The MC5 has another chance to kick out the jams at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The influential Detroit band, known for its ferocious sound and strident populist politics during the late 60s, has been nominated for induction into the Rock Hall for a third time as part of a 19-act ballot announced on Thursday, Oct. 5. The group was previously nominated in 2003 and again last year. But guitarist Wayne Kramer, one of the MC5’s two surviving members, isn’t allowing himself to get too optimistic about the prospects for induction.
“I actually hadn’t thought about it since this time 365 days ago,” Kramer, 69, says by phone from Los Angeles, where he now resides. “I’ve had my fair share of disappointments in my fine, fine career as an artist, so I have to protect myself against unnecessary pain. I deal with what’s real and what’s happening and I try not to put any energy into woulda coulda shoulda.
“Plus, I don’t live in yesterday; I have my hands full with what I’m doing today. I never close the door on the past, but I don’t live in the past.”
The MC5, considered the house band at Detroit’s legendary Grande Ballroom, released three studio albums between 1969-71, including the seminal “Kick Out The Jams,” and generated considerable controversy for its political and social viewpoints as the musical arm of the White Panther Party founded by onetime manager John Sinclair.
“It’s just so awkward because it seems as if the people that kicked the MC5 out of the music business are some of the same people that run the Rock Hall,” Kramer says. “Maybe there’s been a turnover and there’s a new generation that sees the significance of what me and my friends did a long time ago, I don’t know.”
The group’s 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 drummer Dennis “Machine Gun” Thompson will be happy to represent them that night.
The rest of the Rock Hall ballot includes first-timers Radiohead, the Moody Blues, Rage Against the Machine, Dire Straits, Judas Priest, Eurythmics, Kate Bush, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Sharpe. They’re joined by returnees Bon Jovi, the Cars, Depeche Mode, the J. Geils Band, LL Cool J, the Meters, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Link Wray and the Zombies.
Inductees are chosen by more than 900 music industry professionals, while a public vote to assemble one additional is taking place via rockhall.com. The inductees will be announced in December, with the ceremony taking place April 14 at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland and filmed by HBO for subsequent broadcast.
Send your thoughts and comments to