MC5 – Kick Out The Jams

17th January 2022 · 1960s, 1969, Music, Punk

The night I saw the legendary bass man from the legendary MC5 – and he didn’t play their legendary song, Kick Out The Jams.

I was in LA one evening in the late 1990s or early 2000s when my friend Michael told me that Michael Davis, the former bass guitarist in pre-punk legends MC5, was playing a show.

We jumped in his car and he drove through the worst thunderstorm I’ve ever experienced, aquaplaning along the freeway, until we reached some tiny little jazz club next to a Fatburger in a neighbourhood I didn’t recognise (please let me know Mickey Bee!).

The five-yard dash from the parking place to the door soaked us to the skin and we entered, dripping, to find the gig had started.

It was a small, intimate kind of place, so we settled ourselves on the only chairs we could see in the dim room – in the front row, a few feet in front of Davis, doing our best to remain unobtrusive.

I remember nothing about the music he played that night except that after half an hour or so of unfamiliar material, he inquired whether anyone had any requests.

I glanced around at the meagre crowd sitting silently behind me and, by now fully refreshed, decided to help him out by referencing the legendary opening words of his legendary band’s most legendary song (indeed, the only song I really know by them).

“KICK OUT THE JAMS MUTHAFUCKAS!!” I yelled enthusiastically.

The audience remained silent and Davis looked slightly startled by the sudden intrusion. He cleared his throat, looked down at his instrument, and played yet another completely unfamiliar tune to finish his set.

Then we drove home.