Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-x

The book that you hold in your hands is the second edition of a biography that was originally published in the UK in 2007. Sonically Speaking was the first book that I ever wrote, and I was delighted when the subsequent reviews in the British press were overwhelmingly positive (I believe the final...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

My introduction to the MC5, like many other people’s, came in the form of the song “Kick Out the Jams.” It’s the band’s anthem, their most famous song, and also the track that has been most frequently covered. In 1990 a film came out called Pump Up the Volume, starring Christian Slater. It was...

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1. In the Beginning...

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pp. 7-28

The MC5 could not have been born in any city other than Detroit. Aside from the fact that the Motor City gifted the 5 with their name, the band’s sound is as at home in Detroit as the Beach Boys’ sound is in California. The blue-collar, hardworking tradition of Detroit’s people has resulted in their tremendously...

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2. Ballrooms and Politics

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pp. 29-66

During the summer of 1966, an English teacher and local radio DJ named Russ Gibb returned to Detroit from San Francisco and, having been inspired by the success Bill Graham (rock concert promoter from the 1960s until his death in 1991) had transforming long- abandoned dance halls into...

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3. Kick Out the Jams, Motherfuckers!

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pp. 67-82

At this point in the tale, the MC5 was a regionally renowned band, politicized, notorious, and with a following to match. The stakes, however, were about to get considerably higher. During the fall of 1968, two journalists from the New York magazine East Village Other by the names of Bob Rudnick...

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4. Back in the USA

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pp. 83-102

With the album getting heavy rotation in Detroit, Elektra organized a tour, so that the band could become equally adored elsewhere in the United States. In December of 1968, they shared a bill for three nights at the Boston Tea Party with the Velvet Underground, a band that shares...

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5. High (and Low) Times

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pp. 103-128

With Sinclair locked away, it was only a matter of time before the White Panther party became inactive and eventually dissolved, but before they did, they shunned the MC5, as Kramer told Legs McNeil in Please Kill Me:...

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6. Hands Up If You’re a Punk

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pp. 129-136

The MC5 may not have made a big dent on the billboard chart, but culturally they would make an impact that had far greater significance. Four bands are generally considered the major precursors to the music we now know as punk: Detroit’s MC5 and the Stooges, and New York’s Velvet Underground...

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7. New Lives, New Orders, New Races, New MC5

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pp. 137-160

The MC5 was no more. So, the five members had to find other ways to fill their time. First man out Michael Davis recalls that he had a ready- made career carved out for him, however...

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8. Monsters and Rendezvous

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pp. 161-166

When Michael Davis found himself carted off to jail, Fred Smith continued to develop his new Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. The first significant step was recruiting former Stooges sticksman Scott “Rock Action” Asheton. The MC5 and the Stooges had grown up together, signed their...

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9. Dream of Life

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pp. 167-170

It was around 1976 that Fred Smith began a relationship with punk icon and poetess Patti Smith. The pair had met when Sonic’s Rendezvous Band opened up for the Patti Smith Group on a few dates. Patti was overjoyed to have met someone who she felt both emotionally and artistically connected to, and she...

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10. Working 9 to 5

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pp. 171-180

Without a permanent job to provide him with income, Wayne Kramer had to look for other means to make money. Speaking with me in 2006, he said,
I continued to lead a band in New York and do session work in New York, and there was a point there where I got so sick of being poor between being in bands and between gigs that I noticed every actor I knew had what they called a day job. I always...

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11. The Return of Citizen Wayne

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pp. 181-190

As the 1990s got into full swing, Wayne Kramer had a creative spurt, and so, with the help of Epitaph Rec ords, he began a solo career. Epitaph was founded by Bad Religion main man Brett Gurewitz, and it quickly became the place to be for pop- punk and hardcore bands like NOFX, Pennywise...

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12. The Future’s Here Right Now

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pp. 191-206

Midway through the 1990s, Future/Now Films director David Thomas and producer Laurel Legler began researching and putting together the idea for a documentary movie about the MC5 titled A True Testimonial. Seven years later, the film was ready for release. Advance screenings were...

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Conclusion

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pp. 207-212

It occurred to me very early on when planning this book that, as a thirty-one-year- old Englishman (still living in London) who had only ever interviewed two of the MC5 over the phone, I was severely lacking in experience, or more accurately, experiences with regard to this band. In order to alter this fact, I...

Images

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Selected Discography

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pp. 213-218

Bibliography

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pp. 219-220

Websites

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pp. 221-222

Index

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pp. 223-232

Back Cover

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