mc5 oral historyWhat should be the definitive history of the MC5 is heading for release in October 2024.

“MC5 - An Oral Biography of Rock’s Most Revolutionary Band” is being published worldwide by Hachette and is the result of years of work by writers Brad Tolinski, Jaan Uhelszki and the late Ben Edmonds.

A former CREEM magazine staffer, Uhelszki delivered the news in a Facebook post a day ago: 

“In 2015, when my friend and CREEM magazine co-conspirator Ben Edmonds fell ill, he asked me to come to Detroit to help him finish his MC5 book. I thought we could knock it out in three weeks,” she wrote.

“Boy, was I wrong. It took me three weeks just to read through all the interviews he had done with the band members in the 10-15 years after they had broken up. 

“Sometimes reading the transcriptions was so excruciating that I had to pace around the room, worrying about the repercussions of publishing something so real. 

“They had the candor, bluntness, and perspective you get when time has passed, and you don’t care who you piss off with the truth. No one bothered to sugarcoat anything. “Not the ups, the downs, the feuds, the rivalries, the politics, or the debauchery in what Rob Tyner called “… [A] time when muscle cars ruled the Detroit streets and Motown battled psychedelia for the airwaves. It was a time when everything was everything. A time of girls without bras and sex without rules.”.’

Ben Edmonds died in 2016, and Uhelszki recruited fellow Detroiter Brad Tolinski to help her deliver on a promise to see the book through to completion and publication.

Tolinski is a former editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine.

“With Brad’s skills, know-how, and superb talent as a journalist, we were able to turn the words of Rob Tyner, Wayne Kramer, Michael DavisDennis Thompson, and Fred Smith into the story of a generation, of tumultuous times, when the power of music and the men who made it could affect change. 

“They were bigger than life and still loom large in memory. Dave Marsh used to say: ‘In Detroit, the MC5 were the Beatles.’ I think they still are.” 

Dennis Thompson is the sole surviving member of the Five with the passing of Wayne Kramer last month.