Considering just how ‘rough and ready’ this album is, I am surprised to see that it did well enough commercially to reach Billboard’s Top 40 list.
At this point in time, high energy, raucous rock and roll such as what you hear on “Kick Out the Jams” was pretty exclusively a Detroit thing (thus the band name MC5, for ‘Motor City’ 5). The band was an intoxicating blend of über-hippie politics, played with a ferocity that proved inspirational for fledgling punk rockers all around the world, including those who allegedly despised hippies (that means you, Johnny ‘Rotten’).
Anybody who did not embrace it feared it, and that was the point. The band sounds as if it ready to lead the revolution, even though they have no idea what they actually stand for, other than anti-war, pro-free love and pro-take any substance that comes your way. The music was pure catharsis, conveying simple anarchy as a political statement. It was impossible to take seriously, but it sure did make you pay attention when they performed live.
This album is a document of their live sound, and you can almost feel the physical effect that the MC5 had on American culture, and the huge backlash that they would provoke. “Kick Out the Jams” is the sound of the MC5 exploding, releasing all of their energy before the inevitable implosion that would dilute their raw power.
Featured tracks include;
Kick Out the Jams
Rocket Reducer No. 62
Motor City Is Burning
I Want You Right Now
February 1969 – Billboard Charted #30