MC5 – ’66 Breakout! – Review


’66 Breakout! (Total Energy)
by Jon Sarre

Before the hairy’n’political dope, guns & fuckin’ in the streets and High Times made ’em heroes of the rad left and enemies of the “man,” man, the legendary MC5 were just another somewhat wholesome pimply adolescent garage band playin’ junior high dances, BBQs, and bar mitzvahs. Hey, they had to start somewhere, right? Even better, this “just a rock band” phase document is the greatest 5 bootleg I’ve ever heard (with the exception of the live-in-the-studio-just-before-it-all-came-apart Thunder Express – available on import from the Spanish label Munster).

Early versions of “One of the Guys” and “Looking At You” (the former in its two and a half minute pop single glory, the latter a near seven minute grimy, sweaty live workout), are impressive even at the band’s formative stage (near two years, mind you, before Kick Out The Jams). Their covers (Sam the Sham, James Brown, Van Morrison’s Them, and Muddy Waters via the Yardbirds) are pretty much mid-’60s teen band nuggs, though the 5 dress ’em up with the extendo-instrumental jams which would later lead to the multi-multi minute “Starship” etc. Sun Ra, however, is not a concern here. Acne (which is implied by Wayne Kramer in his liner notes to be the “Breakout” referred to in the title) is, plus, of course, cars’n’girls. In 1966, John Sinclair, the White Panther Party and the Motherfuckers were as foreign to these guys as Viet Nam.
(PO Box 7112 Burbank, CA 91510)