The fourth time could be the charm for the MC5.
The iconic Detroit rock troupe -- often credited as a key influence for punk, grunge and other movements that came in its wake -- has been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2019. It follows previous nominations for the classes of 2003, 2017 and 2018, and after those three strikes guitarist and co-founder Wayne Kramer is taking the new nod with a grain of salt.
"We seem to be like a dog chasing his tail," Kramer says by phone from Los Angeles, where he now resides. "It is a level of recognition. It's always nice to be recognized for your work, so I wouldn't complain about it in that way. And I guess it's good for business; If you win an Academy Award, then next to your name they always say 'Academy Award Winner,' 'Grammy Award Winner,' 'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member...'
"But it doesn't mean that much to me. It certainly doesn't affect my personal life. We'll just see what happens."
This year's Rock Hall list includes first-time nominees Def Leppard, Stevie Nicks, Devo, Roxy Music and Todd Rundgren. Along with the MC5, returning nominees include Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, the Zombies, the Cure, Kraftwerk, John Prine, LL Cool J, Janet Jackson and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan.
Public voting for the Rock Hall class of 2019 -- which will comprise one "fan ballot" to be added to the professional votes -- begins at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at www.rockhall.com/vote. The induction ceremony will be held March 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with ticket details TBA.
The MC5 formed during 1964 in the Detroit suburb of Lincoln Park and broke up during 1972 after three studio albums. Only Kramer and drummer Dennis Thompson remain alive from the lineup, which also included Rob Tyler, Fred "Sonic" Smith and Michael Davis. This year's nomination comes at a particularly visible time for the group. Kramer is on the road this year with MC50, an all-star troupe featuring musicians from Soundgarden, Faith No More, Fugazi and Zen Guerilla that's celebrating the 50th anniversary of the recording of the group's iconic 1969 debut album, "Kick Out The Jams," at Detroit's Grande Ballroom. The group is playing shows on Oct. 26 at Saint Andrews Hall and Oct. 27 at the Fillmore Detroit.
Kramer has also published a revealing memoir, "The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, The MC5 & My Life of Impossibilities."
"The experience that I've had on this tour so far has been massive crowds at every event. Even shows that I thought would not be well-attended have been," says Kramer, who's also the co-founder of the Jail Guitar Doors organization, taking into prisons. "We've had incredible crowds, and the enthusiasm and the passion the fans are expressing for the band has been humbling. I never realized how many people out there love the MC5. We're an overnight success -- it only took 50 years!"
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