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Tue Apr 2, 2024, 09:11 PM Apr 2

John Sinclair in his own words: Talking the MC5, Detroit rock scene, radical politics, more

(Detroit Free Press) John Sinclair, the beatnik poet and Detroit counterculture icon, died Tuesday morning of heart failure at 82.


Here are some selected excerpts from that conversation, including Sinclair's thoughts on Detroit's rock history and audiences, his work with the alternative newspaper Fifth Estate, the founding of the White Panther Party with the MC5 and more — with some barbed remarks about artists such as the Grateful Dead, Ted Nugent and Andy Warhol.

His early musical interests: I grew up in the ’50s, and I was a rhythm ‘n’ blues fanatic as a teenager, so I had the good fortune of being 13 years old when rock ‘n’ roll came in. My life coincides with the life of rock ‘n’ roll, time-wise. When I got out of high school, I went off to college and got into jazz and poetry, beatnik-ism. So I didn’t pay attention to popular music the first half of the ’60s — I was strictly into jazz of the avant-garde variety: John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman.


Founding the White Panther Party: That was the fall of ’68, right when we were making our (debut) record for Elektra. And again, there was no svengali aspect to that. Honestly, the White Panther Party was the only political party in American history founded by a rock ‘n’ roll band. It was just all of us sitting around the table, getting high and laughing, and we decided that if we were gonna be a national entity … we wanted to have a way to express our outlet in more encapsulated form, to make it easy for people to understand where we were coming from. We were big followers and supporters of the Black Panther Party. ..............(more)


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John Sinclair in his own words: Talking the MC5, Detroit rock scene, radical politics, more (Original Post) marmar Apr 2 OP
fun read....thx for posting.... bahboo Apr 2 #1
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