The MC5 and Social Change

A Study in Rock and Revolution


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About the Book

The MC5’s 1969 live album Kick Out the Jams was a new measure of the relationship between music and cultural and political change. As the “house band” and central organizing force for the White Panther Party, which advocated an end to capitalism and supported the Black Panther Party’s initiatives and aims, the MC5 formalized the threat, promise, and parity of music within larger societal spheres. Using the band’s career as a case study in evaluating the relationship between rock music and social change, this book examines how the inherent rebelliousness of rock afforded both media producers and consumers a safe space in which to question social mores and ideas.

About the Author(s)

Mathew J. Bartkowiak is a former associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of American Studies at Michigan State University.

Bibliographic Details

Mathew J. Bartkowiak

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 209
Bibliographic Info: 8 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4037-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8252-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1
Introduction: Rock and Revolution—The MC5 and Music’s Political Life      7

1. Fighting in the Streets: Understanding the Undercurrent of Rebellion in Rock      21
2. Revolution on Your Headphones: Charting Social Location in the Rise of the MC5 and the White Panther Party      37
3. Motor City Burning: Rock and Rebellion in the WPP and the MC5      65
4. Sonic Anarchy: The Making of the MC5      87
5. Guns and Guitars: Revolutionary Style and Substance?      112
6. Managing the Legacy of the Sound and the Fervor      139
7. Up Against the Wall: Music’s Place in Revolution      168

Chapter Notes      187
Bibliography      189
Index      195

Book Reviews & Awards

“very good and highly recommended. It is one of the best reads about the MC5 and how they actually affected the outside world”—; “this book ought to be required reading in high school sociology, or multimedia classes. If you are at all interested in a very keen insight into how we affected the media and their take on radicalism, the youth culture and the Republic’s true potential energy, you must read his book”—