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The MC5 announce first album in over 50 years, American tour

Wayne Kramer of MC5 performs onstage during the second annual Rock for Recovery benefit concert at The Fonda Theatre on September 16, 2017 in Los Angeles, California
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Proto-punk electric guitar legend Wayne Kramer announced today that he's taking his band, the MC5, back on the road.

Additionally, Kramer revealed that a new MC5 album called Heavy Lifting – the first credited to the band since 1971's High Time – is scheduled for release via earMUSIC this October.

Ahead of their U.S. tour dates – which are scheduled for May – MC5 will release the two-sided Heavy Lifting/Edge of the Switchblade single, which is packed to the brim with special guests. The former tune boasts an appearance from, and was co-written by, Tom Morello, while the latter features Alice in Chains frontman William DuVall sharing lead vocals with Kramer.

You can get a preview of the hard-riffing Heavy Lifting below.

Though they never achieved great commercial success in their heyday, the MC5 – along with fellow Detroit natives the Stooges – helped pave the way for punk and alt-rock in the late 1960s and early 70s with their raw and overdriven riffing, confrontational, anti-establishment politics, and wild feedback excursions. Kick Out The Jams, the title track of the band's debut album, in particular stands out as one of the heaviest songs in the rock canon recorded before Black Sabbath's debut album.

Kramer, one of only two surviving original members of the quintet, last toured under the MC5 banner in 2018, anchoring an all-star lineup that included Soundgarden's Kim Thayil, Fugazi's Brendan Canty and Faith No More's Billy Gould.

The band's 2022 lineup, meanwhile, features Kramer on guitar, Brad Brooks on vocals, Vicki Randle on bass guitar, guitarist Stevie Salas and Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins.

Though the band's other surviving original member, drummer Dennis Thompson, won't tour with the group, he plays drums on both Heavy Lifting and Edge of the Switchblade.

"[With] nonstop touring, especially the last decade, I’ve come to understand that the music of the MC5 is as necessary as ever," Kramer said in a statement. "It’s definitely high time to write and record new songs and to carry a message of uncompromising hard rock to fans around the world."

You can check out the band's forthcoming itinerary below. For tickets and more info, visit Kramer's Facebook page (opens in new tab).

The poster for MC5's forthcoming 2022 American tour

(Image credit: Press)

MC5 2022 American tour:

5/05 – Detroit, MI @ El Club
5/06 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Thunderbird
5/07 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
5/08 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
5/12 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s 
5/13 – San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s 365 Club
5/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theatre
5/15 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.