Wayne Kramer, Jail Guitar Doors Hits Austin

Sat down with Wayne Kramer Monday, and mostly we talked book stuff with a twist. The challenge is to ask something that hasn’t been asked a million times, and I’ll know if I succeeded when I listen back and get a chance to pore over the material. We talked about how he had once said that talking about the MC5 is part of his job, “but man, I do get tired of it.”
Of course. Think of being tethered to your past in such an inextricable way, especially as you forge new musical territory and enter more venues of expression and interest. But he does an admirable job of both fostering legacy and remaining vital and current.
In our two-plus hours together, I focused on the music, which sometimes gets lost when it comes to the MC5 in recent discussions. And that’s a crime.
Speaking of crime, another subject that gets lost when talking of Wayne Kramer is his work with Jail Guitar Doors, a group devoted to making musical instruments available to prison inmates. Kramer started the US chapter of the group that was launched in the UK by Billy Bragg in 2007.
This week, Kramer heads to Austin, Texas for a JGD event Friday. The proceeds will buy amps and guitars for inmates at the Travis County Correctional Complex.
“We launched Jail Guitar Doors in Austin and went into the complex with a bunch of guitars,” Kramer said. “My idea for Jail Guitar Doors is that it’s like a franchise, a local bottom-up movement because that’s the only way anything ever changes. The idea is that if you in Milwaukee or somewhere in Iowa, you can do your own Jail Guitar Doors show and deliver the guitars not as gifts but as a challenge to use these instruments as a tool, as a new way to express yourself.”





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