Sunday, February 19, 2012


Self portrait of Michael Davis that appeared in his Facebook profile.

My favorite quotation from MICHAEL DAVIS, bass player extraordinaire for the MC5, Destroy All Monsters and a few lucky other bands, fine artist, charitable humanitarian, from his autobiographical blog:

"As I stand here, looking down the last stretch of my own path, I still see the greatness of being alive. I still see the things that made it an overwhelming mystical trip. That I played in the MC5 was only one part of it, but what a part it was! Music is revolution!"

Michael Davis passed away at age 68 yesterday (2.17.12) in California, survived by his wife Angela and grown children.

I only knew him through correspondence, but it was a privilege to talk shop about fine art with so pivotal a figure in the history of American music. The MC5 remain incredibly important. There would have been no continuity of hardest rock past the 1960s but for the bedrock founded by Detroit's MC5 and Iggy and The Stooges, their ferocious proficiency live, and their inspiration to future generations who heard what to revere.

After his MC5 and Destroy All Monsters band gigs, Davis enjoyed life with his wife Angela in an assortment of locales on the West Coast, studied fine art as he had in college before joining the MC5 in the 1960s, then prolifically painted and drew. He started the Music Is Revolution Foundation to fund retaining music lessons in public schools. Interestingly, fellow MC5 Wayne Kramer also has been involved bigtime in his own charity Jail Guitar Doors (to equip the incarcerated with instruments and music,) testament to the purity of this once highly political band's humanitarian motives.

Davis raised horses for a while and was interviewed performing a variety of familiar horse care chores seen in the unfortunately unavailable but widely praised documentary "MC5- A True Testimonial." The MC5 were name-checked by Iggy and The Stooges onstage at the latter's 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony with an obvious hint to honor the remaining MC5 members next before it's too late, hint hint.

Lastly, Michael Davis enjoyed popular festival appearances with DKT-MC5 (Michael Davis-Wayne Kramer-Dennis Machine Gun Thompson) bookings throughout the 2000s, culminating with a terrific box set of a London gig with Primal Scream and filmed footage of the entire show, available from class act archiving label Easy Action (see link below.) Hearing the DKT band come roaring in with the power of a molten lava fusilade after guest singers William Duvall's (Alice in Chains) and Bobby Gillespie's (P. Scream) a capella set up for sexy song "Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa (I'm The Man For You)" will stiffen the hairs on the nape of your neck and possibly other parts or moisten same, depending upon personal gender...

When the direction of popular music starting wimping and progging out in a variety of tangents after the '60s, the MC5 and Iggy and The Stooges continued their respective meteoric arcs of flight because their audiences and they knew this music was fucking great even if the middlemen of commerce didn't. By example, they kept hard rock vitally alive through today but paid a steep price (lack of recognition despite trailblazing, infighting, incarceration, despair-induced addictions, early deaths.) We've everyone of us been so very fortunate to have had them with us at all...

Primal Scream/MC5-DKT Black to Comm box set cds plus dvd: LINK
(featuring Davis' artwork on the cover, above)
Michael Davis own words in his blog of the last 3 years LINK
Retrokimmer tribute to Michael Davis LINK
Music Is Revolution Foundation LINK

videos below: the first with MC5-DKT only last year in a unique billing with Iggy and The Stooges in France, led with Davis signature basslines; then vintage 1970 MC5 Grande Ballroom footage in all their renowned, adrenalized ferocity; then the inimitable Destroy All Monsters with fellow fine artist Niagara and the Stooges' own Ron Asheton--

NOTE: link directly back to if all elements such as photo layouts or videos aren't here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful eulogy. I didn't know he'd died. We really have to treasure our elders, who knows who's next? And yes, we are becoming the cherishable elders... as are our bad-boy rockstars...

-Maria Damon

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