This very political Detroit-based band is renowned as a raucous live act that influenced puck, rock, and heavy metal music. Controversial in their lyrics “Kick out the jams, motherfucker!” and in their politics (as supporters of the Black Panthers), it's no wonder that modern rock 'n rollers including Henry Rollins and the angsty, perpetual teenagers, Rage Against the Machine have been inspired by the band.
The power of their influence was bright and strong but, like so many young and famous people, it was also fairly brief. Even though MC5 was “committed to the revolution”, the revolution may have been frailer than the band.
Here is a great article about them written in 1969 when they were touring San Francisco, in it the author says “The MC5 are almost like an acid test. From the several times we have observed their masterful performances out there, it has become apparent that their music appeals to the lowest on the social strata. The blacks dig it, the really wigged out revolutionaries dig it; while the genteel hip, the intelligentsia, and older people in general can't relate. There is nothing to hang on to; it bespeaks more anarchy, more destruction… Their music does lead to fucking, and it does lead to anarchy, and violent opposition to institutionalized repression.”