Dive into the legacy of Wayne Kramer, co-founder of MC5, the revolutionary band that reshaped rock history. Uncover the untold stories, tributes from icons like Tom Morello, and the shocking details of his final musical journey. Discover the profound impact left by this legendary guitarist.
Wayne Kramer, co-founder of MC5, the iconic and politically charged band, has passed away at the age of 75. The announcement came via his Instagram page, stating, “Wayne S Kramer. Peace be with you. April 30, 1948 – February 2, 2024.”
Hailing from Detroit, Kramer, alongside guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith and frontman Rob Tyner, shaped MC5 into a powerhouse in the city’s music scene, standing alongside peers like the Stooges.
MC5, short for Motor City 5, gained fame with their explosive live performances, sharing stages with legendary acts like Cream. Their revolutionary spirit, evident in their debut album “Kick Out the Jams,” protested against war and social injustice, leaving an indelible mark on the 1970s punk rock movement.
Despite commercial setbacks and internal struggles leading to the band’s breakup in 1972, Kramer continued his musical journey, even enduring a prison term in the mid-’70s. He resurfaced in the ’90s as a solo artist, signing with Epitaph Records, and later revitalized MC5, embarking on a global tour, including a 50th-anniversary celebration in 2018.
Kramer, who was preparing to release a new MC5 album, emphasized the need to revive the spirit of 1968 in the face of contemporary challenges.
In addition to his musical contributions, Wayne Kramer co-founded the US branch of Billy Bragg’s Jail Guitar Doors initiative, providing instruments for prison inmates. Tributes poured in, with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine honoring Kramer as a man of profound wisdom, compassion, and conviction.