One of my greatest claims to semi-fame/obscurity is the fact that I was present on the Zenta New Year in 1968 at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit when Kick Out the Jams was recorded. Recording took place over two nights and I was present at the first. The image of brother J.C. Crawford exhorting the crowd is forever etched …, etc. I was later a button-wearing member of the White Panther Party as it existed. That was how simple it was: “Want to join? Here’s a button, you’re a member.” Change society by any means necessary, but preferably sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
After all these years Creem magazine presents Kick Out the Jams a film by Leni Sinclair and Cary Loren. I was expecting a documentary on the history of the band, but in reality it is a series of still photographs and movies with a soundtrack of live performances by the MC5. There are psychedelic effects suitable for framing on the inside of your eyelids. The live performances are actually pretty good, ones I’ve not heard.
Any veteran of those years in Detroit will recognize various iconic images of the times. The DVD opens with shots of the Detroit waterfront and shots of the Ambassador Bridge. (Where, I might add, I viewed the beginnings of the riots of 1967 with a view of the fires on 12th and Clairmount from the walkway atop the bridge). Also making cameo appearances: Freddy “The Poet” Serber, Mr. James Osterberg, attorney Ken Cockrel, John Sinclair, The Spirit of Detroit statue, Wayne State University’s DeRoy Auditorium, and the Belle Isle fountain. Others, closer to the action as it were, will recognize their own mythical figures.
Viewing this on a big screen TV and a good sound system could possibly bring some of the experience of the MC5 to the viewer. But for the real experience you would have to use a time machine. God I’ve become an old fart.Powered by Sidelines