Michael Davis, bassist for the politically charged punk-rock pioneers MC5, passed away at the age of 68 on Friday as the result of liver failure. MC5′s influence in the hard-rock world stretches from their contemporaries the Stooges to future acts like Rage Against the Machine.

According to Davis’ wife Angela, the bassist died at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, Calif., on Friday after being hospitalized for one month for liver disease.

MC5 formed in 1964 in Michigan and their classic lineup was comprised of Davis, singer Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, and drummer Dennis Thompson. The band only released three albums before essentially breaking up in 1972.

The title track off their first album, 1969′s ‘Kick Out the Jams,’ became their signature tune and has been covered by many bands, including Rage Against the Machine.

Following the deaths of Tyner and Smith in the 1990s, the surviving members of MC5 began playing reunion shows in 2003 and then officially re-formed in 2005 with Dictators frontman Handsome Dick Manitoba handling lead vocal duties.

Davis was also a successful music producer and a talented graphic artist. In addition he started the Music is Revolution Foundation to help fund music classes in public schools.

Watch MC5 Perform ‘Kick Out the Jams’


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