MC5's Wayne Kramer Sets 'Kick Out the Jams' 50th Anniversary Tour

Wayne Kramer MC5
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Wayne Kramer of MC5 performs onstage during the second annual Rock for Recovery benefit concert at The Fonda Theatre on Sept. 16, 2017 in Los Angeles.

MC5 founding guitarist Wayne Kramer will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kick Out the Jams, the Detroit garage rockers’ iconic debut album, with a major tour and book release. 

Kramer will head out on the road later this year for 35-plus concerts with an all-star caliber band, dubbed MC50. He’s recruited brother Wayne on guitar along with guitarist Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), drummer Brendan Canty (Fugazi), bassist Dug Pinnick (King’s X), and frontman Marcus Durant (Zen Guerrilla) for the special concerts, which will see Kick Out the Jams played in its entirety followed by an encore of MC5 works that will change each night.

“The message of the MC5 has always been the sense of possibilities: a new music, a new politics, a new lifestyle,” comments Kramer in an statement announcement the dates. “Today, there is a corrupt regime in power, an endless war thousands of miles away, and uncontrollable violence wracking our country. It’s becoming less and less clear if we’re talking about 1968 or 2018. I’m now compelled to share this music I created with my brothers 50 years ago. My goal is that the audience leaves these concerts fueled by the positive and unifying power of rock music.” 

The North American leg of the Kick Out the Jams: The 50th Anniversary Tour begins early September and culminates Oct. 27 at The Fillmore Detroit. Kramer and Co. will warm up with a string of European summer festival dates.

With Kick Out The Jams, an anti-establishment force of nature, MC5 kicked off a career that inspired generations of rockers. The Motor City 5 formed during the mid-60s in Allen Park, Mich., south of Detroit and, after a turbulent existence, called it a day with a final concert at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom on New Year’s Eve in 1972.  During that brief run, they established themselves as one of the most important hard rock acts of their era. They’ve been nominated for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction on three occasions, and many argue the band is well overdue.

Original drummer Dennis Thompson, the only other surviving member of the MC5, will perform on select MC50 dates, which have yet to be announced. Singer Rob Tyner and guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith died in 1991 and 1994, respectively, and bass player Michael Davis passed away in 2012. 

In what is shaping as a busy year for Kramer, the veteran musician will publish his memoir The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities, through Da Capo Press

According to a statement, the book is at heart “an intimate portrait of Kramer’s post-MC5 life, which included a federal prison term, addiction struggles that lasted decades, reconnection with his long-absent father, finding the path to sobriety at 50, and, incredibly, first-time fatherhood” at the age of 65. 

“I’ve come to accept that we were a dangerous band and that I lived a dangerous life,” he comments. “The music we made at that time represented something that said — we are part of a tribe, we are part of a bigger movement — and apparently it still represents that.” 

The Hard Stuff is slated for release Aug. 14.


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