list.co.uk/music MC50 | MUSIC
was heartbreaking, it was devastating; we worked so hard only to have it crumble in front of us, it was a terrible blow.’ Kramer was so upset he walked off stage after just a few songs. ‘There’s a life cycle to bands like there is to everything in nature. The MC5 endured pressure that most bands didn’t have to face. We had the FBI tapping our phones, we were arrested, we were indicted, we were harassed by police departments around the world plus we never made any money and you’ve got to put food on the table, bands can’t exist on good intentions. The MC5 never achieved any commercial success, we never pulled the golden horseshoe out of our ass.’
It wasn’t until decades later that Kramer realised the impact and inl uence the Motor City 5 had on the world of music. After the band broke up, Kramer struggled with drug addiction (even spending two years in prison after selling cocaine to undercover ofi cers in 1975), worked odd jobs and drifted in and out of various bands before playing with several versions of the MC5 since a partial reunion in 2003 (sadly Kramer and drummer Dennis Thompson are now the only surviving members). Now often cited as one of the founding fathers of punk rock, it’s this status that’s allowed Kramer to secure the insanely impressive line-up of musicians for this current tour, all paying respect to an artist, a band, an album and a legacy that inl uenced their own music and careers.
The politics and sentiments on Kick Out the Jams feel strangely prescient in the modern world. Unsurprisingly, Kramer is troubled by the current political climate in America. When we speak, it’s the eve of Brett Kavanaugh being sworn in to the US Supreme Court, despite protests and allegations of sexual assault. ‘It i ts the pattern of corruption; all this starts at the top and the top man is the President of the United States and he has corruption in his DNA, in his blood, and it just spills out from him, so I’m not surprised at what’s happening and I i nd it an international embarrassment and a national disgrace. He’s a third-generation, white nationalist, organised crime i gure and he should be in The Hague.’ Wayne Kramer’s still kicking out the jams after all these years.
MC50 play O2 Academy, Glasgow, Sat 10 Nov.
1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019 THE LIST 105