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Michael Davis, MC5 bassist, dies at 68


Michael Davis, the bassist of influential late 1960s rock band MC5, has died of liver failure, his wife said Saturday. He was 68.

Davis died at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, Calif., on Friday afternoon after a month-long hospitalization for liver disease, said Angela Davis. Born on June 5, 1943, the bassist gained attention in the revolutionary Detroit band MC5 and later played in a version of the group called DKT-MC5 with former MC5 members Wayne Kramer on guitar and Dennis Thompson on drums.

The original MC5 rose to prominence from 1964 to 1972, making waves with incendiary anti-establishment lyrics and a blistering early-punk sound, starting with their first album Kick Out the Jams, released in 1969.

A sought-after bassist and also producer, Davis was planning to be in Belgium this week recording with punk rock musician Sonny Vincent, said Davis’ wife. Davis had a scare in 2006 when he injured his back in a motorcycle accident on a Southern California freeway. He later co-founded the non-profit Music Is Revolution Foundation, dedicated to supporting music education programs in public schools.

In the last few years, Davis also returned to a love of painting, fostered when he first studied fine arts at Wayne State University in Michigan. He dropped out of the program in 1964 to play music, but started studying art again recently in Oregon and California, with the intention of finishing his bachelor’s degree in fine arts. Davis is survived by his wife, their three sons, and a daughter from a previous marriage. Memorial plans were pending, said Angela Davis.