Throwback Thread: The MC5

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Rapid fury surrounded nearly everything about The MC5. Their lives shows were nothing without it. Wayne Kramer and Fred Smith would stand on stage, shout drunken nonsense about revolution and the White Panther Party, then launch into crazy, proto-punk jams equaled in intensity by only a select few.

The band played a brash, stripped-down brand of rock that took the essence of things like Chuck Berry into angrier, louder, more sex-crazed territory. Their post-encore mystique followed suit. Members were wildly political, big fans of sex and drugs and flag-wavers for numerous underground '60s causes.

So you might not expect the softer side that comes through several times on Back in the USA, an album that's often overlooked by those touting the many merits of Kick Out the Jams. (Don't get me wrong: There are many.)

"Let Me Try" is a gem in the touching, teen-ballad format, long a staple of rock music. It shows the band's technical dexterity, their surprising comfort level in the studio and the simple, traditional ethos at the core of its sound.