His reputation, of course, precedes him....
HIS REPUTATION, OF COURSE, PRECEDES HIM. Yet it’s not his five solo albums or years lost to drugs and prison that give Wayne Kramer’s life the stamp of legend. In the ’60s, he played guitar for Detroit’s proto-punk outfit MC5 and it will forever overshadow everything else he does.
He knows this, and includes a suitably raucous version of MC5’s ‘Kick Out The Jams’ on ‘LLMF’ (Live Like A Motherf–er, natch). However, including something of such seminal potency only throws the shortcomings of Kramer’s solo work into higher relief. Nothing can capture the raw, prescient energy of ‘Kick…’. Not the raunchy hardcore of ‘Take Your Clothes Off’, certainly not the awful blues of ‘Count Time’. Even the Stooges-esque ‘Bad Seed’ is corroded by an overlong guitar solo.
The question isn’t so much whether Kramer can still rock like a bastard. He can. It’s just that where once his guitar licks stung with revolutionary zeal, they now stutter with echoes of his own history. He’s telling stories that we’ve heard before, straining against forces that would deem him obsolete.
What Kramer doesn’t understand is that he hasn’t ‘lost it’, he’s just passed it on to another generation.