Album no. 158/1001
It’s time to… KICK OUT THE JAMS with the MC5.
Short for Motor City Five, the MC5 tore up venues across their hometown of Detroit during a short-lived career from 1969 to 1972. Releasing 3 albums, this is their best-known and most raucous, recorded live at the Detroit Grande Ballroom.
This album was also the very first review critique-extraordinaire Lester Bangs wrote for Rolling Stone. Surprisingly, he didn’t like them very much.
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: KICK OUT THE JAMS MOTHER FUCKERS. That’s all I know.
NK: Not once. I too recognise the aforementioned phrase, but only from vague pop culture references, I couldn’t have told you where it came from.
CL: HOT. DAMN. EVERY SONG ON HERE IS A STANDOUT.
NK: Whaaaaaaaaaat hang about.
CL: I am LOVING this. ‘Come Together’ is so great. Obviously ‘Kick Out The Jams’. But there’s also ‘Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa’, and the closer ‘Starship’. OH IT’S SO GOOD.
NK: Just a couple of notes on ‘Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa’: one, it goes for five minutes and forty seconds, and two, starting at about the four minute mark it has one of the worst/pointless/self indulgent duelling guitar solos I have ever heard. BUT I quite liked ‘Motor City is Burning’ which is a long angry blues jam about Detroit. I didn’t mind ‘Kick Out The Jams’, and I like the really quiet/back at full volume bit on ‘I Want You Right Now’ but I definitely didn’t get into this as much as you.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: Well, it almost goes without saying but you need to listen to this SUPER loudly. It’s a live album, so you really need to create the right ambiance. And that ambiance is NOT GIVING A SHIT.
NK: I actually agree with this. ‘What do you want to listen to?’ ‘I don’t give a shit’. ‘HERE’S THE MC5.’
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: There’s a lot of debate about where the origins of punk come from. A lot of folk reckon it’s The Stooges – and I’m inclined to agree. But I don’t think you can discount the influence this album had on the genre. It’s so raw and there’s a fair bit of political angst behind the tracks.
NK: As much as I don’t think this is that good, I can see why it’s here. This is pretty loud and out of control. The punk influence is definitely there. Also I wonder if Deep Purple had been listening to ‘Starship’ when they wrote ‘Space Truckin’. Something like ‘I know, we could do this song but good’.
Will you be listening again?
CL: Absolutely, yes.
NK: I feel like one of the grumpy parents who thought that rock and roll was corrupting their kids, but I am not crazy about this album. I can definitely hear the difference between the MC5 and all the bands with good production, but I’m not convinced it needs to be this raw. Also I’m not convinced the songs are good enough to cover it. PROBABLY NOT.
Listen to Kick Out The Jams on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.