Friday, January 21, 2011
Ann Arbor, Michigan-based proto-punks the Up were formed in the spring of 1967 by vocalist Franklin Bach, then the stage manager and announcer at Detroit's famed Grande Ballroom. Rounded out by guitarist Bob Rasmussen, bassist Gary Rasmussen and drummer Vic Peraino (soon replaced by Scott Bailey), the group was managed by David Sinclair, the brother of local White Panther Party leader John Sinclair, and as such their history became inextricably linked with that of local revolutionary rockers the MC5, with the two bands even living together at the same Ann Arbor commune. The Up regularly opened for the MC5 as well, and were the opening act at the legendary September 1968 show at the Union Ballroom that so impressed Elektra Records president Jac Holzman that he offered a contract not only to the Five but also the second act on the bill, the Stooges; as both groups went on to national notoriety, the Up remained mired on the regional circuit, becoming the primary musical outlet for the White Panthers' propaganda after the MC5 broke away from the party. Finally, in 1970 the Up recorded their debut single "Just Like an Aborigine," a blistering cut similar in sound and spirit to the punk records which emerged from Britain at the end of the decade; a second single, "Free John Now!" — a rallying cry in honor of the imprisoned Sinclair — followed a year later. Although the group disbanded in 1973 — Gary Rasmussen later resurfaced in Sonic's Rendezvous Band — they left behind enough material for a 1995 retrospective LP, Killer Up! - All Music Guide
I recently saw some great photos of The Up playing outside the Michigan Union from spring 1971 which resparked my interest in them.
I came across this great interview with their bassist Gary Rasmussen where he talks about life at the Translove Energies commune (White Panther/MC5 etc headquarters) on Hill St, if that interests anyone.