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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Inspired By The Truth

Thank you Christopher Halson Griffiths for using Instagram, all the way from DC, to give me a heads up that Wayne Kramer, of the MC5, was going to be in Suttons Bay MI for the Michigan Library Tour on Wednesday afternoon. 

How in the heck did our library get the honor to host Wayne Kramer and his new book, The Hard Stuff? He was chosen for the Michigan Notable Book Award to tour four libraries and talk about his book. His story was a revelation into his life as a Motor City revolutionist! From wire taping to being a part of the White Panthers he is known for "Kick Out The Jams"!  

Not having read the book, yet, he gave us his memoirs, on stage. Reading excerpts from the book to playing "The Old Triangle" he told his story. From out of the horse's mouth came the truth of a life lived full circle. Not feeling up to par because of radiation treatment for cancer he stood on the stage and spoke of his life experiences and how they shaped him to be the man that he is now. He spoke a well versed vocabulary.   

His wife and son were on this tour with him. It was a heartfelt family affair. She spoke with the audience as we lined up to have him autograph the book and she took pictures. 

He said on stage that he liked the question and answer part of the show. He did it well, every question was answered fully and we learned/understood a lot more than when we first sat down. He truly listened to what his audience wanted to say to him. Everyone had a different take on their experiences within the space and time of the MC5, politics and the Vietnam War. What we also learned about was prison mentality and how it affects the people incarcerated for punishment. He spoke of "Jail Guitar Doors USA, a nonprofit with a mission to help rehabilitate prison inmates by teaching them to express themselves positively through music." (Quoted off the jacket cover of the book.) Or as Will Hoge puts it, "a guitar or a gun". Life choices. Tough ones at that. 

So when it was my turn in line to have my copy of his story autographed I told him I had brought him a present. I told him it was political and that my son is the bass on this recording. Not playing the bass, he is the bass. To me it seems that "My American Dream" and Wayne Kramer run parallel. Thus the Will Hoge cd. Wayne said he would listen to it on the way home. 

The last musician memoir I read was Jaco "The World's Greatest Bass Player". After listening to Wayne Kramer tell his story I can't wait to read his memoir. Musicians are a special breed in that they are born with a special language at birth. Some may go and learn a second language but a musical artist is born with this gift. 

I think "we done kicked them out"! Thank you for the pleasure and the privilege of your story well told Wayne Kramer!

Afterwards, this dynamic duo went and sat outside at Martha's Leelanau Table and enjoyed cocktails and fried green tomatoes as we talked about the story we just heard. Our waitress took our picture. Thank you Debbie, it is a rare opportunity to have a photo of both of us together.


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