Saturday, September 13, 2008

The first time I heard the MC5

This is one of my formative experiences...

I was working at Hastings (an old entertainment store in Springfield, MO) and there was this really cool guy name Chris who worked there. He was a few years older than I was, (I was 21) and way more knowledgable about music than I was, but I was trying to play cool with him. We were talking about stuff and the topic wandered over to Henry Rollins and I was like, "Oh, I love 'Kick Out the Jams' that song rocks" and he looked at me kinda funny. He says, "You've heard the MC5 version right?" like he's afraid of my answer. I said, "Huh?" He jumped up and down, and was yelling, "Oh my God! Wait till close! You're about to get an education!" I had absolutely no idea what I was in for.

The store closed...half the lights were out, and from the huge soundsystem in the store I hear, "KICK OUT THE JAMS, MUTHAFUCKA!" and it was bliss from there on out. Suddenly I was launched into this whole new world of ROCK that was different from what the mainstream rock was that I was listening to. I didn't know anything but while I was standing there in the book section, mouth agape, soaking it all in, I thought, "I must have more of this." (I'd been listening to Radiohead a lot) To hear the MC5 for the first time like that was like the Heavens parting and the voice of the Almighty saying, "Let there be Rock!" (like in the AC/DC song) just for me.
I had heard rock before, but it was cold and empty. This had swing and was loose but tight all at the same time. The bass was what sucked me and swirled me around and pulled at my gut. The howls were unparalleled and the mix allowed me to imagine they were just on the roof rockin' the house down. I wish everyone coulda had that experience. It's a great one.

So, thank you, Chris for tearing me away from the shoe-gazers and the imitators. Thank you for an experience I will never forget. Thanks to you, I'll be in the nursing home, with Alzheimer's, happily screaming "Kick out the Jams Muthafucka!"

jae - 2006

1 comment:

Sugar Britches said...

I can't tell you how much I miss Hastings. My best friend and my step-sister both worked there and hardly a week goes by that I don't wish we still had that silly store!

...even though that thought really has nothing to do with your post.