Wayne Kramer, leader of Detroit’s proto-punk/hard rock band MC5, announces 15 concerts and 4 summer festivals for Kick Out the Jams: The 50th Anniversary Tour. MC50 includes guitarist Kim Thayil, drummers Brendan Canty and Matt Cameron, bassists Dug Pinnick and super producer Don Was, and 6’7” powerhouse frontman Marcus Durant. With it, Kramer will be celebrating the landmark anniversary of the MC5’s incendiary debut album Kick Out the Jams as well as the release of his memoir The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities, to be published August 16th by Faber & Faber in UK. Tickets
All-Star Group Features MC5 Founder Wayne Kramer Joined by
Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Brendan Canty (Fugazi),
Dug Pinnick (King’s X), Marcus Durant (Zen Guerrilla),
Don Was (Was Not Was) and Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam)
MC50 opens the tour with four shows in the UK in four consecutive nights. “I will come to England, where some of the greatest live shows of my life were performed in the MC5, to play Kick Out the Jams again with these great musicians. Doing so is the best possible tribute to the legacy. To borrow from Claude Lanzmann, there will be ‘No Retirement and No Retreat.’ Let’s rock.” In addition to performing the album in its entirety, Kramer and friends will follow it with an encore of other MC5 material that will change each night.
MC50 will have just completed a series of Detroit concerts back where it all began, and where Kick Out the Jams — recently cited by Pitchfork as one of the 50 best albums of the 1960s — was recorded live in front of a raucous hometown audience at the Grande Ballroom on Halloween night in 1968. As Kramer explains, “This band will rip your head off. It’s real, raw, sweaty, total energy rock and roll, like a bunch of 40-to-70-year-old ‘punks on a meth power trip.’ I’m not interested in a note-for-note reproduction of a record you’ve known your entire life. The world has lived with these songs burned in amber for half a century, so we’re going for an energy blast to end all. Let’s bring the monster back to life with supremely talented musicians who will interpret it in their own unique ways.”
Kick Out the Jams is recognised as the galvanizing live document that introduced a major voice of late ’60s counterculture and proved incomparably influential on metal, punk, stoner rock and almost every other form of loud, limitless, long-haired music to come. The recording took place just months after the band’s appearance at Chicago’s riotous 1968 Democratic National Convention — a pivotal moment in modern American politics.
“The message of the MC5 has always been the sense of possibilities: a new music, a new politics, a new lifestyle,” Kramer says of revisiting Kick Out the Jams. “Today, there is a corrupt regime in power, an endless war thousands of miles away, uncontrollable violence wracking my country — it’s becoming less and less clear if we’re talking about 1968 or 2018. I’m compelled to share this music I created with my brothers 50 years ago. My goal is that the audience leaves these shows mesmerized by the positive power of rock music,” says Kramer. “I’ve come to accept that we were a dangerous band. The music we made at that time represented something that said — we are part of a tribe, we are part of a bigger movement — and apparently it still represents that.”
In The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities, Kramer chronicles his abusive childhood, his discovery of rock and roll through artists like Chuck Berry and the Yardbirds, and the beginnings of the MC5, which he founded when he was a teenaged Downriver greaser obsessed with guitars, girls and hot rods. He tells the unique story of a band that supplemented the usual sex, drugs, and rock and roll with radical politics, the White Panther Party, FBI surveillance, wiretapping and more.
The heart of the book is an intimate portrait of Kramer’s post-MC5 life, which included a federal prison term, addiction struggles that lasted decades, reconnection with his long-absent father, finding the path to sobriety at 50, and incredibly, first-time fatherhood at the ripe age of 65. Channeling his revolutionary spirit into a life of public service, Kramer founded Jail Guitar Doors USA (with British troubadour Billy Bragg), a charity that rehabilitates prison inmates by helping them to express themselves positively through music. A story of second chances, The Hard Stuff charts Kramer’s evolution from rock star to inmate to feature film composer to prison-reform advocate to father.
The MC5’s sonic thunder continues to reverberate a half-century after they first stormed the rock world, and Kick Out the Jams: The 50th Anniversary Tour is a rare chance to experience the album performed live again. “People come up to me all the time and say, ‘Brother Wayne, Kick Out the Jams changed my life,’” Kramer once said. “I usually tell them: ‘I’m sorry, I can’t change it back.’” 2018 European Tour Dates Tickets
08 Jun – Denmark, Northside Festival, Aarhus
22 Jun – Spain, Askena Festival, Vitoria
20 Jun – Sweden, Liseberg Amusement Park Series
06 Jul – Belgium, Sjock Festival, Lille
09 Nov – UK, Bristol Academy
10 Nov – UK, Glasgow ABC
11 Nov – UK, Manchester Albert Hall
12 Nov – UK, London Shepherds Bush Empire
14 Nov – France, Paris Elysee Montmartre
15 Nov – France, Montpellier Rockstore
21 Nov – Italy, Milan, Alcatrazz
22 Nov – Switzerland, Zurich Komplex
23 Nov – Germany, Munich, Neue Theatrefabrik
25 Nov – Austria, Vienna Flex
27 Nov – Germany, Cologne, Gloria
28 Nov – Germany, Berlin, Columbia Halle
29 Nov – Germany, Hamburg, Fabrik
30 Nov – Holland, Alkmaar Victory
01 Dec – Belgium, Antwerp, Trix
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