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MC5 Documentary, "A True Testimonial," One Step Closer to Being Released?
April 11, 2007 6:41 PM   Subscribe

MC5 documentary, "A True Tesimonial," one step closer to being released? MC5 (wiki) guitarist Wayne Kramer and his wife sued Chicago-based filmmakers, David Thomas and Laurel Legler, charging that the never-released A True Testimonial, in which Kramer appears prominently, used MC5 songs without permission. A court ruling by U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford last week favoring A True Testimonial filmmakers, might give fans hope. Yee-haw and kick out the jams!
posted by NoMich (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
and all the little piglets went "squee! squee! squee!"
posted by quonsar at 6:52 PM on April 11, 2007


i wonder if kramer sees himself as part of the problem, or part of the solution? squee!
posted by quonsar at 6:53 PM on April 11, 2007


Ugly situation. I hate to root against brother Wayne, but I would love to see this surface. Video footage of this great band is hard to come by, and their story is not well known (even by this longtime fan). Hope it includes the story of the DKT-MC5 shows as well.
posted by space2k at 6:54 PM on April 11, 2007


Years ago, David Thomas used to run ads in the Reader looking for footage of MC5 for the film. Think he finally found some from the NIS.

Oddly enough....his day gig is delivering the same paper on Wednesdays.
posted by timsteil at 6:58 PM on April 11, 2007


Heh, "Kick Out the Jams" makes me think of "What I Like About You" by the Romantics. Everything old was once done by olders.
posted by Eekacat at 7:00 PM on April 11, 2007


Ugly situation. I hate to root against brother Wayne, but I would love to see this surface. Video footage of this great band is hard to come by, and their story is not well known (even by this longtime fan). Hope it includes the story of the DKT-MC5 shows as well.

Late last year, a friend of mind came over to my place with a bootleg DVD of this documentary and it was nothing short of amazing. The story is vintage MC5 only, though; which is a good thing. The thought of Evan Dando singing for the reconstituted MC5 is sickening*.


* - another friend of mind saw one of the Evan Dando-fronted DKT shows and said that Dando had to have the lyrics printed on paper so he could sing the songs.
posted by NoMich at 7:12 PM on April 11, 2007


Yeehaw indeed! I was lucky enough to catch the original run of this film in San Francisco before it ran into its legal problems -- it's a hell of a film and well worth seeing. I've been off-and-on again checking up on it to see if it's any closer to an actual release, and hey presto! Maybe it'll be available on DVD someday. Fuck Hudsons!
posted by the dief at 7:21 PM on April 11, 2007


you forgot the 'motherfuckers!'

(I had tickets to see the DKT-MC5 show in Brooklyn, but it was canceled due to Thompson's injury. The night of the show, I stopped by Dick Manitoba's bar (he was going to be handling vocals, and I mentioned it. he was as bummed as I was. he told me a story about the European tour, apparently their German driver came on board their touring coach and loudly announced 'My name is Horst and there will be no shitting on my bus!')
posted by jonmc at 7:53 PM on April 11, 2007


you forgot the 'motherfuckers!'

Actually, I didn't since I linked to the SFW language version of the video.
posted by NoMich at 8:02 PM on April 11, 2007


The former manager of the MC5, John Sinclair, once hung out for a very very long night in my dorm room at college (toward the end, my roommate was getting pretty annoyed). At some point, he told a rather unsettling story about giving his daughter her first bag [of marijuana] at 6 years old. He said the first thing he told her upon doing this was, "Never ever pull out your bag first." I mean, yeah, it's good advice, but still.
posted by eunoia at 8:05 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


This movie is incredible. I hate to say it, but I think Wayne does the band's legacy a disservice but fighting its release like this.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:47 PM on April 11, 2007


I have seen this film. What I took away from it is how much rooted the band was in conservative sounding 50s rock n roll, and how they relied very much on media manipulation gimmicks (Black Panther alignment, a much ballyhooed use of swearing on record to gain noteriety, much of it a big put-on under the managment of John Sinclair, who really must be one of the most loathsome boomers who every lived).

The most telling moment in the film (and the best) was the whole band doing star jumps in syncronization on stage. There is a reason The Stooges are ten times more famous than the MC5, and I suspect it has something to do with that.
posted by dydecker at 11:07 PM on April 11, 2007


ie the Stooges woud never do anything as ridic as starjumps to get ahead.
posted by dydecker at 11:08 PM on April 11, 2007


I bought the CD "The Hard Stuff" by Wayne Kramer because Henry Rollins recommended it (If I remember correctly). I was pretty disappointed.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:13 PM on April 11, 2007


ie the Stooges woud never do anything as ridic as starjumps to get ahead.

Yeah, but if MC5 hadn't kept Elektra records so preoccupied, we never would've gotten two Stooges records out of Elektra. Hard to believe, but the Igster was actually once considered less harmful to Elektra's corporate interests than the MC5.
posted by jonp72 at 6:24 AM on April 12, 2007


I have seen this film. What I took away from it is how much rooted the band was in conservative sounding 50s rock n roll,

you say that like it's a bad thing.

how they relied very much on media manipulation gimmicks (Black Panther alignment, a much ballyhooed use of swearing on record to gain noteriety,

as opposed to smearing oneself with peanut butter and broken glass? Make no mistake, I love the Stooges, but they had as many gimmicks as anybody.
posted by jonmc at 7:12 AM on April 12, 2007


That court decision is a painful read, like it was written by a 12 year old. I hope to see the film soon though.
posted by caddis at 7:41 AM on April 12, 2007


I managed to catch a screening of this a couple of years ago and got my hands on a gray-market copy of the DVD shortly after the Kramers brought their suit. It'll be great if this labor of love manages to see the light of day and I'll gladly pay for a legit copy if that happens.

I found the Kramer/Smith synchronized dance moves to be one of the more exciting things about the live footage. The theatrical part of a rock performance has become a lost art because too many musicians are insecure about giving audiences a show.

Keep in mind that the Stooges' so-called popularity has only been in the last decade. Although David Bowie's cover of "China Girl" was a hit, I sincerely doubt that very many people knew that Iggy wrote and performed it originally. I'd wager that he's just the guy who does that Lust for Life song in the car commercial to most folks nowadays.

Not to harsh on the Stooges, but to say they're popular is like saying Captain Beefheaert is popular. The Cover of Mojo does not serve as a good barometer for these things.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 10:24 AM on April 12, 2007


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