Wayne Kramer, original guitarist and songwriter for MC5, will mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s Kick Out the Jams album with a tour and new memoir. Kick Out the Jams was originally recorded live over two nights in the fall of 1968 before its 1969 release.
In a statement, Kramer suggested that recent political developments made MC5’s music more valuable than ever. “The message of the MC5 has always been the sense of possibilities: a new music, a new politics, a new lifestyle,” he said. “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.”
Kramer will hit the road with MC50, a new group he likened to “punks on a meth power trip”: Kim Thayil on guitar (Soundgarden), Brendan Canty on drums (Fugazi), Dug Pinnick on bass (King’s X) and Marcus Durant on vocals (Zen Guerrilla). MC5’s original drummer Dennis Thompson will also sit in on select dates.
Every night, the band will perform all of Kick Out the Jams and a rotating encore. “The world has lived with these songs burned in amber for half a century, so I’m not interested in a note-for-note reproduction of a record you’ve known your entire life,” Kramer asserts. “It’s time to bring the monster back to life with supremely talented musicians who will interpret it in their own unique ways.” The tour kicks off this fall and will encompass over 30 dates. Further details have not yet been announced.
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In addition to touring the country, Kramer plans to release his memoir later this year. “I’ve come to accept that we were a dangerous band,” the guitarist said, “and that I lived a dangerous life.” He chronicles that danger in The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities, out August 14th.