MC5, the Detroit hard rock band who paved the way for the likes of The Stooges, are back. Sort of.
Wayne Kramer, the group’s leader, has announced their return as supergroup MC50, also featuring Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron, bassist and long-time Rolling Stones producer Don Was, Kings X bassist Dug Pinnick, and Zen Guerrilla frontman Marcus Durant.
The Kick Out The Jams: The 50th Anniversary Tour marks half a century since the release of the MC5’s debut album, which will be plated in full, followed by an encore of other band classics that are expected to change every night.
“I will come to England, where some of the greatest live shows of my life were performed in the MC5, to play Kick Out The Jams again with these great musicians,” says Kramer. “Doing so is the best possible tribute to the legacy.
“To borrow from Claude Lanzmann, there will be ‘No Retirement and No Retreat’. Let’s rock.”
Kick Out The Jams was recorded live over two consecutive nights, Devil’s Night and Halloween, at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom in 1968. But, says Kramer, the album remains just as relevant as it was half a century ago.
“The message of the MC5 has always been the sense of possibilities: a new music, a new politics, a new lifestyle,” Kramer says of revisiting the LP. “Today, there is a corrupt regime in power, an endless war thousands of miles away, uncontrollable violence wracking my country — it’s becoming less and less clear if we’re talking about 1968 or 2018.
“I’m compelled to share this music I created with my brothers 50 years ago. My goal is that the audience leaves these shows mesmerized by the positive power of rock music. I’ve come to accept that we were a dangerous band. The music we made at that time represented something that said — we are part of a tribe, we are part of a bigger movement — and apparently it still represents that.”
Although Kramer is the sole original MC5 member in MC50, he believes the supergroup he’s assembled are up to the task of revisiting Kick Out The Jams.
“This band will rip your head off. It’s real, raw, sweaty, total energy rock and roll, like a bunch of 40-to-70-year-old ‘punks on a meth power trip’. I’m not interested in a note-for-note reproduction of a record you’ve known your entire life. The world has lived with these songs burned in amber for half a century, so we’re going for an energy blast to end all.
“Let’s bring the monster back to life with supremely talented musicians who will interpret it in their own unique ways.”
O2 and MC50 presale start on 2nd May, AEG presale 3rd May, and general onsale 4th May, 9am. For more details visit mc50th.com.
MC50 UK Tour Dates
9th November: Bristol Academy
10th November: Glasgow ABC
11th November: Manchester Albert Hall
12th November: Shepherd’s Bush Empire