It was December last year that I realized something was wrong with Future/Now. Around that time I was approached by a Japanese company which showed an interest in arranging a theatrical release of ATT in Japan. Having exchanged a couple of initial emails regarding this proposal, Future/Now suddenly fell completely silent. I sent a few followup emails urging their reply, but no answer came in. Finally I gave up, thinking some very serious problem must have occurred.
Then, January this year, through my correspondence with Svengirly Music about a separate matter, I happened to learn that there had been a problem between Future/Now and the surviving members of the MC5. I felt assured that the screening of the film in Japan would be infeasible in the foreseeable future.
It was on March 31 that Mick Farren forwarded me an article about ATT which appeared on the 3-31-04 Detroit News. (I received the same article directly from Future/Now thereafter.) It was going that Wayne blocked the release of ATT on DVD. Mr. Farren, who himself participated in the film answering to an interview, seemed to be very surprised at the news. You can read the article here.
I cannot reprint the article in Japanese here before obtaining the permission of the writer, Susan Whitall. As soon as she allows me to do so, I'll post the Japanese version. As a whole, it is written from the standpoint of Future/Now, and has thrown Wayne into the tremendous criticism.
While the Levis/commercialism controversy is settling, more intensive dispute is going on at Wayne's messasge board. Accordingly each of the surviving members posted own position statement on the newly formed DKT/MC5 website. As a start, I'm introducing Wayne's open letter in Japanese here with permission of Muscle Music. For the Japanese fans who don't know, Rebecca Derminer is Rob Tyner's widow. Wayne wrote a few times before that he was very thankful that the relationship with Rebecca and her family were being restored gradually through their participation in ATT. Now that their relationship has once again been completely destroyed, Wayne's disappointment and sorrow are unmeasurable.
I, myself, have shared some time with Laurel, David, and Jim at the Gothenberg Film Festival last winter. They were really kind and nice to me and I had a fantastic time. So, I'm very sad that such a problem should occur and it has become so much complicated.
My consolation, however, is that Wayne, Mike, and Dennis made their position clear and public so immediately. I imagine countless problems related to "licensing" happen over rock bands everywhere, but few of them are so candid and willing to make their opinion clear by themselves. This is a part of the MC5 legacy, and their fans should be proud.
Wayne's open letter in English is here .