It’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-induction-ceremony-time again. And as has been the case since probably the second year of the Hall’s existence, it also marks the season of think-piece campaigns for acts that have been “snubbed” by the institution. (Paste’s 2018 submission is pretty on point.)
A band often mentioned in those articles is the musically, politically and culturally explosive “Proto Punk” pioneers MC5, which (remarkably) formed the same year The Beatles made their culture-shifting appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, released its debut album, Kick Out the Jams, in 1968 and played its farewell show in 1972. In that relatively short span, the Michigan band’s music and entire essence inspired the next generation of music pioneers (particularly from the first Punk wave) and many consecutive generations of rockers ever since.
While the broad influence of the musicians— Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer, Fred “Sonic” Smith, Dennis Thompson and Rob Tyner — has been acknowledged by the Rock Hall in the form of preliminary nominations in 2003, 2017 and 2018, MC5 has still not made the cut.
Of course, Wayne Kramer (who is the only surviving member besides Thompson) isn’t sitting around waiting for love from the Rock Hall; after this year’s rebuke, he told Billboard he wasn’t going to put “any energy in woulda coulda shoulda.” Instead, he’ll be getting lots of love from appreciative music lovers across the country this fall.
Kramer is heading up the MC50 tour, celebrating 50 years since MC5’s debut full-length release. A small sample size of the band’s vast influence will be on display in the lineup for the tour. Rounding out Kramer’s MC50 band is Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, King’s X singer/bassist Doug “dUg” Pinnick and singer Marcus Durant, formerly of Blues/Rock/Psych punks Zen Guerrilla.
Kicking off in earnest in early September, the MC50 tour hits Cincinnati’s Bogart’s on Oct. 25. By then, it will be known whether or not MC5 was snubbed for Hall of Fame induction after being nominated for a fourth time. Now that Dire Straits and Journey are in (eye roll), maybe 2019 is the right time?