MC5 Bassist Michael Davis Dead at 68

This past Friday, MC5 bassist Michael Davis passed away of liver failure at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California. He was 68.

Davis was not an original member of MC5 -- which stood for "Motor City Five" after their hometown of Detroit -- but after replacing original bassist Pat Burrows, he rose to prominence with the band in the late '60s as part of a burgeoning garage rock movement in the U.S.

Along with guitarist Wayne Kramer and vocalist Rob Tyner, Davis rode the wave that saw the band become a national act behind the strength of their signature song, "Kick out the Jams." The band appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1969 before they had even released an album.

Along with Iggy and the Stooges, the politically-charged MC5 are often cited as one of the forefathers of punk rock, having a massive impact on the aesthetic of the coming class of bands that would pop up in New York some half a decade later.

MC5 split in 1972, and would not reform until 2003, 12 years after the death of Rob Tyner. The group performed with just the surviving members until a stable lineup featuring the Dictators' Handsome Dick Manitoba on vocals emerged in early 2005. In between MC5 incarnations, Davis would form Destroy All Monsters with Ron Ashton of the Stooges.

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Davis would perform with the years until a motorcyle accident left him with a serious back injury in 2006.

In recent years, Davis -- an art school dropout himself -- has been actively raising money for arts and music programs in schools, forming the Music Is Revolution Foundation with his wife Angela.

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Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.