Kick Out the Jams



by DesolationRow USER (80 Reviews)
October 8th, 2005 | 37 replies

Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

The MC5- Kick Out the Jams

“Brothers and sisters, the time has come for you to make a choice. Are you going to be part of the problem or the solution. It is time to testify. And brothers and sisters, I want to know, are you ready to testify" I give you our testimonial, The MC5!”

The MC5 were always a controversial band. And they should’ve been. It took a lot of nads to even try what the MC5 succeeded at. But while being raw, loud, obnoxious, and always an opposition of the government, the MC5 were not anarchists. This is a somewhat redeeming quality in my eyes, as I view anarchy as being nothing more than a trend for little kids to follow and just looking stupid doing it. /hides However, not being anarchists didn’t meant that the band is not responsible for a movement that maybe pushed the genre of punk rock to a boosted start. In smaller words, without the MC5, punk rock simply would not exist. There has always been a contest between fans of early rock music. The question is, which Detroit band is better- The Stooges, or the MC5" Personally, I can’t answer that question, because my love for the two is equal. But for live performances, there is only one answer- MC5. Alongside the Stooges, the MC5 are widely considered as the forefathers of punk music. While not entirely being punk, more of a hard rock, the MC5 (stands for Motor City 5, as Motor City is known as Detroit, Michigan, the band’s hometown) brought everything dark and dirty into what seemed to be a picturesque, perfect, peaceful time. The bands use of profanity and rather vulgar subject matters were what ultimately built the foundation for the 70’s punk explosion. And when they were live, it was that much more intense. Lead singer, Rob Tyrell, with his unruly composition of thick glasses, large afro, and gapped teeth, fronted what is ultimately the most raw energy I’ve ever heard live.

This album, possibly being one of the most influential of all time on the genre of punk itself, is musically along the same guidelines as the Stooges, with powerful, raspy vocals, and crunching guitar riffs, with British-esque solos. But what amazes me is the raw energy of these rebellious rockers. If you read the liner notes included with the CD, you will see that the MC5 are not just a bunch of rebellious guys that started a musical riot. They are quite intelligent people with a purpose and a message in their music. And that was message the message the unmasked stardom, and brought all the grease and grime that penetrated through the glitz and glam to reveal the true, dark, and dependent side of rock n roll. I think by now, it’s safe to say that I am a big fanboy of rock music throughout the era of the 60’s and 70’s. But in all my classic rock nuttiness, I remain unbiased and opinionated, even to bands that I would sell my soul to. I would like to get off on the wrong foot for once, and say that the past three albums I’ve studied have had little to nothing wrong with them, and that includes this one. The songs on this album have very few weak points, and as an album, I must say this is one of the best I’ve listened to.

The very first song is a beauty in its own right. “Ramblin’ Rose” is anthematic from the first second when the wild chants of the crowd jingle on before the band pumps up the audience for the tune. “Ramblin’ Rose” is a very upbeat song, with a very catchy chord progression, but what makes it unique is Rob Tyner’s strange vocal performance. As opposed to his deeper, growly voice, the vocals are high pitched and raspy. But the bands back up vocals are very nice, and the addition of Wayne Kramer’s and Fres Smith’s dueling solos after every chorus is a pro. You’ll have to listen pretty hard to hear it, but the rhythm section is completely in the pocket, and the bass/drum part towards the end is killer. Judging from the fact that you hear a guitar solo in this one song alone, every twenty seconds, it seems this is a vocal/ guitar driven band to the extreme.

‘Right now, right now, it’s time to--- Kick out the jams, mother***er!’ The pure, uncut energy from ‘Kick out the Jams’ still awes me. By now, the majority of you have probably heard one version or another of this song, most notably Rage Against the Machine’s cover from their ‘Renegades’ album. But needless to say, nothing can come even close to encompassing the true rawness of the original. And the original performed live is even better. The bouncy riff and blistering vocals are, spite lots of imitation, one of a kind. The entire band shines through, not with complexity or technical ability, but with their ability to play from the heart. ‘Come Together’ is another loud song, and showcases more blistering guitar work. Rob Tyrell’s occasional ‘Come on mama, yes; yes’ captures the energy. His voice is strong, and to me, sounds very similar to a combination of Roger Daltrey and Jim Morisson. Feedback is your friend on this one, and if you don’t like it, learn to.

‘Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa)’ is one of the better tracks on the album, and epitomizes the energy of the MC5. ‘I’m a born a hell raiser, yes I am’ are the only words that can describe the band, and Tyrell’s soaring voice, combined with the dueling guitar solos, is what I’d like to describe as the epitome of a good rock band. The guitar work is maybe the best on the album, as well. But on the other hand, there is a rather boring track on the album. ‘Borderline’ starts with a great riff, and a blazing tempo, but it is too bland for my tastes, and Rob’s voice is annoying. But on the bright side, it’s only 2:50. And as far as I’m concerned, that is the only weak point on the album. What redeems ‘Borderline’ is what I might consider one of the best tracks on this live performance album, ‘Motor City is Burning’. What makes it so well liked is the fact that it sounds like nothing on the entire album. While every other song seems to be tumultuous and chaotic, ‘Motor City’ is laid back and bluesy, with some fancy, ambient guitar work. The bass is actually audible now, and the guitar solos are wonderfully melodic. Tyrell’s voice is somewhat harshly perfect for a blues song. Everyone just plays like their lives depended on it here, and the outcome is arguably the best on the album. ‘I Want You Right Now’ is a bit slower than the other songs, but still upbeat, and the guitar work is sweltering. But there are mellow points throughout the track, and seems to be the younger brother of its predecessor. Wayne also provides a counter voice to add some color to the quiet parts. But what closes the performance is the strange, ambient ‘Starship’ with its stop/start riffing and provocative lead work. What is most shocking about the song is its simplistic ambient section, only using guitars to provide the sounds. The drums are thunderous throughout the song, up until everything just seems to stop. Rob’s voice is spooky, and the Arabian-themed effects are very intense. This was truly a great way to end a great album.

Whether you are a classic rock fan or punk, rocker or activist, you will find a new place in your heart for a love of the MC5’s music. If you are a punk fan, you will find that the roots of your favorite genre lie in this band’s raw energy and message. Rock fans alike will see the talent of the band, and realize that Detroit was responsible for some of the most incendiary music on the planet. The MC5 and Stooges are tied in my mind, but when they do their thing live, there is only one obvious choice- The Motor City 5.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
October 8th 2005


Great writing.

Aaandd, wouldnt it be better to classify these guys as just "MC5", or do they need that "The"?

Ive just always seen their name as just "MC5" everywhere else.This Message Edited On 10.08.05

October 9th 2005


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Great review and cd, Rocket Reducer no. 62 taught me how to get women.

October 9th 2005


Here is your reply Twist ;) On another note, I remember Kick Out The Jams as my father was a sure fan of them.

October 9th 2005


good review

October 9th 2005


Good Review, good album.

December 21st 2005


Album Rating: 5.0

I love this album. I just have to be in the right mood to play it.

John Paul Harrison
April 21st 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Aaandd, wouldnt it be better to classify these guys as just "MC5", or do they need that "The"?

Ive just always seen their name as just "MC5" everywhere else.

Well, if memory serves me right, the MC5 means "Motor City Five". So, I'd suppose we'd refer the them as The MC5.

John Paul Harrison
April 21st 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

...and of course, the album is amazing. "Molten" doth be the adjective I would attach to such a record.

April 21st 2006


Don't particularly like this band.This Message Edited On 06.24.06

June 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review. This album blows me away that it was made '68! The MC5 were so ahead of their time. Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith kick mucho @$$!

June 24th 2006


They weren't that ahead of their time ... the Stooges destroy them on their worst day
and they were just months later.

Edit: Not that I'm saying the review didn't cover that ... just my two cents about the
whole thing.This Message Edited On 06.24.06

June 24th 2006


This is such a great album, Rambling Rose blew my ears off when i first heard it, i listened to that track about 5 times before moving on. Really good review too man.

June 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

The Stooges were only a short while later, but they wouldn't reach this level of loudness til Raw Power, or maybe Fun House. Their self titled album, however, isn't nearly as loud as this. If anyone was near this level on the live scale, I'd say it was the Who, with Live at Leeds. I would agree that the MC5 were ahead of their time, this is a fantastic album.

September 15th 2006


You're knowledge in politics in vastly lacking.

"This is a somewhat redeeming quality in my eyes, as I view anarchy as being nothing more than a trend for little kids to follow and just looking stupid doing it. "

Please read up in some Anarchist lit before making such statements. I am no expert in Anarchy, nor am I an Anarchist, but this line is very close minded.
This Message Edited On 09.15.06

September 22nd 2006


i need to get this and raw power by the stooges,.

June 15th 2007


It's Rob Tyner, not Tyrell. And the vocal sounds weird on Ramblin' Rose because Fred Smith was singing on it, I think. You can hear Tyner come in at the end.

dub sean
June 15th 2007


Wait, is this the same "Kick Out the Jams" as covered by Jeff Buckley and later Rage Against the Machine?

July 5th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

I know you asked it a year ago sean, but yes

September 8th 2008


I got this on vinyl Saturday and it hasn't left my turntable yet.

You can lay it down on me, momma
Any old time
We can shimmy so good
We'll both be stoned O-Mind
I'm irresistibly bad
The cooles' what am
Robin Tyner's the name
And I kick out the jamsThis Message Edited On 09.08.08

September 8th 2008



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