John Sinclair

Rock and Roll Dope

Hi kids, sorry I wasn’t here last time but I got a little depressed by Cella Alderson’s letter and just couldn’t get it together in time for the deadline. The only reason I write this shit is because people seem to dig reading it and if you don’t dig it I’d rather not write it. It takes some effort and a lot of dope to get my head into this linear trip anyway, but it’s worth it if it’s appreciated.

OK, enough bullshit. You remember when Fred Smith and myself got beat up by the National Security police and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputies at the Loft in July? Yesterday (October 10th) Fred and I were bound over for trial in Oakland County Circuit Court by Judge Kenneth L. Hempstead on charges of “assault and battery on a police officer,” a “high misdemeanor” that carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. The police officers who testified at the examination—Kenneth Osborne of the Security Police and Deputies Riley and Gilbert of the Oakland County Fag Squad—along with Loft ex-manager Hal Bourner, all lied their asses off while testifying, but they’ll be exposed at the trial, the date for which hasn’t been set yet. We’ll let you know when the trial goes down so everybody can be there with us.

The one thing that will save us will he the testimony of those kids who saw the whole scene go down and can tell the people in court about it. Anyone who witnessed the bloodbath and hasn’t talked to our attorney yet please call Bill Segesta at 963–2500 in Detroit RIGHT NOW and tell him what you saw. We’ll also appreciate it if you could write down what you saw in a report and send it to Bill at 1112 Guardian Building, Detroit 48226. If you don’t testify we’re gonna fry! And if we don’t stop these chumps from beating on people’s heads—and we CAN sup them—they’ll just keep it up until they die.

We had a weirdo scene in Benton Harbor the other night that’s worth a few yaks: it seems that some big controversy has developed in the Benton Harbor St. Joseph area on the west coast of Michigan concerning the MC5’s stage show and the “obscene” gestures and moves of Messrs. Wayne Kramer, Rob Tyner, and Frederick D. Smith while doing their thing on stage. The Benton Harbor Chief of Police called our booking agent Mike Quatro, and told him that they’d had plenty complaints about the obscene humping and grinding that goes on in the MC5 show, as well as the dirty words, and that they were prepared to arrest the artists involved when they got on stage. We were met by the Chief’s representatives at the gig and told the same thing.

When the band went out for their first set, Rob, Wayne, Fred, and Mike Davis could be seen seated on four wooden chairs across the front of the stage. They explained what had gone down to the kids in the audience and proceeded to kick ‘em out from a sitting position. The action had the desired effect on the creeps but was a big bringdown for the 5, who love to jump up and down all the time, making obscene gestures and simulating the high-energy fuck scene which is what rock and roll is all about. Rob complained after the set that he’d only had one drink of water and Wayne only used one pick in 45 minutes. I hope we don’t have to do it again but it sure was funny to watch the 5 do “Tutti Frutti,” “Borderline,” “Born Under a Bad Sign,” (minus Wayne’s tongue-job introduction), “I Want You,” and all the other jams sitting down!

The MC5 will be back at the Grande Ballroom tomorrow, that’s Friday. October 18th, for a neighborhood reunion] scene. The Black Panther benefit is now scheduled for October 30th but may be changed—we’ll let you know so you can he there with your brothers and sisters when it happens. If you aren’t hip to the Panthers then you’d better find out. And if you can’t find out any other way read Eldridge Cleaver’s book Soul on Ice.

Eldridge is a number-one brother who is the New Politics candidate for President of the USA and also Minister of Information of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense—and a very heavy dude. Whether you know it or not, YOU are the White Panthers. Eldridge knows it—he nominated Jerry Rubin as his vice-presidential candidate, but was voted down by the “political radicals” in the party. Him and Jerry still do some heavy hanging out, though. and you’ll be hearing about it.

Another book you might check out is The Algiers Motel Incident by John Hersey, which tells the story of the murders on Woodward Avenue in July 1967 by our friends the Detroit police. Hersey tells it like it is and his story might hip you to something you don’t know about.

Another great book is Head Comix, by R. Crumb, the world’s foremost cartoonist. Head Comix is a collection of Crumb’s classic strips from Zap Comix, Yarrowstalks, EVO, Cavalier, and other weird places, and it’s published by The Viking Press of all people. The soft-cover edition sells for $2.50, which is o.k. for your old man to pay, but you can probably liberate a copy from your local capitalist bookstore. Crumb is absolutely the MASTER of the comicstrip form, and some of the things in this issue of Head Comix are truly Zenta classics. If you haven’t seen “Whiteman” you’re going to flip out when you do!

You can get Zap Comix, which is a regular Crumb-Rick Griffin-Moscoso-S. Clay Wilson collaboration from San Francisco, and Yellow Dog Comix, a San Francisco comic-strip anthology mag, from the Print Mint in S.F. Another great new comic book is Heads & Feds, by Gilbert Shelton, creator of Wonder Wart-Hog (The Pig of the Future) and the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. I don’t have the addresses handy but tell Barry Kramer at Mixed Media or your local headshop freek to order them TODAY! Crumb, you know, did the cover for Big Brother’s “Cheap Thrills” album.


Fifth Estate #64, October 17–30, 1968