Wayne Kramer, MC5 co-founder, dies at 75

 February 4, 2024

Rocker Wayne Kramer, co-founder of legendary Detroit rock band MC5, passed away on Friday at a hospital in Los Angeles after losing a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Kramer's passing was announced by Jason Heath, a close friend and executive director of Kramer’s nonprofit Jail Guitar Doors USA.

MC5 was an incredibly influential band, and from the 1960s to the early 1970s, its revolutionary sound dominated and influenced many famous bands, from the Clash to Rage Against the Machine.

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello reacted to Kramer's passing, saying, "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."

MC5 never experienced massive commercial success, but that was in line with the chaotic themes that Kramer and his bandmates were pushing. What the group didn't have in mainstream notoriety, it more than made up for by influencing an entire generation of rockers.

Kramer was unapologetic to the end, as in a December interview with Mojo Magazine, he said, "Pushing music forward, carrying a message of self-efficacy and empowerment — and just to have fun. It’s all in the MC5. Creativity is the solution for the challenges we face."