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Wayne Kramer Sings a Valentine

Former MC5 guitarist pens ode to CNN correspondent

February 14, 2002 12:00 AM ET

The number of rock star crushes on CNN anchors has doubled recently, as former MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer's affection for Christiane Amanpour has become public, with the release of the song "Christiana." For Joey Ramone, Maria Bartiromo was the CNN anchor that inspired him to write "Maria Bartiromo." For Kramer, best known for his gritty guitar work with the MC5, it was Amanpour who moved him to expose his softer side.

"There's been a lot of rock songs written about fictional women and I always find truth more exciting than fiction," says Kramer of his homage to Amanpour. "Listen, I've gotta admire a handsome, educated, intelligent, brave, media-savvy brunette that's willing to go into a war zone and tell people the truth about what's going on there. That just strikes me as someone that's admirable, even if she wasn't a pretty good-looking woman."

At the urging of his girlfriend/manager Margaret Saadi, Kramer sent a copy of the song -- recorded by his supergroup, Mad for the Racket -- to Amanpour's office last month, along with a letter assuring her that he was a sane, stable man with a consistent income and a home address. "I wrote her the letter to let her know that I really wasn't stalking her," Kramer says. "In this Mark David Chapman era, we live in, I wanted let her know I'm an adult, I have a girlfriend who actually happens to be a smart, media-savvy brunette with a Middle-Eastern surname herself."

Although happily committed to his girlfriend, Kramer says Amanpour's response to his schoolboy crush got the smitten guitarist's blood racing. "She said that she was 'amused, flattered and touched by the song,' and it made my day. It made my little heart go pitty-pat," says Kramer. "When I wrote it I never thought that it would actually ever get to her. They told me she was in Kandahar and they were trying to play it for her over the phone. She said to wait until she got back to London, so we sent a couple copies over to her office in London and then we heard back from their camp that Christiane was pleased. It's all kind of silly in a way, but it's fun. The song is like a war-time valentine."

The song is included on Mad for the Racket's debut album, The Racketeers. Written with Brian James of the Damned and recorded with former Guns n' Roses bassist Duff McKagan and a host of drummers including Clem Burke of Blondie and Stewart Copeland of the Police/Oysterhead, the album is out on Kramer's own Muscletone label.

In other Kramer news, he will be joined by the Rollins Band and Exene Cervenkova's new band Original Sinners at a March 8th benefit for the West Memphis Three at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. The West Memphis Three -- Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin -- were convicted in 1994 for the murder of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The hotly disputed case is alleged to be fraught with clumsy police work and trumped-up testimony and it ended with Baldwin and Miskelley drawing life prison terms, while Echols faces a death sentence. The boys' story was the subject of a pair of documentaries, the Emmy Award-winning 1996 HBO documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and its recent sequel, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations.

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