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A member of the legendary MC5, guitarist and proto-punk icon Wayne Kramer returned to prominence during the 1990s as a solo performer. Born April 30, 1948 in Detroit, he co-founded the MC5 in 1965, teaming with the great Fred "Sonic" Smith to create the band's incendiary twin-guitar attack. Their first album, 1969's Kick Out the Jams, remains one of the most influential records of the era, its raw, visceral sound laying the groundwork for the rise of punk a decade later. However, after just two more LPs -- the 1970 masterpiece Back in the U.S.A. and the next year's High Time -- the group dissolved; Kramer spent the better part of the years that immediately followed battling a drug problem, even spending two years in prison for dealing cocaine. Upon his release he teamed with Johnny Thunders in the group Gang War, followed by a stint with Was (Not Was); he also spent a good deal of the '80s living in relative anonymity in Key West, Florida. Kramer resurfaced in 1995 with his solo debut The Hard Stuff, issued on the noted post-punk label Epitaph; in addition to two subsequent efforts, 1996's Dangerous Madness and 1997's Citizen Wayne, he also concurrently teamed with fellow Motor City legends Scott Morgan and Deniz Tek in the band Dodge Main. Several live albums and collections closed the decade out. A various-artists effort presented by Kramer, Beyond Cyberpunk, was issued in early 2001, followed in 2002 by his first solo studio album in years, Adult Life. ~ Jason Ankeny
30 April 1948 in Detroit, MI
'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s