Their 1969 debut, Kick Out The Jams is explosive as an introductory handshake to MC5. Appearing mainly ahead of its time as a period piece to the end of flower power from the ’60s, Kick Out The Jams is reflective of their Detroit metallic background with industry and machines that clash together.
The opening track, “Ramblin’ Rose” resembles a protest in the first moments, becoming a conception of shouts and screams when MC5 steps behind the stage’s curtain. Lead vocalist Rob Tyner is similar to Cyrus from The Warriors as he describes, “I Wanna hear some revolution… The time has come for each and every one of you to decide whether you are going to be the problem or whether you are going to be the solution.”
When the musical front comes into the speakers, MC5 was led as an instrumental four-headed monster from Wayne Kramer on lead guitar, Fred Smith on rhythm guitar, then Michael Davis on the bass. Finally, there is Dennis Thompson on the percussion; leaving Tyner to cover the vocals and shouts primarily.
The title cut, “Kick Out The Jams” feels as if The Stooges left their guitars in the same back room. The lead rhythm from Kramer is so similar to Ron Asheton’s style of play that it is easy to see where the inspiration came for records like Fun House or Raw Power especially. MC5 is electrifying and on all fronts, an enthralling band that captures the ears from the first moments of those hard crashes and mixes of sound coming together.
Fast, reckless, and surprisingly intricate, “Borderline” is an example of off-beats and musical style that plays off to be strange. It is hard to catch the rhythm and the frantic changes in both time signature and tempo keep the audience on their feet and moving, but still fully encapsulated by the band.
MC5 takes “Motor City Is Burning” and forces these political aspirations into this crowd-capturing eruption of speeches that transfer into a blues heaven for performance. The slow crawl to the six-minute-long track becomes a protest piece that covers subjects like Vietnam, cops, and rebellion.
While never forcing an idea into the head, Kick Out The Jams is an album built entirely off the strength of emotion and attachment to creation. Where MC5 thrives is in its delivery and ability to survive within this classic rock statement of innovative and integral sculpting.