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MC5 Bassist Michael Davis Dies

Michael Davis of MC5
Leni Sinclair, Getty Images

Michael Davis of the highly influential band MC5 died on Friday (Feb. 17) at age 68 following a battle with liver disease. The bassist played on all three of the group’s studio records, including the legendary 1969 album ‘Kick Out the Jams.’

According to the BBC, Davis’s wife Angela revealed the news that her husband passed away over the weekend. He had been a patient at the Enloe Medical Center in Chico, Calif. during his recent health battle.

Davis helped solidify the classic lineup of MC5 (short for “Motor City Five,” after their Detroit homebase and the number of musicians in the band) when he joined in 1965. The group quickly won over live crowds all over the nation with their ignitable blend of garage and psychedelic rock.

Along with vocalist Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, and drummer Dennis Thompson, Davis recorded three albums with MC5 — ‘Kick Out the Jams,’ 1970′s ‘Back in the USA’ and 1971′s ‘High Time.’

The band’s popularity faded to the point that they broke up in 1972, but over time the influence of their music grew and they are now considered one of the earliest influences of the punk rock movement.

Tyner and Smith both died of heart attacks, in 1991 and 1994 respectively. The remaining members of MC5, including Davis, reunited for various shows and tours starting in 2003. Davis also formed the Music is Revolution Foundation to support musical education in public schools.

His goal for the organization is stated clearly on its website: “This is not about making kids sit through music that means nothing to them. It is about helping them use music as a way to express whatever is in their souls. If we can give this to kids, then we are giving them, and society, a gift that is priceless.”

Next: Rockers We’ve Lost in 2012

Watch the MC5 Perform ‘Kick Out the Jams’

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