The MC5's Kick Out the Jams (33 1/3)

When the Motor City 5 stormed the stage, the band combined the kinetic flash of James Brown on acid with the raw musical dynamics of the Who gone berserk. It's a unique band that can land itself on the cover of Rolling Stone a month before the release of its debut album and then be booted from its record contract just a few months later. Rock had never before seen the likes of the MC5 and never will again.

Many of us who were floored by the 5 in concert were convinced that this was the most transcendently pulverizing rock we would ever experience, while many more who heard or read about the band dismissed the 5 as a caricature, a fraud, White Panther bozos play-acting at revolution. There was always plenty of humor to the 5—visionary knuckleheads—though the question was whether they were in on the joke. Frequently ridiculed during their short career, they've since been hailed as a primal influence on everything from punk to metal to Rage Against the Machine to the Detroit populist resurgence of the White Stripes, Kid Rock and Eminem.

Reviews from Goodreads.com

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By Dr. Detroit · October 13, 2009
Haven't read this book yet, but that won't stop me from prattling on about the album that forms the basis for it.

As Wayne Kramer so wryly observes in the mind-frying, so-good-it's-nearly-unfathomable, not-yet-released-on-DVD (SOMEBODY do something already!) documentary “A True Testimonial,” the S... ...more
By Beth (Austin, TX) · ★★★★★ · August 20, 2012
Don McLeese approaches this book is to begin with his personal experience with the MC 5 and how they changed his life as a young adult, and then moves on to elaborate on the MC 5 as a band and their history. The MC 5 were always a bit of mystery to me. There are certain recordings that I loved ri... ...more
By Guy (Belgium) · ★★★★☆ · January 29, 2008
The Stooges leerde ik redelijk vroeg in mijn muzikale ontdekkingstocht kennen, dankzij die niet te missen SEARCH & DESTROY op de rug van jeugdheld Henry Rollins, maar ik denk dat ik hun Detroitse collega’s van the Motor City 5 pas een paar jaar later te horen kreeg. Velen beschouwen die twee... ...more
By Andrew (Richmond, VA) · ★★★★☆ · May 26, 2008
This book doesn't talk much about the contents of the actual "Kick Out The Jams" album--though don't get me wrong, there are a few pages devoted to it. What it mostly focuses on is a social history and biography of the MC5 and their place within the broader context of the late 60s rock scene. In... ...more
By Chris (hove, I6, The United Kingdom) · ★★★☆☆ · February 03, 2010
A small(literally) but fairly in depth look at the time of the MC5. This band couldn't have been around at any other moment, they didn't sell many records, The Stooges their little brother band became bigger, but these guys set the tone for sonic garage rock and roll. The whole White Panther thin... ...more
By Ben (The United States) · ★★★☆☆ · April 29, 2008
in my opinion the book gets a little too into slagging Wayne Kramer at conclusion for reforming with the MC rhythm section to take the songs on the road again. Also, it is regrettable that the doc about the 5 called "A True Testimonial" was squelched but, again, the author doesn't seem interested... ...more
By Gregory (Tulsa, OK) · ★★★★★ · November 11, 2014
Great read. It really helped me understand the power and significance of the MC5. ...more
By Nathan (Austin, TX) · ★★★★☆ · July 06, 2009
Sometimes the writing of such books just makes the book all the more interesting. McLeese definitely made the material in this story come to life, and in doing so, made the album come to life for me all over again, though I feel as if I might not understand it quite the way he sees it. ...more
By Monica (Brooklyn, NY) · ★★★★☆ · August 24, 2012
A really nicely written account of the days of mayhem. Lots of excellent historical research. I probably will never consider this one of my favorite albums but that doesn't mean I don't think it's one of the most important in the history of rock. ...more
By David (Brussels, Belgium) · ★★★★★ · January 10, 2013
Surprisingly well written, which is kinda exceptional in the music book world. Highly recommended for early fans of the MC5. ...more