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Detroit's MC5 nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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If all goes well, Detroit's MC5 may be kicking out the jams at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony next April in Brooklyn.

The legendary rock band from Allen Park -- long considered one of the most significant snubs in the Rock Hall's history -- is one of 19 acts on the ballot for the class of 2017. It's the group's second nomination, following a nod in 2003. Ballots are being mailed to voters now, and the public can also vote at rockhall.com.

The inductees will be announced during early December.

Despite the group's legacy as counter culture revolutionaries, guitarist Wayne Kramer, says he'd like to see the MC5 get its due from the music industry "establishment." "It's a good thing to be recognized for your work," Kramer says by phone from Los Angeles, where he now resides. "I had a vision for the band when I started it, and being in a hall of fame was never part of it. "The band never achieved great commercial success and wealth and any of that, but I think our contribution was significant."

Launched during 1964 in Allen Park, the MC5 released three albums -- the first a live set in 1969 titled after the enduring anthem "Kick Out The Jams" -- and were also controversial counter culture activists, performing in Chicago during the violent 1968 Democratic National Convention and serving as the house band for the White Panther Party founded by band manager John Sinclair.

"The music business was afraid of us and what we represented," Kramer says. "What we represented was young people of our generation who ha serious concerns about a war that they could not justify, about people of color being treated differently than white people, about sexual mores that weren't consistent with their humanity.

"These were subjects the music industry didn't want to confront, so it was much easier to just band us from the radio and kick us off their record labels and hope that we would go away. But the fact that we were the tip of the spear for our generation didn't go away, and the musicians themselves have been the ones that have continued to be the MC5's champions, right up to today."

Kramer and drummer Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson are the sole surviving members of the MC5's original lineup. Singer Rob Tyler died in 1993, guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith passed away in 1994 and bassist Michael Davis died in 2012. Kramer says that the absence of his comrades would make an induction "bittersweet," but he and Thompson will be happy to represent them that night.

"I talk to Dennis fairly regularly. We're still close," say Kramer, who's working primarily with film music these days as well as his Jail Guitar Doors initiative to use music as a form of rehabilitation in correctional facilities, including in Saginaw. "I'm sure it would be very important to both of us. It wouldn't be a bad thing."

Other Rock Hall nominees this year include Pearl Jam, Jane`s Addiction, Journey, the J. Geils Band, Yes, the Zombies, Tupac Shakur, Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan, Chic, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, Joan Baez, Joe Tex, Steppenwolf, the Cars and Krafwerk. More information about the Rock Hall and in the nominating process can be found at rockhall.com.

Web Site: www.rockhall.com

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