Wayne Kramer of MC5 has passed away

He was 75 years old

Wayne Kramer has passed away. The musician of MC5 was 75 years old.

The news was announced on the official Instagram profile, accompanied by the message: “PEACE BE WITH YOU April 30, 1948 – February 2, 2024.” The cause of death has not yet been disclosed.

Listed among Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest guitarists, Kramer founded MC5 in Detroit in 1963. The classic lineup also included singer Rob Tyner, guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith (later the husband of Patti Smith), bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson.

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Musically, they are considered pioneers of punk along with fellow Detroit band The Stooges. They were also symbols of the tougher side of counterculture during their time (notably their performance during the protests outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago). They immediately made history with the live album “Kick Out the Jams,” recorded in October 1968 (featuring the famous shout “kick out the jams, motherfuckers!”).

In the early part of their career, they released only two other albums, “Back in the USA” in 1970, produced by Jon Landau, and “High Time” in 1971. Kramer faced legal troubles (imprisoned for attempting to sell drugs to an undercover agent, as referenced in The Clash’s song “Jail Guitar Doors”) but went on to have numerous collaborations in the following years. In the 1990s, he recorded for the punk label Epitaph, revived the band, and celebrated the half-century mark of “Kick Out the Jams” with the all-star MC50 band, featuring members from Soundgarden, Fugazi, King’s X, and more. He made significant contributions to the alternative rock scene.

“My life back then wasn’t boring, and it isn’t now either,” he told Rolling Stone in 1998. “The terror of being an old man without money and health insurance, ending up homeless and sick, that’s what gets me out of bed and keeps me writing songs and moving forward. It’s not just for fun or a game; it’s serious business.”

He hadn’t stopped making music and had recently announced the release of a new MC5 album, “Heavy Lifting,” in the spring of 2024. Produced by Bob Ezrin, the album features guests like Tom Morello, Slash, Vernon Reid, William DuVall of Alice In Chains, and others. In an interview with Mojo, he described it as a “guitar extravaganza.”

Read also his interview on hit channel:

Interview: Wayne Kramer (MC5, solo)

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