Rock & Roll Dope
Editors’ Note: Rock and Roll Dope takes the form of a facsimile of the MC5’s Elektra album liner notes for two reasons. First, because Brother Sinclair was stranded in Buffalo after attending a national Lemar (Legalize Marijuana) conference in that city and was unable to get a column to us.
Second, and more important, that this revolutionary rap by John has caused a significant furor in the retail record business. Fully 70% of Detroit area record shops refuse to stock the album because of its use of “fuck” in the liner notes and on one song. One Northland record shop went through each album and crossed out the offending words. Both J.L. Hudson’s and E.J. Korvette stores refuse to handle it as well as many smaller shops.
In places where dealers have had enough courage and integrity to sell the music of a local group, they have incurred the wrath of the local pigs. Two Dearborn stores and one in Lincoln Park have at this writing been charged with selling obscene matter, because they sold this album.
The liner notes and much of the music in this album represent a significant breakthrough in the pop record world. Both are revolutionary expressions heretofore not seen in the rock world.
We feel the same toward the suppression of our brothers’ album as we do toward the attempts at suppression of our paper,- that the obscenity issue is a ruse. The “authorities” aren’t afraid that young people will go out and have sexual intercourse immediately after seeing the word “fuck” in print, but rather they are afraid of the political message of revolution that is being articulated.
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The MC5 is a whole thing. There is no way to get at the music without taking in the whole context of the music too—there is no separation. We say the MC5 is the solution to the problem of separation, because they are so together. The MC5 is totally committed to the revolution, as the revolution is totally committed to driving people out of their separate shells and into each other’s arms.
I’m talking about unity, brothers and sisters, because we have to get it together. We are the solution to the problem, if we will just be that. If we can feel it, LeRoi Jones said, “feeling predicts intelligence.” The MC5 will make you feel it, or leave the room. The MC5 will drive you crazy out of your head into your body. The MC5 is rock and roll. Rock and roll is the music of our bodies, of our whole lives—the resensifier, Rob Tyner calls it. We have to come together, people, “build to a gathering,” or else. Or else you are dead, and gone.
The MC5 will bring you back to your senses from wherever you have been taken to hide. They are bad. Their whole lives are totally given to this music. They are a whole thing. They are a working model of the new paleocybernetic culture in action. There is no separation. They live together to work together, they eat together, fuck together, get high together, walk down the street and through the world together. There is no separation. Just as their music will bring you together like that, if you hear it. If you will live it. And we will make sure you hear it, because we know you need it as bad as we do. We have to have it.
The music is the source and effect of our spirit flesh. The MC5 is the source and effect of the music, just as you are. Just as I am. Just to hear the music and have it be our selves, is what we want. What we need. We are a lonely desperate people, pulled apart by the killer forces of capitalism and competition, and we need the music to hold us together. Separation is doom. We are free men, and we demand a free music, a free high energy source that will drive us wild into the streets of America yelling and screaming and tearing down everything that would keep people slaves.
The MC5 is that force. The MC5 is the revolution, in all its applications. There is no separation. Everything is everything. There is no thing to fear. The music will make you strong, as it is strong, and there is no way it can be stopped now. All power to the people! The MC5 is here now for you to hear and see and feel now! Give it up—come together—get down, brothers and sisters, it’s time to testify, and what you have here in your hands is a living testimonial to the absolute power and strength of these men. Go wild! The world is yours! Take it now, and be one with it! Kick out the jams, motherfucker! And stay alive with the MC5!
Minister of Information,
Friday, December 13th 1968,
in the first year of Zenta