Musician, Author, MC5 Founder Wayne Kramer Keynote Speaker for 2022 Night for Notables

The Library of Michigan and Library of Michigan Foundation are pleased to announce singer/songwriter and activist Wayne Kramer of MC5 is the keynote speaker for the 2022 Night for Notables celebration on Saturday, April 30 at the Library of Michigan.

The Night for Notables is an annual celebration of the recognized Michigan Notable Books selected as well as Michigan’s best writers. This year’s event celebrates three (3) years of notable books and authors as well as continues the tradition of a previous Notable Book author as the keynote speaker.

“It is always important for us to have a Michigan Notable Book author provide the keynote for the event,’ said State Librarian Randy Riley. “Authors talking to other authors about the significance of Michigan in their work hits the right note.” Kramer’s memoir The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities was a 2019 Michigan Notable Books selection. Previous keynotes have included Michigan graduate Jesmyn Ward, Michigan State graduate Richard Ford, poet Thomas Lynch, “Ordinary People” author Judith Guest, director Michael Moore, and “Bird Box” writer Josh Malerman.

Born in Detroit in 1948, Wayne Kramer first came to prominence as founding lead guitarist of the Detroit rock group MC5. Originally a cover band, MC5 quickly developed an explosive and fiercely original sound borrowing from avant-garde jazz, rock, and rhythm and blues. They then stormed the rock world with 1969’s Kick Out the Jams, the galvanizing live document (recorded at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom) which introduced a major voice of late ’60s Midwest counterculture and proved incomparably influential on metal, punk, hard rock and almost every other form of loud, boundary-pushing music to follow. They recorded two more albums before imploding: 1970’s Back in the USA, produced by rock critic (and future Bruce Springsteen manager) Jon Landau, and their 1971 creative zenith, High Time.

The last days of 1972 also marked the final performance of the original MC5 line-up, thereby ending a turbulent existence marked by drugs, acrimony, financial woes, police harassment, FBI surveillance, and lots of uncompromising, unequaled rock-and-roll fury. In spite of MC5’s limited run, their sound and politics during a volatile time in America’s history made the band one of the most controversial of the late 1960s.

Following his time with MC5, Kramer would go on to write and record nearly a dozen solo albums and collaborations with many other artists. He has curated various MC5 celebrations, including the MC50 tour in 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kick Out the Jams. That same year, Kramer published his memoir The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities, which would be named a Michigan Notable Books selection in 2019.

Here is a link to a recent article in the Detroit News on Mr. Kramer. Detroit News March 9, 2022

For more information about the 2022 Night for Notables event, please visit www.libraryofmichiganfoundation.org/mnbnightfornotables/. Additional information about the Michigan Notable Books program may be found by going to www.Michigan.gov/NotableBooks.