Black To Comm
by MC5

  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • The title, which doesn't appear in the lyric, sounds like it could deal with depression or the dark arts, but it's actually a reference to electronics. The "comm" was the common connection on an amp, where the black wire went. In their early years, the MC5 often played on bills with other acts that all used the P.A. system supplied by the venue. "Black to comm" was simply an instruction.
  • This was the first song the MC5 wrote; they would often extend it for about 15 minutes. Lyrically, there's not much to it, mostly "come on" over and over with the line "In the midnight hour" thrown in there - a call-out to the Wilson Pickett hit (like the MC5, Pickett was raised in Detroit). "Black To Comm" was more about generating a white-hot energy on stage.
  • A studio version of this song was never released, and it didn't make it onto their debut album, which was recorded live in 1968. The first appearance of the song on disc was on the 1994 compilation Power Trip, which used a live version likely recorded in 1969. A studio version never materialized.
  • A band composition, Wayne Kramer credits his fellow MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith with its creation. "It took three seconds to write 'Black To Comm," Kramer said in the book Detroit Rock City. "We were experimenting with this sound, and Fred found a way to play this chord in this big amp - it was just thunderous."
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