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"Brother Wayne Kramer was the best man I’ve ever known": Tributes for MC5 co-founder Wayne Kramer, who has died aged 75

 The MC5s performing.
The MC5s performing.

Tributes are pouring in following the death of Wayne Kramer, co-founder of MC5, whose passing at the age of 75 was confirmed last night. 

He was definitely part of the solution

A short message on official social media accounts reads: "Wayne Kramer passed away today peacefully from pancreatic cancer. He will be remembered for starting a revolution in music, culture, and kindness."

Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello wrote: "His band the MC5 basically invented punk rock music... I’m pretty sure every album I’ve ever worked on the rawest fastest track had the working title “MC5”.

"Whenever and wherever any of us kick out the jams, Brother Wayne will be right there with us."

Jack White wrote: "We lost one of Detroit's greatest, brother Wayne Kramer of the MC5.

"The first guitar solo I ever sat down and learned was Wayne's from the 5 song "Looking At You".

"He was definitely part of the solution as he changed rock and roll and broke the ground wide open in Detroit for the rest of us."

Slash simply called Kramer "The embodiment of all things Rock n Roll. & a really fucking great human being."

Kramer founded The MC5 - short for Motor City Five - in 1963 and the band built a reputation for their raucous, barely controlled live appearances and their in-your-face left-wing politics and sloganeering.

Recording just three albums in their short career, MC5 were nonetheless massively influential, spawning a generation of noisy, politically engaged bands across the US and around the globe.

1969's Kick Out The Jams remains their best-known release, a rapid-fire mission statement. Born in the USA and High Time followed in 1970 and 1971, but the band remained an underground concern.

"Aesthetically, we were enormously successful," Kramer told PSF in 1988. "Economically... there was no success." By 1973 the band had disbanded.

Kramer served a four-year jail term for drug offences in 1975, and experience which inspired him to start Jail Guitar Doors U.S.A., a non-profit that provides musical equipment and songwriting workshops to inmates in US prisons.

Returning to music in the '90s Kramer released a number of solo albums before reviving the MC5 name and fronting multiple reunion gigs with guest stars and the band's other serving member (Rob Tyner died of a heart attack in 1991 and MC5 co-founder Fred “Sonic” Smith passed in 1994).

The MC5s performing
The MC5s performing

Speaking in 2013, Kramer said: "I want to play really to the end. Music isn’t really tied to being young. You can continue to develop your technique.

"You can continue to make your ideas more advanced or challenging and more unorthodox and passionate the longer that you go on. Most artists continue working right to the end, and I don’t see any reason for me not to do that as well.

"I enjoy playing that music for this whole new generation of music fans. It is fun. I dig it. I think that the MC5’s message of possibility is worthwhile, and I am happy to carry it off."