Wayne Kramer, co-founder, guitarist and singer of Detroit proto-punk band MC5, has died. The news was shared on the official social pages of Kramer and MC5. The cause of death has not yet been revealed. Kramer was 75 years old. Founded in the mid-sixties, the MC5 (acronym for Motor City 5) represented, together with Iggy Pop’s Stooges and Lou Reed’s Velvet Undrground, the American way to hard rock. They released their debut album and milestone in rock history “Kick Out the Jams” in 1969, which was recorded over two nights in October 1968 at the Grand Ballroom in Detroit, the band’s hometown.
The band celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the album with a tour in 2018. In their iconoclastic and highly politicized lyrics (their manager and ideologue was in fact John Sinclair, leader of the White Panthers) the MC5 celebrated sex, drug use and rock music in an impetuous and unconventional way for the time. The MC5 influenced important punk groups such as the Sex Pistols, Ramones and hardcore punk such as the Dead Kennedys, reaching the rapcore/funk metal of Rage Against the Machine, close in both musical and political attitude to the MC5 and also garage rock groups such as Hellacopters were influenced by the MC5.