The MC5 only released three albums, but they were ferocious, adventurous, and confrontational enough to secure the group’s place as one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll bands ever. This year is the 50th anniversary of the recording of the band’s incendiary debut, Kick Out The Jams, which was recorded live over two nights at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom in October 1968. To celebrate, Rhino will release MC5 TOTAL ASSAULT: 50TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION, a limited-edition boxed set that features all three of the band’s albums pressed on colored vinyl.
In addition, MC5 co-founder and guitarist Wayne Kramer will release his memoir The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities on August 14 before hitting the road with the MC50, an all-star band that includes Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, and Zen Guerrilla frontman Marcus Durant, as well as Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron on drums and super producer Don Was on bass at select dates. The group will perform Kick Out The Jams in its entirety, along with other MC5 classics.
MC5 TOTAL ASSAULT: 50th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION will be available on September 21 for $59.98. It includes Kick Out The Jams (red vinyl), Back In The USA (white vinyl) and High Time (blue vinyl). The albums come in sleeves that faithfully re-create the original releases, including gatefolds for Kick Out The Jams and High Times. All three are housed in a hard slipcase with new art and previously unseen photographs by world renowned photographer Raeanne Rubenstein.
The set also includes a new essay by Creem magazine founding editor/writer Jaan Uhelszki, who writes: “Turned loose on a bare stage, the MC5 were among the most awe-inspiring perpetrators of sheer bombast and rock and roll brinkmanship alive…They tore through the stuff they heard on the radio with a fierce intensity that transcended the original artists’ intent. Tunes by James Brown, Chuck Berry, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones vibrated at a higher frequency when the Motor City Five tackled them.”
Singer Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson came together as the MC5 in 1965. The band performed for several years before making its first record. The music on TOTAL ASSAULT shows why the MC5 is held is such high regard today with indelible tracks like “Kick Out The Jams,” “Human Being Lawnmower” and “Sister Anne.”