Goodbye to John Sinclair

Goodbye to John Sinclair

John Sinclair, artist, manager and activist as well as a leading figure on the American countercultural scene between the 1960s and 1970s, died today in Detroit at the age of 82: the local newspaper Detroit Free Press reported the news.

Born in Flint, Michigan, in 1941, after graduating from the city's university Sinclair began writing for various underground newspapers, such as – among others – Fifth Estate and Downbeat, and then became – between 1966 and 1969, the manager of the MC5, the legendary band led by the late Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith: the band, after three years of collaboration, chose to interrupt the relationship with the agent due to the too radical vision in political – social terms of the himself, who – despite everything – remained in contact with bassist Michael Davis, with whom he launched the Music Is Revolution Foundation.

Convicted several times for possession of marijuana, Sinclair was sentenced to ten years in prison in 1969 for having offered a modest quantity of the substance to an undercover police officer: leading figures in the music scene intervened to plead the case for his release internationally such as Stevie Wonder, Phil Ochs and Bob Seger, as well as John Lennon, who included the song “John Sinclair” in the 1972 album “Some Time in New York City”.

In 2006 the artist joined the Black Crowes during a show at Paradiso in Amsterdam during which he recited his poem “Monk in Orbit” during the instrumental of “Nonfiction”: a few days later, Sinclair held another reading, appearing during a repeat of the show with the performance of “Fat Boy” during the instrumental section of “How Much for Your Wings?”.

A friend of Iggy Pop, who he supported in the early stages of his career with the Stooges, and of the producer Don Was, Sinclair has several volumes of criticism and musical dissemination dedicated to blues and jazz to his credit.