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Sep 19, 2018

Everybody knows at least one MC5 song – and that would be “Kick Out the Jams,” mofo. Know more? Points to you, my friend. In 1969, the year when “Kick Out the Jams” was released, there was a lot of competition for attention in rock ‘n’ roll:

• David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” was released, as was the first album by The Stooges.

• Creedence Clearwater Revival released “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising” and “Fortunate Son.”

• Elvis Presley returned to the stage and had huge hits with “In the Ghetto” and “Suspicious Minds.”

• Led Zeppelin and the Jackson 5 released their first albums and The Who released “Tommy.”

• All that, plus The Beatles performed live for the last time, Charles Manson’s followers murdered Sharon Tate, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, the Mets wons the World Series, and I was in Mrs. Arnesan’s 4th grade class at Judd Elementary.

WAYNE KRAMER podcast excerpt: "I think The MC5 always resonated with other bands and other musicians first. Stephen King says, "We all write for one other person.' Well, musicians always play for other musicians. We want to impress each other first. The MC5 was a musician's band, so musicians have always given The MC5 their props and kept the band alive."

All of which made me wonder if Wayne Kramer, guitarist of the MC5, ever forgave Rolling Stone critic Lester Bangs for calling Kick Out the Jams (the album) a “ridiculous, overbearing, pretentious album.” Certainly the magazine had second thoughts: years later it named it one of the 500 best albums of all times. And Rolling Stone called Kramer, my guest today, one of 100 greatest guitarists of all time. This year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kick Out the Jams, Kramer is back on the road. And the guitarist has written a memoir, The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, The MC5 & My Life of Impossibilities.

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