Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kick Out the Jams

By Steve Evans

Variety and The Hollywood Reporter ran reports this week of two new musician biopics due out this year, one featuring Jimi Hendrix and another charting the life of that Godfather himself, James Brown. I look forward to both films, but worry the soul will be bled from the stories of these legendary musicians.

After watching Bob Dylan turn tricks during the recent Super Bowl commercials, I got to thinking that rock and roll has strayed so far from its mission that the mainstream barely gets annoyed by the sound any more. Jimmy Page sold Led Zeppelin's legacy to hawk Cadillacs. Pete Townshend has been pimping Who songs for years.

So it's time to get back to basics. If we're going to bankroll musician biopics, it's time to strip away all pretense and make some real noise. I say, it's time for a biopic on the MC5. This quintet outta Detroit made noise as pure and coarse, as uncommercial and beautiful and flat-out-in-your-damn-face as rock and roll is ever likely to be. They were ahead of their time 45 years ago. I'm not sure the rest of the world ever caught up. If anyone makes a film that does justice to their story, FBI investigations and all, it will be the best movie about rock and roll since the Maysles brothers shot Gimme Shelter.

I miss the MC5. A lot. Well, maybe not the white boy 'fros nor those garish 1970s fashions, but that raw sound remains ungodly and unequaled.

I've been living the ethos of this song for so long, I never woulda thought I'd outlive most of the guys in the band. So let's hear it for the story of the MC5, coming soon to blow minds at a multiplex near you. I can dream if I wanna. Gotta kick 'em out.

Cinema Uprising copyright © 2014 by Steve Evans. All rights reserved.

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