An Oral Biography of Rock’s Most Revolutionary Band

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By Brad Tolinski

By Jaan Uhelszki

By Ben Edmonds

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$39.00 CAD

A riveting oral biography of the proto-punk Detroit rockers MC5, based on original interviews with the band and key members of their inner circle
Few bands have dared to ignite a revolution through their fusion of activism and art like MC5. Managed by the charismatic radical and hippie spokesman, John Sinclair, MC5 wasn’t just a band; they were a thunderous proclamation of dissent, amplifying the voices of the marginalized long before it was fashionable. From championing Black Lives Matter to rallying for cannabis legalization, they fearlessly thrust their beliefs onto the world stage. For their efforts, the rabble-rousing musical arm of the White Panther Party, the scourge of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and other defenders of public decency, were often beaten with clubs, threatened at gunpoint, tossed into jail, and even unceremoniously dumped by their record company, right as their album was storming up the charts—and all while the Sex Pistols were still on training wheels.

What has been lost amidst this notoriety is MC5 itself, a band worth remembering not because they were bad boys, but because they were so damn good. In MC5: An Oral Biography of Rock’s Most Revolutionary Band​, music journalists Brad Tolinski and Jaan Uhelszki invite readers to reconsider this legendary group. Centered around a series of interviews with MC5, their manager, and their inner circle—many of whom are no longer with us—that Tolinski and Uhelszki inherited from CREEM Magazine founding staffer and Mojo's US editor Ben Edmonds prior to his death, this book presents a genuinely candid, funny, and moving portrait of rock’s most uncompromising and articulate band. MC5 also features a virtual “who’s who” of 1960s rockers, including Iggy and the Stooges, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, promoter Bill Graham, John Lennon, the Jefferson Airplane, and political firebrands like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, and Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver.

As innovative, insightful, and inspiring as the band itself, MC5 is a fitting testament to the legacy of these iconic rock pioneers—told in their very own words.


On Sale
Oct 8, 2024
Page Count
304 pages
Hachette Books

Brad Tolinski

About the Author

Brad Tolinski was the editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine, the best-selling magazine for musicians in the world, for over 25 years. His is also the author of Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen, Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page, and Play It Loud. He’s based in New York.

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Jaan Uhelszki

About the Author

Jaan Uhelszki is a co-founder of the legendary music magazine, CREEM, where she became one of the first women to work in rock journalism. As head of the news department at Addicted to Noise, she won the National Feature Writer Award from the Music Journalists Association and three Deems Taylor Awards. She’s based in Palm Desert, CA.

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