The Hard Stuff • The Memoirs of Wayne Kramer

Dope, Crime, The MC5 & My Life of Impossibilities

    icon Oct 18, 2018
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This is a real page turner from Chapter 1 to Chapter 37 and 296 pages. Kramer can bounce back from adversity. He’s a survivor. From the time he left /escaped from a broken home and became a self-proclaimed renegade. It was his only chance to get away from the domestic violence. Music was his solace. By the age of 13 Kramer was playing a Rickenbacker and talking lessons. He was a natural musician with a marginal but effective solo singer. Detroit was the incubator  

Wayne met with other young musicians and they seemed to help each other, especially when it came to learning the difficult chords. It was 1963 and It wasn’t too long before Wayne learned the guitar parts of Red River Rock, Walk Don’t Run and the rhythm part to Honky Tonk. By this time Wayne became close to Fred Smith. They both loved Booker T & the MG’s and the Royaltones. By 1965 Wayne called his band the MC5 (Motor City 5) and he never looked back. One year later in1966, the MC5 was now a working band with Kramer as the leader. He essentially handpicked the band starting with Fred “Sonic“ Smith, guitar,  Rob Tyner (vocalist), Michael Davis (bass), Dennis Thompson (drums) with Kramer on guitar and vocal. John Sinclair managed the band (and played saxophone) and gave them a place to live and hone their skills.

The MC5 was a sonic wonder of hard rock with elements of funk, free form jazz and psychedelia. It was powerful.

By 1969, The MC5 had a following, kids that loved hard rock, jazz and psychedelic jams. They also had revolutionary politics on their mind.

In 1970 The MC5 performed at the YMCA for the senior class party of Arthur Hill High School. It was quite a come down for one of the most incendiary bands in the history of rock & roll music. They played their new album at the gig and salvaged their dignity and their legacy with performances of “Kick out the Jams”, Ramblin Rose, Teenage Lust, American Ruse and Shakin’ Street. In December, Sinclair was imprisoned at Jackson Prison, but was later released following a massive out pour of anger toward the vicious repressive system. Sinclair was imprisoned for ten years, which resulted in an outpour of anger across the country and over the seas. John Lennon (of the Beatles) showed up for the Free John Sinclair Rally and lo and behold Sinclair was given a pardon after a few months. Sinclair and Lennon & Yoko Ono became fast friends. In the aftermath of all that the MC5 continued to gig and record. Their final LP High Times was an incredible achievement, but nobody was listening.

Wayne continued to endorse helping ex-prisoners after they return home. It seemed like a way of paying back to those who still struggle in a repressive system.

For several years Wayne gigged as DKT/MCF with Michael Davis on bass and Dennis Thompson on drums, three of the original band members

Wayne Kramer was the leader of the MC5 but he almost lost everything from the effects of substance abuse including booze, liquor, heroin…anything). He was imprisoned twice and finally gained sobriety. He eventually married his manager Margaret Saadi and helped him keep honest. The couple eventually adopted a child.

Kramer has recently reprised the MC5 in order to celebrate their 50th Anniversary and has assembled an all-star band calling themselves the MC50.


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