean by that is even though the riffs weren't exactly new it's the fact that the band either didn't know or didn't care and they played with such confidence and passion and POWER. You can't help but to be swept away. Truely a classic album and a classic band. Check out the movie MC5 a true testimonial even if you don't like'em. It's hillarious!
Some people expect music to be organized and decipherable...even when it's running apeshit....I can understand that, but I wouldn't agree. I like the murk and the chaos. You get just enough of it to know what they're destroying. It's like these boys were possessed with so much rock action they couldn't even get it through their instruments and on to tape. BTW: love that MELVINS cover of "Rocket Reducer"!
Bozhe moi! Mark kurit' mnogo CRACK. Pochemu on tak serdit na MC5, no yemu nravitsa Stooges? Ya ugadayu, shto miy nikogda ne budem znat' pochemu. Blin, CHYORT.

In other words, what the holy hell, Mark? You like Fun House, yet hate this. I hate Fun House, yet love this. No fair. WE NEVER AGREE ON ANYTHING. Mrr.

I mean, for the first part, they only rip-off the VERSE riff of "I Can See for Miles," so it ain't as noticeable. Plus, the whole point of this album ain't the hooks. It's a celebration of noise! And one of the most friggin' effective celebrations of noise in the whole pantheon of rock. This album is a landmark, and--you'll like this--it's the first punk or proto-punk album I've ever been incredibly impressed with. I just listened to it three days ago. SHIT, how come none of this bands imitators even TRIED to come up with something this explosive? Even Raw Power and Fun House don't achieve this level of energy.

Now, granted, you kinda have to put yourself in the shoes of those who were AT the concert in 1968, with the wintry wind howling outside, the temperature well beyond eighty degrees inside, the condensation pouring off the warehouse walls, the sweat pouring off everyone, the girls in miniskirts gyrating everywhere, the incense and spotlights going absolutely nuts, and most of all, this nitro-packed, energy-filled conviction that this music and entire political movement would change the world and touch off the revolution (and you would probably get laid several times over that night). Hence the ridiculous "licking" noises in "I Want You Right Now"--the only true low moment on the album.

Huh. I like it. I give it at least a 9, maybe a 10. Probably a 9-- "Starship" doesn't end with a bang like it should have. But screw the end. A landmark of chaos in rock, this LP is. And makes you feel many times younger.
The lyrics on this album are pretty hilarious if you listen closely. My band's been rehearsing the title track, and I figured it needs better lyrics (I was inspired by the Presidents of the United States of America's rendition). Here's some kickass alternate lyrics to "Kick Out the Jams"

Well I'm gonna rock the stink outta my socks
And I'm groovin'
And we got the juice put your balls in a noose
So get movin'
We're the long hard band you can hold in your hand
Shake shake shake us up all over the land
We got a message to send....
We gotta kick out the jams, yeah, kick out the jams

Well we roll into town ain't no messin' around
Cause we're rockin'
And we turn up the amps and we fill up our pants
With the music
Put our shit through the speakers and into the sky
Bouncin' off the planets, then we're gonna try
To rock you again...
We gotta kick out the jams, yeah, kick out the jams

Rock on!
Whoops. Correction: It's not the only punk album I like. Los Angeles, Damaged, and Zen Arcade kick ass as well. Damn, I'm senile.
I'm still kicking myself for choosing "Kick Out The Jams" over "In the Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson, when a producer friend of mine was giving away his dads records. I chose it because I read somewhere that this album was a big influence on some of my hard rock and punk rock heroes. The sound and production on this record is not very good, but the energy and the power of the band can be felt. The introduction is kind of cheesy with the announcer talking like a preacher to the crowd.

The opening number "Rambling Rose" starts off strong until the falsetto singing chimes in,but you get used to it eventually. The best cut is the title track. Everything else is hard rocking, but because the mix is off, you can only appreciate so much due to the remaining tracks sounding like carbon copies of one another. The record grows on you over time, much like kudzu. 6 or 7 stars

and I'm being very kind..
And I'm back.

TEN, goddammit. Ten ten ten ten ten ten. Mark P., you've gone over the edge!

Once you were living on it, but Aerosmith evicted you. Bastards. Sell-out fuckin' soccer-mom-idolized bastards. They should choke on their own arcade game. (which sucks the dick, incidentally)

This album rules, roars, tears, bears, and hairs. Hares? heirs. It is the ultimate celebration of noise, and the Stooges ain't even close. Listen to it and go deaf from the jams. Def Jams--Christ I'm hot tonight!!
Are you off your meds dude? 4 outta 10! The record was significant you must agree.
Who the hell cares about significance? This is 2009, and 30 years after the fact all I really care about is how it sounds. And while the misplaced self-righteousness is thick as butter, the sound and energy here is kicking some serious ass. There's really not much special about this album - it's just loud, aggressive, noisy blues rock. Hell, the vocalist isn't even that good, but this is rock (or punk, proto-punk, whatever you want to call it), and he's shouting at the top of his lungs and that's all that matters. Except when it sounds like a poor imitation of Jim Morrison... but you get over it.

A 4 is too low - you can't really be wrong in music, but you're wrong mr reviewer man. But neither is this a damn classic - the band isn't exactly top notch, the politics are laughable (although anti-establishment is always a good thing...), and the songs aren't anything special. It's just a bunch of sweaty, horny young people in Detroit wanting to have a good time. So, I give it an 7, cuz while the band isn't exactly top notch, they sure know how to pump some volume. And how! Hmm...

Anyways, this album is best played all the way through. I can't pick out any real favorites, since they all sound more or less the same (except the last track). I see no variation in mood or attitude at all; but that's ok! Again, with the exception of the last track. Which is weird as hell. I don't know how to talk about "musique concrète" - it always seems random enough that anybody is justified in either loving or hating it. But I like it. Except for the vocals in the middle. Ugh!

This is worth hearing if you want early loud, aggressive rock. I mean, this is fucking abrasive for 1969 - but even now it's pretty in-your-face.
When I was a young lad and wannabe guitar wizard I went in search of albums that would magically transform me into such a creature. I found Kick Out The Jams in a Goodwill album bin, the cover looked cool so why not? I never really even heard of the MC5 until then and when I put the album on the turntable of my parents HUGE Emerson stereo console I was blown away!!!! What do I want on my "shit sandwich" sir??? Well more of this shit because this IS the shit!!!

LOUD distorted feedback laden guitars, fast and bluesy solos, dangerous lyric content. Tipper Gore probably listened to this album the first time she got high and felt so guilty about it later that she started the p.m.r.c. LOL. The MC5 were ahead of their time and clearly influenced a lot of the greats that came after!!! How many times has the title track been covered??? Dozens at least!!! My favorite being the Henry Rollins and Bad Brains remake metal to the core!!!

Add your thoughts?

* Back In The USA - Atlantic 1970 *
Rating = 10

The Ramones must have LOVED this album! The songwriting is exactly the same! Early 60s catchy teen/high school rock with hooks galore. The only difference is that it's less speedy and doesn't have those choogling locomotive fuzz guitars. And it's not about sniffing chainsaws and beating on the basement. And five million other differences. Otherwise, it's EXACTLY liike my beloved Ram Jam.

Did somebody say "liike"? Because I sure "liike" Takahashi Miike!

Thank the Gods of Sweet Mercy that this album sounds like a COMPLETELY different band than the talentless marijuana goons that wrote Kick Out The Big Colorful Shorts From The Mid-80s. Where that album was muffled up, loose, smudgy, heavy, boring shit-grunge, Back In The USA is stripped down, tight, crisp, light, catchy rock and roll. Like 60s garage rock or early The Sweet! Excellent mix too, with guitars rockin' rollin' and no heavy metal bloozmerising for miles. They sound white! Completely white! And non-sweaty! No soul, blues or r'n'b -- Just Dave Clark Five goodness. And the hooks are hook-tastic! Vocal hooks, guitar hooks, captain hooks, yeah! Like a whole album of classic 60s singles A-sides! Have you heard The Real Kids from the late '70s? Of "Do The Boob" fame? They took their entire sound from this album. The only remnants of Kick Me In The Balls are the vocals: though whatsisname Johnson isn't trying to sound like a soul brother anymore, he does still sound manly, long-haired and bare-chested. Like Mark Farner of Grand Fuck!

Dude, I just came up with a great joke. The kind of joke usually reserved for Knights, like Sir Bill Gates and Sir Han Sirhan. Check out this gag: Let's say you never finished college, but you're applying for a job as the President. The night before the interview, stare at your belly button for about half an hour. Then when you get to the interview the next day, if the bitch boss lady asks you, "Did you go to college?," you can honestly answer, "Yes, I studied at the Navel Academy!" See? This is why I make the big bucks and you just give them hand jobs. Ha! Hilarious deer sex humor!

Only TWO of these 11 songs would have fit at all on the last record. The others are so filled with gleeful Eddie Cochran glee, you'll be singing "High School - high high high! High School - sis-boom-bah!" til the tough kids in class laugh your face off with a machete. Was ANYBODY playing music this proudly nostalgic and carefree way back in 1970? I realize Sha Na Na were doing the '50s doowop thing, but they were considered a novelty act. MC5 did this because (I'd have to assume) they honestly LOVED the music of the early '60s! The energy, the handclaps, the double-guitar Chuck Berryisms -- and the thing is, they don't just co-opt the original rock and roll sound and imitate it. They create their own wonderful melodies to add to the canon. Dude, you GOTTA hear this record. Sandwiched between speedball covers of "Tutti Frutti" and "Back In The USA" are nine wonderful, WONDERFUL original tunes ranging from the "Whoo-oo! La la la!" high school glam rock of "Teenage Lust" to the absolutely gorgeous (and creative!) dual-guitar ballad "Let Me Try" to the Music Machine-style stomper "Looking At You" to the slightly-(and smartly)-altered Chuck Berry lick of "The American Ruse" to the political experimental throbber "The Human Being Lawnmower" to the clean sparkling bubblegum pop "Shakin' Street" to 2 too, et tu? Toe! The macho "Call Me Animal" is kind of a stinker, but try telling that to the Didjits. They won't listen; they broke up years ago.

Hey, check this out:

(*does something really cool*)

Pretty wild, eh? No, but seriously. I don't know how many people are like me in this department, but assuming it's even one, let me stress a point. Having owned no MC5 product aside from Kick Out The Jams for years and years, I always assumed that the band just sucked. This is NOT THE CASE. It is only their first album that sucks. Please give 'em another chance if you like good old-fashioned stripped-down rock and roll even a little bit, because on this record (and to a louder extent, the next one), they NAIL it. The vibe, the excitement, the youth. NAILED. They especially NAILED the youth. And you can too, if you move to Canada! Apparently the age of consent is 14 there.

Say! Does anyone else agree with me that Academy Award winner Hilary Swank should start going by the name "Ol' Skullhead"? She looks like a skull! I imagine to a certain degree we all look like a skull, what with the skull playing a fairly key role in the overall look of our heads, but she looks like she doesn't even have any skin or hair or anything - just a skull! And huge teeth to bite your dick off! That's actually how she gets most of her roles. By biting peoples' dicks off. Million Dollar Baby was originally about a guy boxer, but she bit the actor's dick off so they gave her the role.

And now Ben Affleck is totally FUCKED if he ever wants to go porno!

Reader Comments
Totaly agree with your opinion that the USA album is their best work. Totally agree that Kick out the Jams isn't as good as what people say...........i thought it was just me. The pressure of saying i'm not as fond of Kick out the james as i was of Back in the USA......ohh the pressure...i couldn't handle it ; Until now....where at last someone agrees with me !
Oh my god... i couldn't believe my eyes when i saw the grades. Kick out the jams is amazing. I really love the guitar tones, the messy noises and fucked up mix of the album, that was the idea, wasn't it? Come together and Borderline really make my day. As you said on your Yeah yeah yeahs review, you're really focused on the attitude of the band. The Sinclair era proved that you have to be so fucking stupid to pretend you're black and will beat out the honkies.... gimme a break, there are comedies making fun of that for ages, i agree on that one, but not on the rating. I just don't like Back in the USA... it's so fucking trebly and poppy ...Dave Clark??? Fuck me! I've always prefered high times over that one. Nevertheless i agree with some weakness of the band like the singer on the first album and the weak songs. Motor city is burning is irritating, but I just like Starship...and the lyrics...who cares? I don't.... I'm from Chile, i don't speak english but spanish. English for me it's just gibberish, i don't understand any of these words that I wrote... en serio... ves? ya se me acabo el ingles por hoy Mark... estoy en desacuerdo con las notas, pero me diverti leyendo tus criticas. Nos vemos, jote!
I think that this album needs to be viewed through the right keyhole. It doesn't seem to fit the mold of what we might call "proto-punk," or whatever, but it was very influential, and still rocks today. Do you think that if Kick Out the Jams were recorded in a studio it would sound more like this?
Dude, move to fucking Kansas. The age of consent is 16 down there.
*plays "Stray Cat Blues" at 11,000 volume*

(a couple months later)

Okay, that was a bad, bad, bad comment. I just actually listened to the album, and you know what?

Pretty good. Not bad. An 8 out of 10. But compared to the debut, boooooorrrrriiiinnng. Ech. I've never been a fan of trebly, light, crisp, happy catchy fum fum fum music unless it was Rubber Soul, and this thing is no exception. 11 light crisp happy songs that kind of rule, in a Hard Day's Night, My Generation, Chuck Berry is On Top kind of way, but as an LP, just goes in one lobe, is enjoyed while it lasts, and out the corpus collosum. As singles, these songs are good. As an album, Kick Out the Jams blows it (away).

Say. I noticed two things you seem to be hung up on on the previous album: 1.) The individual songs, and 2.) lack of rhythm section. Well, from my stand, Point, I always considered individual songs important, but ONLY as a means to an end. Perfectly possible to have an absolute majority of killer cassingles on an album but underwhelm with the LP as a whole, a la Weezer's debut or The Ramones. (Or Dookie! Ha! Ha! And everyone thinks I'm kidding! BUT I'M NOT!! hAhAhAhhhh!!) Anyway, the individual songs on Kick Out the Jams DO mostly suck--I've never been a big fan of the title track, unless it was covered by the Presidents of the United States of America--but overall, the whole thing is best regarded as one 40-minute-long fuzzy dissonant roar in 8 parts. That's generally the case with live albums anyway.

Second, rhythm section? Uh? Who in God's Book of Dissonant Noise destroyed the foundations of Western civilization with just BASS AND DRUMS?? (Except Prodigy--just switch the two words around.) (I'm kidding, by the way.) Call me a crazy horse, but I think only the guitar is capable of the noise- shredding ability necessary to render normal rock and roll strictures obsolete. In such a situation, who NEEDS precise loud drums? Personally, I think . . . And Justice for All "rocks" harder than Master of Puppets, but everyone bitches about the bass and drums there. All about the guitar, man. Guitars guritas gtusiar gsraiug guaisausihaag ggg gOO.

That's my "you-ripoff" for the day. Thanks!

Keep in mind, this is ironically coming from someone who doesn't even play guitar. I'm a singer, a bassist, and a piano player, yet I dig the srauitg. What, am I smoking? That's a question for us all. Believe it, kid.
Heh, I also love Takashi Miike! Have you seen City of Lost Souls?

No but, I totally agree with your review. I think Back in the USA is probably the most brilliant rock album ever recorded. It reconciles three generations of rock n roll music up to that point. It's the ultimate album for midwest car loving blue colar folk who were waking up to the Vietnam war. The album being bookended by two classic rock n roll tunes, the latter proudly proclaiming, "I'm so glad I'm living in the USA" while having another song called "The American Ruse" is a brilliant idea. Plus the album is filled with relatable teen anthems. "Call Me Animal" reminds me of drive in cave man b-movies, don't ask me why. There was a point where I listened to this album in my car over and over again and it's easy too since, when the Chuck Berry tune ends, it segues right back into the Little Richard tune which segues right back into the album.

Add your thoughts?

High Time - Atlantic 1971
Rating = 8

It's High Time. To draw the line. Put an end to this game - before it's too late. HEAD GAMES! Don't wanna play no HEAD GAMES! And I can't take it anymore. HEAD GAMES! Instead of making love, we play HEAD GAMES! Oh! HEAD GAMES! In the first degree! HEAD GAMES!

Yes, Foreigner was the greatest rock and roll band in history, but so were many other lesser-known talents, such as Detroit's MC5. Yo, check this shit out - "This is M.C. Five rockin' the mic/Bustin' out the rhymes while the shizzles ride a bike - Word to your mother!" If they'd REALLY known what was good for them, the MC5 would have invented rap music. Boy did they blow that one. I bet they're still kicking themselves over that fuck-up. Dipshits. Stupid fucking assholes (S.F.A.).

You know that Pixies song "I've Been Tired"? Holy cripes, can I relate to that. Not only am I constantly losing my penis to a whore with disease, but it's just getting harder and harder to drag myself out of bed each day, let alone keep my eyes open at work. What is the issue here? Am I not getting enough sleep at night? Am I taking too many of those funny pills before bed? Am I just bored to tears with air? Somebody prescribe me some speed! Mark E. Smith uses it and he's as beautiful and lucid as ever, so might you direct me to your nearest corrupt doctor?

High Time is sort of a cross between the first two records, sort of. A cross between the first two records (sort of), High Time combines the sweaty heavy grunge '70s macho rock sound of KOTJ (GREAT radio station, by the way) (if it exists and is any good) with the old-fashioned rock and roll songwriting of Born In The USA. The result is a heavy blues-influenced rock and roll album with eight lengthy tracks that sound to today's ears like a cross between Grand Funk and the Black Crowes. Basic heavy early '70s rock, in other words. But hooky too! Would fit nicely next to your Bloodrock, Foghat and Steppenwolf albums.

What's that you say? You say you don't own any Bloodrock, Foghat or Steppenwolf albums? You say that you're 15 years old and don't have any interest in listening to your "father's music"? Well, check this out then, Jack: High Time would also fit in quite well next to your Mudhoney, Nirvana and Soundgarden records. Heh heh. Yeah, showed you. BURNED you.

What's that you say? You say you don't own any Mudhoney, Nirvana and Soundgarden records because you're 15 years old and don't have any interest in listening to your "father's mistress's music"? Check this out then -- High Time would fit PERFECTLY next to your And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Super Furry Animals and Mars Volta albums.

I mean sizewise. The CD is roughly the same size as those shitty pieces of shit you young people listen to. (*has old person heart attack, falls down steps, drops cane, mistakes neighbor for an actor from the '30s*)

From the boogie woogie piano and slightly altered (and IMPROVED!) Chuck Berry fuzzy guitar decisions of "Sister Ann" to the Faces-style southern rock of "Baby Won't Ya" to the lovely organ/arpeggio/reverbed drums/piano soul ballad "Miss X" to the speedy Yardbirdsy 12-bar blues-rock "Gotta Keep Movin'" to the tough, angry, bluesy fuzz rocker "Future/Now" to the nervous, simmering rocker and hippy poem of "Poison" to the super-poppy political rocker "Over And Over" to the catchy as hell guitar line and horn section of "Skunk (Sonicly Speaking)." That's my opinion. Also, tits are big.

After the MC5 broke up, Wayne Kramer recorded an album for Epitaph, Fred "Sonic" Smith married Patti "Godawful" Smith before passing away at a tragically early age, and the singer guy O.D.'d on life itself. Such is the world of rock and roll.

Also, the rhythm section got swallowed by a fat nasally pig and recorded several albums under the name "Phil Collins."

Reader Comments
Very interesting band. In my opinion, the MC5 is best appreciated when all 3 albums are laid out in a row. It's the progression. We mortals can only tremble at the promise. As badass as the Stones, as magical as the Fabs, they could have done anything... except for doin' all those drugs.
Ah, Mark ... finally a MC5 page. And man, I have to hand it to you for praising "Borderline" and "High School" ... those are far and away the two worst songs this band ever recorded.

Yeah, KOTJ is a mess, but that's what's so great about it. It wasn't about hooks, it was about the vibe. What were you expecting from a drugged out late 60's punk band? Listen to the live Stooges stuff. Not exactly what one could call tight or focused. I say it's a 7, for ambition, and the basic fact that there isn't much that came before this that can touch it. The title track, "Rocket Reducer," "Rambling Rose" and at least half of "Starship" are mindblowingly good.

Anyone else notice the Mooney Suzuki (hey, there's a band that owes their entire sound and career to the almighty 5) copped both the gutar riff AND vocal melody/cadence from the title track for their "In A Young Man's Mind" abortion? Pathetic.

"Back in the USA" could use some bass in the mix. And the doo-wop song grates after a few listens. Still, how many two-chord songs are better than "Looking at You?" Sonic Smith quoting the Battle Hymn of the Repulic or whatever at the start of the solo on "American Ruse?" Badass. This one's more of a cohesive album than either of their others, but it's over too quick, and there's definitely some filler.

"High Time," though, is far and away the most developed, fully realized album in their catalogue. Is there a better opening one-two punch than "Sister Ann" and "Baby Won't Ya?" I can't think of one. Well, maybe "Mambo Sun" and "Cosmic Dancer," or "Sailin' On" and "Don't Need It," but that's not the point. Here's where the experimentation and songwriting come together, and it's a monster of an album. Shit, even the fucking drummer wrote a great tune for it.

As far as semi-legit releases go, the "Starship: Live at the Sturgis Armory" and "Motor City Meltdown" live releases are well worth hunting down, and there's some really cool shit on the "Babes in Arms" psuedo best-of, which has their first 45's, including a super-raw version of "Looking at You" and a badass Van Morrison cover.

Kick Out the Jams - 7
BUSA - 8
High Time - 10
Babes in Arms - 9
Starship - 7
Motor City Meltdown - 9
sorry you have problems writing a legitimate historic overview of a band with significantly greater talent than your own; adding half-assed "jokes" must be your defense mechanism in an attempt to blur the obvious fact that your writing is of poor quality--any asshole can be a "critic", but one must prove one's own abilities to find credulity among others. keep wanking off, maybe you'll get it right someday.

bonze Anne Rose Blayk
"Young men dyin' for democracy, sacrificed for mediocrity!"

... I don't need to put on the record or resort to YouTube to remember those lines, or the whole damned album for that matter, to which I have not listened in about 40 years. Ditto for Back In the USA.

As for Kick Out the Jams... Are you right? YOU ARE RIGHT! It sucks! And you know, I don't believe that I ever listened to it all the way through. ... and since I'm not a rock critic or a musicologist (or a sociologist, for that matter) I never felt obliged to do so.

...I feel like there's some kind of conformist pressure at work here to profess that Kick Out the Jams is, like, wow, great!

Like, for example: everybody's supposed to go Ooh! Aah! GENIUS! ... at the mention of Lester Bangs' name. But really, he's a shitty/sloppy writer, he's a "pro" who ground out crap reviews for a "living", he didn't really know that much about music, and among the totally great and awesome stuff that he liked (Angry Samoans, right? He got what became "Live at Rhino Records" into the Pazz & Jop poll!) there was some dreadful dreadful godawfully bad dreck. Metal Machine Music? The Godz? CRAP.

Oh, and Bangs is not funny. Not in the least. He scores a ZERO on the Blayk-O-Meter, which is really all that matters to me anymore. (You yourself are rating about 8/10; but that's good, because 10/10 is The Killer Joke; all humanity dies laughing at the humor infectious of Truth-in-Jest!)

I can imagine the scene at Creem: A voice with an edge of desperation: "Look, I know the album sucks; but we'll place a full-page ad in Creem every month if you give it a good review!" "Metal Machine Music? Sure; I'll write it up; it's a work of art, true genius at work; just throw in a case of Romilar for me, alright?"

Richard Meltzer, OTOH, is a genius, largely unsung (except by Buck Dharma and cover bands innumerable; another matter entirely from the universe of WP:RS). He's a person who, I rather suspect, drank excessively because even when around people who are nearly as smart as he is (e.g., me), they usually don't get IT (unlike me!). I'm not quite sure exactly what IT is... but I'm pretty sure that's the whole point of being a faux philosophe, no? (And his liquor reviews in Creem were awesome!) Maybe if Dick had got himself killed in some spectacular fashion his name would be cherished? (Maybe not!)

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Kick Out The Jams DVD - Music Video Distributors 2005
Rating = 6

Leave it to Music Video Distributors to take an album as terrible as Kick Out The Jams and somehow manage to make an incredibly entertaining DVD out of it. What the DVD does, see, is it puts the MC5's early, shitty sound in context, in such a way that you can even understand what people would SEE in the boring, simplistic crap they put on their first record (incidentally, their second and third albums are really, really great, so don't think I'm an MC5 'playa hata'). Forget the music and dig that huge-afroed lead singer, cooler-than-all-hell-looking Wayne Kramer (who interestingly looks a LOT like the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne did when he was younger - and both are DEAD RINGERS for Wayne Newton!), and all sorts of great sweaty exciting jumping up and down and thrashing all around and throwing instruments up in the air and smashing drums and just whacking the crap out of everything. Like George Bush singing in the shower, they were musically a complete bore but visually exciting as hell!

Not only that, but the DVD interpolates the cool concert footage (from a few different shows - one inside, one outside and I think there's another inside but who the hell knows) with other telling footage from the era -- anti-Vietnam protests, political pins and buttons, t-shirts, hippy freakers, free love in the Park, marijuana, etc. -- in such a way that the two-chord crap-smash volume blasts of "Come Together" and "Ramblin' Rose" actually make sense to a modern-day audience that isn't completely bombed out of its universal mind on CIALSD. Plus, the DVD makers were kind enough to include live renditions of "Looking At You" and "Shakin' Street," two tracks from the far, FAR superior Back In The USA LP, a must-own album if ever the Musical Earth saw one prior to The Ramones' 1976 invention of rock and roll.

The bonus material is just 20 minutes of elderly John Sinclair in 2003 belching and talking about the old days though, so don't feel compelled to sit through that crap. If I wanted to see old people with gas, I'd go to a Sonic Youth concert, thanks!

That was me "cleverly" putting down Sonic Youth. Pretty wild. Do they give out awards for "400 billionth person to commit the same act"?

Reader Comments
hey, I looked over your MC 5 page and noticed, at least what I would describe, as a glaring omission. Have you heard '66 Breakout? It's an officially licensed collection of garage era, pre-Kick out the jams mc 5 stuff with an early version of "Looking at You" and a whole bunch of early originals and covers plus a neat essay from Wayne Kramer about the mid 69s and said tracks. I figured, since you're a thorough discographer, you might want to look into it. Furthermore, the lyric to "high school" isn't "High School high high high" it's "High School, rah rah rah" like in a pep rally, which is why the next part say, "sis boom bah".
edslau mentions '66 Breakout, this has been supplanted by a fabulous Kramer-sanctioned box set off the french motor city-craze lable Easy Action called "Purity and Accuracy," which collects three whole concerts, one of which sounds like KOTJ without the studio tinkering (actually recorded a few weeks before)and with their R&B and free jazz overs intact as they pretend to be Negroes ("I'm Mad Like Edridge Cleaver", e.g.); a hilarious excerpt from a show where they're playing at a Polish lodge in their larval days, with Tyner giving a great wedding band bit of outro patter, they're staggering A-Squared Records singles from 1966 (You have not actually heard the 5 at their best until you've heard this version of Looking at You -- it cruises along like interesting Yardbirds rip-off, until the guitar break, which comes from a musical universe people would not start exploring for another 20 years, one of the most amazing pieces of noise ever captured on plastic and totally omitted from the re-make), a bunch of crappy demos and some great pix and liner notes. Totally worth buying used on Amazon

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