Guitarist with pioneering punk band MC5, Wayne Kramer played in several other bands during his long musical career. Born Wayne Stanley Krambes in Detroit on April 30, 1948, he formed the MC5 in 1963 with guitarist Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith and singer Rob Tyner, under the supervision of manager John Sinclair, a poet and free jazz enthusiast known for his political activism. Under his influence, the Michigan band forged their live reputation in a style that borrowed from garage rock, hard rock, psychedelic rock, blues and rock'n'roll, as evidenced by their debut album Kick Out the Jams (1969), recorded live, which made headlines and symbolized the counterculture on the move. Followed by studio albums Back in the USA (1970) and High Time (1971), and then a split in 1972, the MC5’s standing in rock history left a deep mark on Wayne Kramer, who served a prison sentence for drug trafficking before resuming his musical career in 1979 with Don Was in the group Was (Not Was), then alongside Johnny Thunders in Gang War, whose only recording appeared in 1990. Alongside other groups that he performed with or produced, the guitarist made his own solo albums including Death Tongue (1991), The Hard Stuff (1995), Dangerous Madness (1996), Citizen Wayne (1997), LLMF (live, 1998), Adult World (2002) and Lexington (2014), which was named after the prison that he served his sentence in. He also created three different musical projects: Dodge Main in 1996, Mad for the Racket in 2000 and Xmarsx with saxophonist Mars Williams in 2002. Wayne Kramer also collaborated with other artists such as Bad Religion, Mudhoney, Rage Against the Machine, and Coheed and Cambria. He also became involved with Jail Guitar Doors association, which provided prison inmates with musical instruments. Wayne Kramer took part in MC5 reunions, including one that celebrated the 50th anniversary of Kick Out the Jams in 2018. In 2021, Wayne Kramer took part in the Detroit Stories album by another native of the city, Alice Cooper, before dying of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles on February 2, 2024, at the age of 75.

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Stations Featuring MC5

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