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BOOK REVIEW: The Hard Stuff by Wayne Kramer

| 7 June 2019 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The Hard Stuff by Wayne Kramer

Allen & Unwin
August 2018
Paperback, $32.99
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar


As guitarist with Sixties cult legends The MC5, Wayne Kramer was ahead of his times. The band were staunchly anti-establishment, anarchically political, pro-drug and revolution and whatever else ya got going on.

Being that far out of the comfort zone of society, and that passionate about one’s beliefs comes at a cost, though, and Kramer spent decades mired in his drug habit and a life of crime. The MC5 weren’t chart toppers, by any stretch, and even now remain a band talked about more than listened to.

After the band folded, broke, addicted, lost, Kramer found a new purpose: he became a thief, doing anything to fund the junkie lifestyle, got involved in more than enough scrapes to make this book fascinating reading, and ultimately ended up in jail for dealing heroin.

By his own account, Kramer wasn’t a good person, but he straightened himself out. He certainly had enough near-death experiences to warrant a self-reckoning and reassessment of his ways.

The Hard Stuff relates not only to Kramer’s intoxicants of choice: the rebuilding he has done on himself has been a difficult journey for him, he makes no bones about that, nor about falling many times along the road to recovery. But here he is, playing music again with The MC50, finally respected for his radical stance all those years ago. The times have caught up to Wayne Kramer, but finally he is humble and ready to own up to his mistakes, and determined to be a better person.

To quote the MC5’s most famous track, long may you Kick Out The Jams, Brother Wayne.

Category: Book Reviews

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