By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – The city’s museum and Memorial Park – with a refurbished band shell – will host a blast from the past this weekend in tribute to The MC5, a band whose roots were planted in the city 50 years ago.
“These are guys who came out of Lincoln Park High School and hit the big time,” Emergency Manager Brad Coulter said.
In 1965 the MC5 lineup was established with Rob Tyner on vocals, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, bassist Michael Davis and Dennis “Machinegun” Thompson on drums, a band of Downriver high school buddies who paid their dues in garages, local bars and a gig or two at Memorial Park, which will host a tribute concert featuring local bands July 12.
The group served as house band at the legendary Grande Ballroom in Detroit before basking in a national spotlight, first at the 1968 Democratic National Convention before the release of their 1969 debut album, Kick Out the Jams, which landed them on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
Jeff Day, curator of the Lincoln Park Historical Museum, 1355 Southfield, last year began planning a special MC5 exhibit that will open July 11 and run through Labor Day. On display will be an assortment of records, photos, posters and memorabilia with an emphasis on the band’s early Downriver days.
“We have a lot of items on loan from collectors and family members of the band,” Day said, including high school yearbooks and illustrations by Tyner that had appeared in the school’s newspaper, Rail Splitters.
Surviving members Kramer and Thompson have supported the exhibit, and Thompson planned to attend a reception which begins at 7 p.m. July 11, at which he’ll receive a key to the city from Mayor Thomas Karnes.
A tribute concert begins at 2 p.m. July 12 at the Lincoln Park Band Shell in Memorial Park, 3240 Ferris Ave., with local bands Timmy’s Organism, Rocket 455 and Chatoyant. The event will mark the first concert at the park in several years and the venue was restored with new lights, wiring and paint courtesy of a crowd-sourcing campaign launched by city intern Giles Tucker, with matching funds from Wayne County.
For more information on the exhibit and concert, go to www.lphistorical.org.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)