Skip to main content

MC5 Guitarist Wayne Kramer Returning to Jail — With Guitars

In the 1970s, Wayne Kramer, the guitarist for rock's seminal pre-punk band, MC5, spent two years in a federal prison for trying to sell cocaine to undercover agents.

Today, he's trying really hard to get back behind bars. Only this time he wants to bring his guitar with him, and enough guitars for a few dozen inmates to enjoy.

The Associated Press reports that Kramer, with some help from Foo Fighters' Chris Shiflett, ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and others, has formed Jail Guitar Doors USA. Kramer runs the nonprofit charitable organization with his wife, Margaret, out of his Hollywood studio.

Jail Guitar Doors USA has delivered countless instruments to prisons and jails in Nevada, California and Texas.

"When I played music in prison, I wasn't in prison anymore," Kramer, 63, said. "And that's what we're trying to accomplish with the instrument donations. That this is a way that you can get through this time, that you can go someplace else, you can get involved in your guitar."

Kramer was in his 20s when he arrived at the federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky, in the 1970s.

For more on this story, visit The Huffington Post.

Photo: waynekramer.com

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Damian Fanelli
Damian Fanelli

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor, and his non-Pulitzer-Prize-winning stories have appeared in Guitar Aficionado, Vintage Guitar, Total Guitar and countless other publications, including 13.7 metric tons of daily newspapers. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton and Ty Tabor chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (one of which appears in the 2015 Disney film 'Tomorrowland' starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson). He's in two NYC-area bands and plays Teles with four-way switches, B-benders and semi-snazzy aftermarket pickups. He quotes Terry-Thomas twice daily.