MC5 court settlement another side

by Jason Gross

4 December 2005


Since there’s been a flap about presenting only one side of a complex court case here, I’d like to post another opinion on the recent MC5 court ruling.  I had meant to post it before and should have, especially as this isn’t a cut-and-dry case of who’s right and who’s wrong.
Jackson Smith @ “The suit is for good reason. It seems people have a hard time remembering that there are people and families behind the MC5 name. God forbid that they may have real problems and issues with each other…”

Federal Court ruling details and commentary:

The MC5 risked everything to make great music, even their lives and careers. As businessmen they were epic failures. Now a fresh flurry of ugly business squabbles swirls around the MC5… against a backdrop of controversy and infighting, subjects with which the band became intimately familiar in its first go-round. A seven-years-in-the-making documentary about the band’s exploits, “MC5: A True Testimonial,” has been derailed in the 11th hour over music licensing issues. Once again the band is a house divided, with the families of the late Rob Tyner and Fred “Sonic” Smith pitted against Kramer, Davis and Thompson…

Kramer’s battle with Thomas and Legler’s corporation, Future/Now Films, has divided the MC5 camp. Tyner’s widow, Rebecca Derminer, agreed to license her husband’s share of the songs to the filmmakers and joined in their motion against Kramer in bankruptcy court. Also upset is Patti Smith, the second wife of MC5 guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith, who died of heart failure in 1994.

“It’s a shame,” says Patti Smith, who had two children with the guitarist. “I understand from my son [Jackson] that it’s a wonderful movie, and I support it. It’s being blocked by Wayne Kramer, and I think that’s unfortunate. My son is one of the true guardians of his father’s name, and he felt that the movie served his father well, and he was hoping that it would come out. These things are always a shame, when someone is trying to do something good and it gets tainted by greed.”  (from a column by Greg Kot - Chicago Tribune - 30 May 2004)

More on “MC5 - A True Testimonial”:


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