Thursday, February 1, 2018


Recently had the pleasure of returning to WSU at the invitation of professor ML Liebler to speak to his creative writing class and the jazz students as well.

Fielded questions from the students about my past career and future endeavors.

Back in the day...I could only complete a year and 1 quarter as I had to make the decision to stay at WSU or go on tour with my band the MC5

The opportunity to return to WSU to present a drum clinic and field questions from the classes made me feel like I had come full circle. As I had earned my PHD in ROCK N ROLL!

Thanks go to WSU, professor ML Liebler and the Creative Writing & Jazz students for making this a really enlightening educational experience for both myself and the classes. I absolutely had a great time...Thanks again to ML Liebler for inviting me to speak to his students...-D

*Special thanks to Kim Maki ( for the photos and video clip.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Found this photo of the New Race while organizing my garage.  L-R rob Younger, Deniz Tek, Warwick Gilbert, Ron Asheton is not pictured,and myself. Read more about the New Race: First and Last Tour HERE

Monday, June 26, 2017


Good morning folks! Yesterday I happened to be scanning the tv news and caught a glimpse of a mass of young drummers all playing "Seven Nation Army" originally a White Stripes tune.

All of these young drummers were playing a complete 4 piece kits. It sounded fantastic! I was like what the heck was that??

So I called Kimmer and asked her if she knew what this amazing group event might be and she did not. But she did post my question as a Machinegun Challenge on Facebook and asked our friends if anyone knew.

Within minutes Meme "Screaming Me Me" King from Phoenix AZ wrote in. Meme is so forward thinking and possesses such great taste in music, she knew the band was Rockin' 1000 straight away.

Rockin' 1000 is a huge conglomeration of young musicians mostly from Italy but players from other countries are included as well.

Thanks for the tip Ms Meme! Here is the video that I saw.Hope you all enjoy them as much as I did. KOTJ -D

The Rockin' 1000 is a group of rock musicians from mainly Italy and a few from other countries such as Canada, Mexico, England, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and Germany.

Get their new CD click one of the links below

As the name indicates, over a thousand musicians play and sing simultaneously at their concerts. The home of the organization is in Cesena in Italy, originally assembled in July 2015 as a stunt to get the Foo Fighters to visit their hometown, which finally happened on October 2015.

They are now an established presence, and have made subsequent appearances. They have been described as the "biggest band in the world." They were originally organized in a crowdfunding effort by Fabio Zaffagnini. Their initial performance in 2015 was made under the direction of Marco Sabiu. They played an 18-song concert on July 24th, 2016 in Cesena, Italy in the Orogel stadium in front of an audience of around 15,000 people.

2017 - the Thousand will play together on the roof of Europe 🔥
Finally, here it's the Where and When.
Stay tuned to find out the What and How.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


MC5 - Official Live Performance Footage/Interviews, Yippie Demonstration Footage/Interviews | © 1970 © 1970 Radio Bremen TV

Nice quality footage from West Park in Ann Arbor, Michigan


With the Stooges and the MC5, Elektra Records had cornered the market on the proto-punk sounds emanating from Detroit in the late 1960s. The Motor City five made their debut for the label with a live album recorded during two free concerts at the band's stronghold, the Grande Ballroom.

KICK OUT THE JAMS was a call to arms from the avowedly political quintet, and to judge from this blistering Halloween set, high-energy was at the top of their agenda, with incendiary opener “Ramblin' Rose” and independent single “Borderline” among the highlights. In both sound and attitude, MC5 was way ahead of its time, and this show caught the band at the peak of its rabble-rousing power.

Stream the Album Here

Monday, April 10, 2017


Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a “machine gun” as a gun for sustained rapid fire that uses bullets; broadly: an automatic weapon.

The Rock & Roll Dictionary has a different characterization of the term. It states that a “machinegun” is a drummer from Detroit, Michigan who employs a battering style of rapid, hard strike drumming whom is also a founding member of the legendary Detroit rock group the MC5; broadly: Dennis Thompson.

Apparently Noah Webster had never been to Detroit…

Dennis “Machinegun” Thompson, co-founder of Lincoln Park hero’s The MC5 and now proficient blogger, is a man of many words, sentiments and ideals. Exploding onto the scene in 1964, DMGT became one of the original bad ass drummers of the era. He has held relationships and collaborated on stage with music’s elite, and has conquered all there is to accomplish in the Rock & Roll world.

Now, as he continues his worship of drumming, Dennis has added a new-fangled hobby to his extensive activity catalog: Blogging. Unlike many of the music legends from the ‘60s era, Dennis actually writes his own material and contributes to his blog project consistently. From the tales of playing with the Who, to rolling around and partying in Australia with Ron Asheton, Dennis relays these memorable instances through his own perspective and idiom for all fans and interested parties to enjoy.

Jarrod Dicker sat down with Machinegun to converse about his celebrated musical history with the MC5 and beyond, some upcoming aspirations and projects, his philosophies on life and politics and his current pastime blogging. Let’s Kick Out the Jams!

THIRSTY: Hey Dennis, Jarrod Dicker here from Thirsty magazine. I know you’re going through a tough time (read: and I truly appreciate you taking time to speak with me.

MGT: This is sort of a sluggish time for me right now. I took care of my father for ten years. Myself and my wife Patrice took care of him the ten years after my mom died and we had a lot of great times together. It was pretty tough to see him go because he went slowly. I don't wish it upon anybody. It’s tough losing your parents. I'm getting through it.


Sunday, April 9, 2017


No other band is more closely associated with the 1960s hippie, free love, abundant drug, activism movement than Detroit's MC5. The hard rocking five-piece band poured body and soul into forming a social-psychoactive revolution that they hoped would reshape the buttoned down, conventional landscape of contemporary American culture. 

The MC5 was founded on the notion that rules are to be broken and they became the very embodiment of no-holds-barred rock and roll.

MC5 - History - Part 1 Formed in 1964 by guitarists Wayne Kramer &  Fred :Sonic" Smith as the Bounty Hunters they recruited Rob Tyner on vocals (originally wanted to be their manager) who comes up with the name MC5 and recruited Michael Davis (bass) and Dennis Thompson (drums).

The name MC5 was created by Tyner and chosen because it sounds like a car part and also stands for Motor City 5 which is apt because the band emanate from the tough city of Detroit a city famed for its car industry and simmering racial tensions in mid sixties America.

The band endures play offs, battles of the bands and any gig they can get taking an aggressive, competitive edge to these events honing their skills, performance and solidarity but without much success.

However with the burgeoning hippie scene the band's fortunes take a turn for the better when they take on John Sinclair, leader of the Trans Love Commune, as their manager. Sinclair was a major figure Detroit's counter culture and had served two prison terms for marijuana related offenses.

The MC5 had several managers in their history, Bruce Burnish, John Sinclair, Jeep Holland, Ronan O'Reilly, and Jon Landau


Each MC5 record showed a chronological maturity based on growth from our first records to the next one. We went through so many experiences from the bizarre to the sublime. The 5 encountered the dangers of being so politically and musically honest & forthright. Changes we were uncontrollably thrown into, so we morphed like butterflies to survive! We rolled with the haymakers...


Well, what it was, was that I had a friend named Billy Vargo who played guitar, and I'm thinking, how old were we, we were like maybe 15-years-old, and he was the leader of the band. We had three guitars, no bass, and me on drums. And I was doing it, I was playing.

My brother (rip) was 10 years older than I am, and he was a musician all his life. So when he was sixteen, I was six years old, and they had a rock and roll band, practicing music in my basement.

The drummer would leave his drums, so four year old, five year old Dennis would run down there and bang on the drums and Mom would yell down there, "Dennis, get off those drums, they're not yours!" But she'd always give me at least 10 minutes, you know?

So I got it from my brother, and at the tender age of twelve years old I was already playing weddings, and by fourteen I was playing clubs with my brother. So anyway, in high school and junior high school, I met the other guys and we had a band.

The band was called The Bounty Hunters, for Steve McQueen back in those days. Wayne played in the Bounty Hunters for a real short time.

Wayne taught Fred Smith how to play guitar...Fred would go over to Wayne's house and Wayne would show him how to play chords, and that's how that happened.

Fred became actually the better rhythm guitar player, by his natural, innate ability.

So I'm in high school, and this is about, we're talking maybe eleventh grade, maybe tenth grade, they formed the MC5, which was Wayne Kramer, Fred Smith, Rob Tyner, Bob Gaspar on drums, who has passed away, and Pat Burrows on bass.

They were in the band for maybe six months, and they aced out and did the Dave Clark Five show at the Ford Auditorium in downtown Detroit.

Well, they started moving into this avant-rock business, where they bought more amps and started getting louder and louder, and Bob Gaspar the drummer was bitching, he says, you know, "I gotta keep slamming these drums so hard, I don't wanna play this way." And Pat Burrows the bass player was gettin' pissed off, and said, "I don't wanna do this crazy stuff." (He was from the James Jamerson school of Motown bass playing). So these guys got disaffected.

So one day Wayne pulls up on his motorcycle at my house, and I'm still in 10th grade, so that's makin' me 15, 16? Somewhere around there...pulls up and says, "Hey, do you wanna play this job we got? Our drummer quit. It's a place called the Crystal Bar." And what it is, is a shot and a beer joint -- it's a dump.

They had flyers made up and everything...the name of the band's the Motor City Five. "Okay, I'll do the job." He shows up on his motorcycle in the middle of the night and [I] went down and did the job for the weekend. We had about three toothless bums just sittin' there. And here we are onstage playing "My Generation" and Yardbirds and Kinks and all.

That's when I joined the Five. -D

Friday, April 7, 2017


Written by Dennis Thompson

This is affectionately dedicated to my fallen brother Fred “Sonic” Smith, his wife Patti, daughter Jesse, and especially his son, Jackson. “Picture the world as a huge scientific laboratory with all people being tested in a fantastic self-experiment. If man can make it through the maze of problems he has set up for himself, then, and only then, will he be the man of the future.

The man of the future must be created!” Thank you Gray and Francois These are Fred’s words. Those of you familiar with the album “High Time”, have seen the photo of Fred in full super sonic hero costume boldly standing in front of a blown up map of our planet earth. Fred’s quote circumscribed that photo. The year was 1971…

The man was truly ahead of his time. I remember the first time he wore that “Man of the Future costume live at the Grande Ballroom. Boy, did he ever put our then manager John Sinclair in a state of shock! “He’s lost his mind”, Sinclair shouted. But that is another story… Fred, you were always a mystery to me. You gave real color to the meaning of the word “paradoxical”. At one in the same time, he could be angry, but controlled, rough, but ever so smooth. He could be both distant and moody, but oh, so close and crystal clear.

The penultimate rebel, aloof and arrogant, but also your best friend and quiet comrade, and always at the ready to back any of us up when the stuff hit the fan The calm in the center of the storm. The strength. The man of the future must be created… You see, he was my cellophane flower in the fork in my road… At this very moment, this life we all share in this flesh and blood experiment is a gift! There is only five seconds, two roads, and only one cellophane flower. At this very moment your heart beating is a miracle.

Whomever God you pray to, whatever beliefs you hold so dear, you are nonetheless a co-creator. Fred felt we are all co-creators if we do not block ourselves. There is so much work to be done. If all you see is the cellophane, and meekly take the plastic smooth road, your paradise is lost. If you do not exercise your imagination you are at the mercy of folly, deception, and confusion. Your responsibility is to control your own destiny, your own future. This is what Fred taught me. Fred saw that cellophane flower at the fork in the road.

He picked that flower out of the ground and decided to make it real. He chose the hard and bumpy road and gave life to that flower. He gave it color, texture, and a heavenly aroma and most impotantly realism. I proudly pledge to join him in this ascension, solve the riddle of the maze, and become as he, a co-creator and a man of the future.

After all, what rebel worth his salt should weaken and give into cellophanes oblivion? I was his drummer, his friend, and I will miss him deeply. Fred, you were my John Coltrane. You changed my life and my way of looking at the world. You taught me to reach deep in my soul and find the man of the future in MY own image. Bless you my dearly departed friend and thank you forever.

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