Category: kick out the jams

The Mono Men “Kick Out the Jams” and Girl Trouble “You Got What It Takes” 1996. Gearhead Records. This split 7″ came with an issue of Gearhead Magazine, back in the 90′s when they still did that (other issues included splits by bands like Gas Huffer, Red Aunts and Man or Astroman?). The Mono Men’s cover of MC5′s “Kick Out the Jams” is punked up, less funked-up and a bit more scuzzy than the original. I also prefer it to Girl Trouble’s “You Got What It Takes,” a cover of Dinah Washington’s “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)” that doesn’t translate well to the Pacific Northwest garage punk style of Girl Trouble.  

MC5 “Kick Out the Jams” 1969, recorded almost 50 years ago in October 1968 (unedited version). A couple of nights ago we saw Wayne Kramer perform Kick Out the Jams in its entirety at Turner Hall on the MC50 tour and what a show! One of the best concerts we’ve seen (and we’ve seen A LOT). We got spots right up at the stage (there were two tiny old women in front of me – shorter than I am which is saying something – hovering around 70 years old and they were so bad ass, complete with black leather and skull rings) so we took about a million photos and videos (I was so close to Wayne Kramer that my neck hurt from having to bend backwards as he was standing right over me).

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Kramer compiled an all-star alt-rock backup band who totally nailed the music and energy of the original MC5. Kim Thayil of Soundgarden killed it on guitar, replacing the legendary original Fred Sonic Smith.

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On bass was Faith No More’s Billy Gould (replacing original Michael Davis) and  on drums (replacing Dennis Thompson) was Fugazi’s Brendan Canty. On lead vocals was someone I’ve never heard until now, Marcus Durant of Zen Guerrilla, but holy shit – he was everything Rob Tyner was: messy and frizzy ‘fro’d, intensely soulful, flamboyantly bursting with energy and simply amazing. All those shoes were tough to fill and these guys did it and then some. 

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My friend Chris snagged the setlist after the show.

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The bulk of the show was a fairly exact recreation of the original Kick Out the Jams, MC5′s debut originally recorded in the fall of ‘68 at Detroit’s Grand Ballrooom. It hit #30 on the charts and the single “Kick Out the Jams” hit #82. The entire album – and concert – is dirty garage porto-punk at its absolute finest. Highlights of the show of songs from the album for me were “Rambling Rose,” “Kick Out the Jams” and “Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa).” Non-Kick Out the Jams songs at the show were “Shakin’ Street,” “Call Me Animal,” “Let Me Try” and “Looking at You” – all from MC5′s first studio album Back in the USA. My favorite of the night was “I Can Only Give You Everything,” originally by Them, and released by MC5 as their debut single in ‘67.