The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities

The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities

by Wayne Kramer


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The first memoir by Wayne Kramer, legendary guitarist and cofounder of quintessential Detroit proto-punk legends The MC5

In January 1969, before the world heard a note of their music, The MC5 was on the cover of Rolling Stone. The missing link between free jazz and punk rock, they were raw, primal, and, when things were clicking, absolutely unstoppable.

Led by legendary guitarist Wayne Kramer, The MC5 was a reflection of the times: exciting, sexy, violent, chaotic, and out of control, all but assuring their time in the spotlight would be short-lived. They toured the country, played with music legends, and had a rabid following, their music acting as the soundtrack to the blue collar youth movement springing up across the nation. Kramer wanted to redefine what a rock 'n' roll group was capable of, and there was power in reaching for that, but it was also a recipe for disaster, both personally and professionally. The band recorded three major label albums but, by 1972, it was all over.

Kramer's story is (literally) a revolutionary one, but it's also the deeply personal struggle of an addict and an artist, a rebel with a great tale to tell. The '60s were not all peace and love, but Kramer shows that peace and love can be born out of turbulence and unrest. From the glory days of Detroit to the junk-sick streets of the East Village, from Key West to Nashville and sunny L.A., in and out of prison and on and off of drugs, his is the classic journeyman narrative, but with a twist: he's here to remind us that revolution is always an option.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306921544
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 08/14/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 190,100
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Wayne Kramer, as the leader of Detroit's incendiary rock band The MC5, helped form the White Panther Party in solidarity with other organizations working for racial and economic equality during the Vietnam War, making him a target of the FBI's counterintelligence program. After serving a federal prison term, he released ten solo albums. He is considered a pioneer of both punk rock and heavy metal, with Rolling Stone naming him one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. Alongside songwriter Billy Bragg, Kramer founded Jail Guitar Doors USA, a non-profit with a mission to help rehabilitate prison inmates by teaching them to express themselves positively through music.

Table of Contents

Part 1

Prologue 3

1 Back to Detroit 6

2 Huck Finn Hits the Streets 14

3 Corrina, Corrina 23

4 Lincoln Park 28

5 The Siren's Call 38

6 Teenage Lust 48

7 Great Big Amp 54

8 "Burn, Baby, Burn!" 67

9 Come Together 78

10 The Human Being Lawnmower 84

11 Kick Out the Jams 88

12 The Fillmore Fiasco 96

13 Back in the USA 103

14 High Time 123

15 White Panther Justice 132

16 Last Legs 135

Part 2

17 Small-time Detroit Criminal 145

18 Misfire 153

19 Busted 157

20 Radiation 162

21 No Witnesses 166

22 Jailhouse Bound 175

23 The White Boy with the Wah-Wah 182

24 The Red Arrow 185

25 Day-to-Day Life and Death 192

26 Freedom 202

Part 3

27 Wheel Me Out 213

28 Gotham 219

29 In Exile 227

30 A Dead Man's Vest 231

31 Nashville Cats 235

32 Welcome to the Best Coast 240

33 Back on the Boards 247

34 A Farewell to Whiskey 256

35 No Easy Way Out 266

36 Problems of Abundance 277

37 Jail Guitar Doors 237

Epilogue 239

Acknowledgments 297

Index 299

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