Today we remember Michael Davis, bassist of MC5, who passed away last week. He was 68 years old when he died at the hospital in Chico, California. He had been hospitalized for the past month with liver disease which he eventually succumbed to. Michael will be remembered for ushering in a new sound of rock music from Detroit that made MC5 and the Stooges famous in the late 60s. This hard, gritty style of rock would later provide the foundation for the punk movement of the 70s. Unfortunately for MC5 fans, Davis’ death is the third tragedy for the band as singer Rob Tyner passed away in 1991 and guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith died in 1994.
“Michael was a major force in shaping the sound and attitude of Detroit’s foremost band of the 1960s and beyond. The MC5 was a Detroit music leader and scene-maker, and Michael Davis played his role as foundational driving force as the band’s bass player. His place in rock history is firmly held.” – Dick Wagner
Michael was studying at Wayne State University when he dropped out of school to join the MC5, replacing the group’s original bassist Pat Burrows. He played on all three of the group’s albums and stayed with the band until it ended in 1972. He took part in a 1992 tribute concert to Tyner in Detroit and was part of the DKT/MC5 with Kramer and drummer Dennis “Machine Gun” Thompson as well as guest musicians. “It was always like a huge fantasy that there would be another day in the sun,” Davis said when the band began touring again in 2004. “We’ve been sitting on the sidelines watching the legendary status of the MC5 grow over the decades. I’m just happy to carry on the thing that I started.” MC5 were a real band in the sense that every member contributed equally to the overall sound of the group. Michael will be missed as another generation discovers how important the short life of MC5 was. Check out the band playing “American Ruse” below.