Wayne Kramer and friends kick out the jams once more
WAYNE KRAMER: Live long and stay creative is my attitude. This album continues from where [1971’s] High Time left off, in that I think it’s artists’ responsibility to reflect the times they’re going through. We made an album that is in sync with the challenges we’re facing today, and that carries a positive message.
I was fortunate to have a great many friends that pitched in with me. Brad Brooks is an incredibly talented vocalist from the Bay Area, and we wrote the record together along with a bunch of other people. William Duvall from Alice In Chains sings a version of “Edge Of The Switchblade” that’s really slammin’, and Tim McIlrath [of Rise Against] co-wrote a song with me and he sings a bit on the record. Vicki Randle shares the bass with Don Was. I was lucky in the guitar department because Tom Morello played on a track, Vernon Reid played on a track, Stevie Salas from the touring band played on a few tracks, and my friend Slash played on a track. So it’s a guitar tour de force.
We had Abe Laboriel Jr on drums along with [original] MC5 drummer Dennis Thompson, and Winston Watson Jr from the touring band. And we put a few saxophones on there, because of the MC5’s commitment to free jazz, that were played by Joe Berry from M83. I tried to get as many writers involved as possible: I had the great Jill Sobule pitch in some lyrics and Alejandro Escovedo also co-wrote on the record.
I’m loath to try to explain songs, I think they’re better off standing on their own, but we have a song that deals with the January 6 event, and we deal with homelessness, which is a gigantic problem in this country. And we talk about the rise of fascism… I think these are important world events that need to have a spotlight put on them. Man’s inhumanity to man is a serious issue. But I also think that we should have some fun, and so there’s songs in there about hot-rod cars and cool clothes.
At the risk of sounding grandiose, fate has cast me as the curator of the MC5 legacy. And to be true to the legacy, I have to stay connected to the basic founding principles the MC5 represents: that we have a working-class approach to the art, and that we continue to try to push the music forward to reflect the world that we live in. We’re in a particularly volatile state right now, and I think that we’ve captured it as well as possible.