Wayne Kramer

MC5’s Wayne Kramer Passes Away Following Pancreatic Cancer Battle


Wayne Kramer, the vocalist/guitarist for influential hard rock/proto punk, etc. outfit MC5 and more, has passed away at the age of 75. A post shared across his social media today, February 02nd, reveals that Kramer passed away today following a battle with pancreatic cancer. That statement reads:

Wayne Kramer passed away today peacefully from pancreatic cancer. He will be remembered for starting a revolution in music, culture, and kindness.

If you would like to honor Wayne, donations are appreciated to his nonprofit organization, Jail Guitar Doors

In addition to his musical legacy, which earned him a spot among Rolling Stone‘s 250 greatest guitarists of all time, Kramer was known for his activism and charitable work, particularly in the field of social justice and addiction recovery issues.

Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello is among the musicians to pay tribute to Kramer thus far, offering:

“Brother Wayne Kramer was the best man I’ve ever known. He possessed a one of a kind mixture of deep wisdom & profound compassion, beautiful empathy and tenacious conviction. His band the MC5 basically invented punk rock music and was the only act to not chicken out and performed for the rioting protestors at the 1968 Dem National Convention.

I’m pretty sure every album I’ve ever worked on the rawest fastest track had the working title “MC5” (“Sleep Now In The Fire” for example). Wayne came through personal trials of fire with drugs and jail time and emerged a transformed soul who went on to save countless lives through his tireless acts of service.

He and his incredible wife Margaret founded @jailguitardoorsusa which founds music programs in prisons as life changing effective rehabilitation. I’ve played with Wayne in prisons and watched him transform lives, he was just unbelievable. Wayne had a soft heart but was also Detroit tough as nails.

A couple months ago (at 75 years old) Wayne beat the crap out an intruder in his home that menaced his family. And whenever any charity or union or human rights activist event was coming up Wayne would always heed the call. ALWAYS. From our “Frostbite And Freedom” performances during the Madison union uprising to Wayne “Chainsaw” Kramer knee deep in fire ants in the 9th Ward in New Orleans post-Katrina reclaiming living spaces for those affected.

Helping folks get sober. Helping ex-cons find a job. Helping at risk youth start careers in music. Wayne was a guardian angel to so many. But mostly Wayne was a great friend, a beautiful comrade, and an older brother who helped me to forgive myself for making mistakes, take chances with my music, and never be afraid to help those in need.

The countless lives he’s touch, healed, helped and saved will continue his spirit and legacy. He was like a non-fiction Tom Joad. Whenever and wherever any of us kick out the jams, Brother Wayne will be right there with us. (If you want to honor Wayne, donations to @jailguitardoorsusa would be the way to do it)”

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