You may have noticed new addition at the Central Library as we move towards our enhanced automotive archives collection. We have a new art piece! A painted “car” that prominently features the band the Motor City Five (often shortened to MC5). Which made me wonder who are the MC5 were and why the artist painting this car choose to honour them?
The MC5 are, while not local to Windsor, from relatively close by. They formed in 1964 in Lincoln Park, Michigan. Rolling stone offers an excellent introduction to the band and calls them “the first ’70s band of the ’60s“All Music calls the MC5 “rock revolutionaries and progenitors of punk, with a musical and political stance that crystallized around sex, drugs, and rock & roll.” The band was affiliated with the White Panthers, a far-left, anti-racist organization, and the banned performed at anti-Vietnam War protests as well as protesting outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
The MC5 are best known for the song Kick out the Jams. The MC5 were primarily active from 1964-1973 and consisted of Rob Tyner (vocals), Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith (guitar), Michael Davis (bass), and Dennis Thompson (drums); the band got together again in 1992, shortly after the death of Rob Tyner in 1992. Fred “Sonic” Smith died two years later in 1994 and was survived by his wife, singer-songwriter Patti Smith. Short two founding members the group began performing again in 2003 with Rick Manitoba officially joining the band in 2005.
If you’d like to learn more about the MC5 please check out a copy Steve Miller’s book “Detroit Rock City: he Uncensored History Of Rock ‘n’ Roll In America’s Loudest City”; “Grit, Noise, and Revolution” by David Carsen; or the documentary Radio Revolution which includes MC5 band member Wayne Kramer.