Mike Skill was a founding member and prinicpal songwriter of the Romantics. It might be hard for people who only know the Romantics in blouses on MTV in 1983 to think of them as a Detroit punk band, but that’s what they were.
Casual music fans might not realize that Detroit continued to foster powerhouse rock and roll bands even after the Grande Ballroom closed its doors in 1972. Bookie’s was a gay disco that eventually became the home for Detroit punk. Destroy All Monsters, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, and the Romantics played there all the time in the late 70s and early 80s.
And now, all these years later, Mike Skill has teamed up with brother Wayne Kramer who lends his Detroit guitar pyrotechnics to something of a sequel to the MC5’s “Motor City Is Burning.”
See the workin’ folks doin’ their best
Risin’ up when they’re hard pressed
They’ll take matters in their hands
Don’t be surprised by the flames you fan.
The time has come for each and every one of us to decide whether we are going to be the problem or whether we are going to be the solution. Are you ready to testify?
Brother Wayne has been digging up and posting some very cool MC5 footage on YouTube. This clip is from a show at the Borough Assembly Hall in Aylesbury, England on Friday, February 11, 1972.
From the very cerebral British flyer for the gig: “The MC5 are America’s heaviest underground band and are famous for really laying it down with … a really exciting and visual show.”
Also on the bill was Skin Alley and Willy Barrett.
Fee for the concert was 65p!
A rare sighting of Fred in his Sonic Smith Suit!
What a band!
And now this fall Kramer and some friends will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of Kick Out the Jams with a tour called MC50. The lineup features Kim Thayil (Soundgarden, guitar), Brendan Canty (Fugazi, drums), Dug Pinnick (King’s X, bass), and Marcus Durant (Zen Guerrilla, vocals).
Unfortunately the only other surviving member of the original 5, Dennis “Machinegun” Thompson will not be there. Kramer clarified, “Dennis Thompson was indeed invited to participate in a series of @MC50th shows on this ‘Kick Out the Jams’ celebration tour. He has declined the invitation. As always, we respect his decision and we wish him health and happiness.”
Detroit Tango publishes the United States District Court’s Findings Of Fact And Conclusions Of Law (along with some pointed commentary) in the case that prevented the MC5 documentary, A True Testimonial, from being distributed.
The gist: the judge ruled in favor of the filmmakers.
The Honorable Andrew J. Guilford, United States District Judge, issued his ruling on March 31, 2007. My favorite “fact” is this one:
31. Defendants were first-time filmmakers who spent eight years of their lives trying to create a documentary film that would be historically truthful, a documentary that would celebrate the talent and creativity of the MC5 band, a documentary that would say something about the 60’s, and would say something about the present. They succeeded, and the film merits wide distribution for the enjoyment and edification of the masses.
I’ve seen the movie and I wholeheartedly agree with Judge Guilford: it deserves to be seen. Let’s hope everyone involved can set aside their differences and get this movie out to the people who need to see it. Hey Rhino, make it happen!
Like everyone who cares about real rock and roll, Glorious Noise loves the MC5. When it comes to good old sloppy punk rock, the MC5 pretty much wrote the book. Or at lease one of the early chapters. So when we missed the American leg of the first reunion tour of the surviving members (Wayne Kramer, Dennis Thompson and Michael Davis), we were disappointed. There was no other recourse than to fly to Europe to catch one of those dates. You gotta do what you gotta do.