MC5 Guitarist Wayne Kramer Dead at 75 – Legacy, Music, and Impact

Detroit, Michigan – Guitarist Wayne Kramer, co-founder of the influential rock band MC5, has passed away at the age of 75. The news of his death was announced on his Instagram page, marking the end of an era for the politically charged and raw sound of the Detroit band.

Kramer, raised in Detroit, formed MC5 with his friend Fred “Sonic” Smith, and frontman Rob Tyner. The band quickly gained a formidable live reputation and signed with Elektra in 1968. Their debut album, Kick Out the Jams, solidified their status as an incendiary force in the music scene, known for their revolutionary zeal and heavy guitar sound.

After the band’s split in 1972, Kramer continued his music career, spending time in jail for drug-related charges and then returning to the music scene in the mid-90s. In 2001, he formed a supergroup to perform MC5 music and reignited the band as a touring entity with various iterations. Additionally, Kramer was preparing to release a long-awaited third studio album from the band at the time of his death.

Kramer’s legacy goes beyond his musical endeavors. In later life, he co-created the US arm of Billy Bragg’s Jail Guitar Doors initiative, providing musical instruments for prison inmates.

The news of his passing has prompted an outpouring of tributes, including one from former collaborator Tom Morello, guitarist with Rage Against the Machine, who described Kramer as possessing a unique mixture of wisdom, compassion, empathy, and conviction. Kramer’s impact on the music industry and his dedication to social causes leave a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire future generations.