Sad news. Michael Davis who played bass in The MC5 and Destroy All Monsters has died of liver failure at the age of 68.
In an interview conducted in 2010, Davis looked back on the Sixties and the pop culture crucible in which the MC5 were formed.
The energy of times of the late ‘60s was something that probably won’t ever be duplicated because at that point in time everything was changing from the post-war era into what we might call modern society and technology. When I first started playing in the MC5, a lot of things were still in black and white, not everything was in color, especially the things from Europe, what we called foreign film back then. It had a certain character back then, a lot of the photos of British bands were in black and white. It carried that rainy day mood, it wasn’t all bright and lollipops. It was somber and bluesy. It was such enormous fun to break away from being a straight kid, and dress in Carnaby fashions, skinny pants, pointy boots, little skinny ties and white shirts.
It was an era that was unique, and really a lot of fun. It had this particular soul to it, Motown was happening, everybody was very dapper, before the psychedelic thing took over. The spirit of the times is what stands out.
I believed in us (the MC5), and believed what we were doing was so unique. For me the important thing was to be original, because I came from an art background. Copying someone else’s stuff wouldn’t get the attention that I wanted. Originality was the key to any kind of long-term recognition. I wanted us to be totally original. I thought what we were doing was totally unprecedented, at least not in rock and roll. There was plenty of jazz music, Sun Ra, where people improvised and played free. When we started doing it with electric instruments I just felt the energy levels that we achieved were so profound. I could see it in the audience reactions to it. Audiences absolutely hated it or went crazy. I thought that it would have a long-term effect. But you know it wasn’t successful in the business part of it. It wasn’t that marketable. It wasn’t like the Beatles. But I actually did have a kind of a suspicion that it would be long-term. Having said that, I am really surprised it did turn out that way.”
This footage of The MC5 from 1967 features Michael Davis in supreme form.