david thomas - The I-94 Bar

"MC5 A True Testimonial" stirs back to life

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After a few false starts and 16 years after being stopped in its tracks by court action, the long-stalled documentary "MC5: A True Testimonial" is showing signs of coming back to life.

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The film tells the story of the MC5. In 2004 - after rave reviews on the festival circuit and on the eve of its commrcial release -  filmmakers David C Thomas and Laurel Legier were taken to court by former Five guitarist Wayne Kramer over a claim he had been promised to be the film's musical producer. In March 2007, a court ruled in favour of Legler and Thomas, and the decision was upheld on appeal.

But the damage had already been done. Media preview copies had been widely bootlegged, and securing musical rights to make a commercial release viable proved problematic.

In March this year, a Twitter account with the handle @MC5movieshuddered into life. We now understand there are fresh plans to re-launch the film into movie theatres, digitally and in deluxe physical format...with a caveat: Be patient.

There's no timeline in place and the entertainment market has been severely disrupted by COVID-19. The only certainty is that it will happen evnetually and be worth the wait.

It's now appropriate to take a trip back in The Time Tunnel and revisit a 2001 interview by KEN SHIMAMOTO with DAVID C THOMAS, exhumed from our own archives. Settle in and soak it up while we wait for the main feature.

Master of The Universe b/w Man In The Dark - David Thomas & The Holy Soul (Damn You)

david thomas holy soulSydney band The Holy Soul have a way with collaborating with the rich, at least in in history, and infamous. Here’s another example of that maverick magic. 

Seven years ago, The Holy Soul combined with Damo Suzuki (Can) and a Drone to punch out a live album on Repressed. This time out, it’s a half-studio/half-live 45 of similar vintage, this time with Rocket From The Tombs and Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas, with whom they played on a blink-and-you-miss-it Australian visit.

“Master of The Universe” is the A side (it’s a Hawkwind cover) and hovers between industrial skronk and space rock. Theremin and a throbbing bottom end underlay dry guitars and Thomas’s unique, plaintive vocal. A melange of guitars - presumably John Hunter and Trent Marden or both - and synth raises the tension in the breakdown before Sam Worrad’s hypnotic bass resumes its ominous march. 

The live “Man In The Dark” starts with the wheeze of Thomas's accordion wheeze and plays itself out with restraint for its five-minute duration. Delicate guitars chime to a subtle bass-line while Thomas expounds on (I think) a lapsed relationship, half-talking, half-crooning. Measured and magnificent. it was left off the live album that you can find here. The link below will lead you to the single. Odds are it won't last long. 

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