Off With the Man Buns and Kick Out the Jams With Run Out Groove's MC5 Compilation!

The new reissue record label Run Out Groove recently launched with a limited to 2668 copy edition of a gloriously noisy, high energy MC5 compilation sourced from the group's Elektra and Atlantic catalogues. The Detroit-based group (The Motor City Five), which made music that was an invigorating amalgam of garage rock, punk rock and blues with a hint of progressive jazz thrown in, released but three full length albums during its less than a decade long run.

Controversy swirled around the group, beginning with "manager/guidance director" and White Panther Minister of Information John Sinclair's radical politics and debut album liner notes, and ending with its quickly destroyed relationship with Elektra Records because of the group's signature song "Kick out the Jams" (which was also the debut album's title).

The song features the line "kick out the jams motherfucker!". Because of the obscenity, Hudson's, the Detroit-based department store chain refused to stock the album (a live set engineered by Bruce Botnick). The group ran a print ad in a local newspaper that included the Elektra logo headlined "Stick Alive with the MC5 and Fuck Hudson's". Hudson's responded by pulling from its shelves all Elektra records and when Jac Holzman saw the ad, he dropped the group.

The group then signed with Atlantic and released two albums, the Jon Landau produced Back in the USA, which was way toned down and didn't do well either critically or at the record stores and High Time, which though better received was poorly promoted and sold equally poorly. Atlantic dropped the group and by 1972 it was no more.

After problems with drugs and jail time, guitarist Wayne Kramer went on to a successful solo career with albums on Epitaph records, while the group's other guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith eventually married Patti. He passed away way too young in 1994.

However, the group and its three records were profoundly influential on the punk rockers of that decade and beyond—from black rockers Bad Brains to Jack White. This compilation includes live tracks from the group's debut (including the uncensored "Kick Out the Jams") and selections from both Atlantic albums. This is the kind of stuff Little Steven plays on his "Little Steven's Underground Garage" Sirius channel 21 and even though that channel's music is high energy, when MC5 music plays it kicks it up a few notches.

The sound here, which appears to have been sourced using the original tapes, but of course digitized (at least the tape box images on the insert lead one to believe that) is raw and super- transparent. You're not buying this for "audiophile sound" but for its ability to get your adrenalin rushing.

For oldsters its a reminder of the insane energy white kids used to be able to burn as they musically expressed their contempt for what they saw all around them. For youngsters, perhaps it's a message to cut off your fucking "man buns" and go out and kick some shit. Your future is burning and you're busy coiffing your hair in a knot!

Great packaging featuring a foil covered Stoughton Press "Tip On" jacket with transparent/colored vinyl pressed at Record Industry add luster to this powerful reminder of a dangerously exciting time.

StonedBeatles's picture

I'm sure this beats the Rhino (whom I believe owns this label) CD compilation "The Big Bang" by far, however, the comp "Babes In Arms" (originally a RIOR cassette release) is the Go To MC5 compilation hands down. Being pressed on what I believe to be colored vinyl this may be a fun addition.

Dorian Workman's picture

"...cut off your fucking man buns and go out and kick some shit"!

That's the best line you've ever written! The music clearly had you riled up!

Soapbox Sound's picture

Let me tell you 'bout Wayne and his deals of cocaine,
a little more every day
holding for a friend til the band do well
then the DEA locked him away

pmatt's picture

This shit will make you question your hi fi investment!

Fsonicsmith's picture

I am very happy to see this. I have gone by this moniker on various fora involving multiple interests for thirty years. Along with MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges paved the way for American Punk.

Glotz's picture

I will ALWAYS look good doing it! Pony tail, freak flag or G-D buns... it don't matter to me!

And you WILL complement my looks as I kick that shit!