I enjoyed your article “The MC5 Movie You May Never See” in the April 23 issue of the Reader. It is something else of the controversy of Future/Now Films and Wayne Kramer and the release of this movie. However, I think one detail wasn’t reflected upon:
MC5 REALLY SUCKS!
Yep! I just made sure of that by listening to the only MC5 CD I have, Kick Out the Jams. I am writing this letter for two reasons: (1) to respond to any poor soul out there that thinks that maybe MC5 was this really great band that never got its proper recognition and now I have to waste my time and money finding and buying an MC5 CD, and (2) to respond to the historical revisionism going on with some people in the general media industry. MC5 in this article is noted as “legendary.” This comes after I can recall hearing somewhere that the 70s/80s pop throwaway band Blondie has made a comeback and are being somehow recognized as being trailblazers for New Wave.
What is next? Doing documentary films on Johnny Hates Jazz revising them into a death-metal band? Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians revised as gangsta rap? Spandau Ballet revised as a power blues band? I am 34 years old and have lived through the worst decade of popular music. MC5 may have been from a different generation but, not unlike Blondie, they simply suck. Please don’t dig them out of their graves to have them haunt the general population. As was aptly noted in the article, MC5 were “stooges” being used by their manager who tried to plug them into the leftist fashion chic militancy that was around post 1968. I grew up listening to Midnight Oil and the Clash, and listening to MC5 tonight, I am a little offended by their lack of sincerity.
I am sure David Thomas and Laurel Legler are good at their profession of making films. It is unfortunate that they had sunk a lot of time and money into this band. If they ever wanted to make another documentary about obscure but influential rock bands why didn’t they choose the Minutemen or Firehose?
If anybody is so desperate that they need to actually listen to MC5 please contact me before looking for a CD–I’ll gladly give you mine for free (email@example.com).
Black Francis can school Wayne Kramer any day of the week.
Brian Boyle, C.PP.S.