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MC5 Guitarist Wayne Kramer Dead at 75

Date: February 27, 2024 Time: 1:57 pm
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Date: February 27, 2024 1:57 pm

Legendary MC5 guitarist and leader Wayne Kramer has died at the age of 75.

The news was confirmed through Kramer’s various social platforms with a brief message that read:

Wayne S. Kramer
“PEACE BE WITH YOU” 🕊️
April 30, 1948 – February 2, 2024

No additional details were revealed about the cause of Kramer’s passing.

Queens of the Stone Age’s Joey Castillo and The Go-Go’s Kathy Valentine were among those initially offering the condolences on the post from Kramer’s Instagram page.

Wayne Kramer – The MC5 Legend

Kramer got an early start in music, forming MC5 while still at teenager in 1967. The group gained attention for their raucous live performances and strong political statements delivered through their music.

The group got their start playing Detroit’s Grande Ballroom, mentored by manager and poet John Sinclair, who co-founded the White Panther Party.

The MC5’s tenure was brief, with the band recording only two major label studio albums and a live album. They included 1969’s Kick Out the Jams, featuring the high energy title track that would become their signature song, as well as 1971’s Back in the USA and 1972’s High Time.

MC5, “Kick Out the Jams”

Due to their vocal political beliefs, the group faced governmental harassment and radio backlash over the course of their career. As a result, they would eventually split by 1972.

After MC5 split, Kramer ran into legal trouble when he sold drugs to undercover federal agents. As a result, he was sentenced to four years in prison.

Following his release from jail in 1979, Kramer returned to music, playing with Was (Not Was), and Gang War among others. He also found work as a session guitarist and worked as a producer for other acts. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, he also had a side career in woodworking.

In the ’90s, he started up a solo career, one that yielded five studio albums.

READ MORE: 32 Bands That Don’t Actually Have ‘The’ In Their Names

In 2018, Kramer returned to the road with an all-star lineup of musicians to celebrate 50 years of “Kick Out the Jams,” playing with Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron, Fugazi’s Brendan Canty and King’s X’s Dug Pinnick among others.

In 2022, Kramer spoke of plans to record a new MC5 album. He even went so far as teasing a new song called “Heavy Lifting” that featured a guest turn from Tom Morello.

Though nominated multiple times, the MC5 have yet to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But their influence has remained strong over a generation of musicians. Revisit a few more MC5 favorites below.

MC5, “Looking at You”

MC5, “Let Me Try”

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Gallery Credit: Loudwire Staff

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