JOHN SINCLAIR – THE FORMER MC5 manager/MC and pot’n’politics provocateur – has been in touch with MOJO to offer his thoughts on the recent passing of album and poster artist Gary Grimshaw. “Gary Grimshaw was a great creative artist who helped define the spirit and feeling of an entire era,” Sinclair writes.
“Gary Grimshaw was a great creative artist.”
The two collaborated on the presentation of the MC5 and also on countercultural projects associated with Sinclair’s White Panther Party.
“He beautifully interpreted all my ideas for cultural and social change into public artwork that could make people want to do things they'd never done before,” continues Sinclair.
Grimshaw designed the original cover for the MC5’s Kick Out The Jams album, and many a poster for landmark Detroit rock shows, including the John Sinclair Freedom Rally of December 10, 1971 – the John Lennon-headlined Crisler Arena show that protested Sinclair’s draconian 10-year sentence for pot possession.
Here’s John Sinclair’s testimonial in full…
John Sinclair: “Gary Grimshaw was a great creative artist who helped define the spirit and feeling of an entire era with his brilliant posters for the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, his artwork for underground newspapers like the Detroit Sun, the Fifth Estate and the San Francisco Oracle, and his posters and record covers for the MC-5 and other bands.
“He was a music lover first and foremost.”
“He was a music lover first and foremost, best friends in high school with Rob Tyner of the MC5, a beautiful cat and the most tireless and dedicated art worker I've ever known. We were partners in crime at the Grande Ballroom and the Detroit Artists Workshop, we founded Trans-Love Energies and the White Panther Party together, we worked side by side for several years while he beautifully interpreted all my ideas for cultural and social change into public artwork that could make people want to do things they'd never done before.
“After the movement ended in the mid-’70s we went our separate ways but reunited in Detroit in the 1980s in partnership with Frank & Peggy Bach to serve the Motor City music community for several years before Gary moved to the San Francisco Bay area. He was one of my greatest friends of all time, most valued co-worker and constant inspiration.”
John Sinclair relives his ups and downs with the MC5 in the next issue of MOJO – on sale January 28, 2014.
PHOTO: Leni Sinclair