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Wayne Kramer

Biography

Wayne Kramer is a songwriter whose reputation writing music for film and television risks supplanting his legend as one of the world’s stellar guitarists. Rolling Stone lists him as one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. Wayne was the teenage founder and leader of the MC5, widely recognized as the prototype for punk rock, but he was also the first to incorporate a nod to free jazz. In 1969, the MC5 released the incendiary album Kick Out The Jams on Elektra Records, which included the hit of the same name. After being dropped from Elektra due to “radical antics”, they released two albums on Atlantic Records: Back In The USA, produced by Bruce Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau; and the critically hailed High Time. Between world tours, Wayne scored Gold and The Living Theatre’s film production of Paradise Now.
            
Wayne spent 1976-1978 in Lexington Federal Penitentiary where he was tutored by fellow inmate legendary Charlie Parker Quintet jazz trumpeter Red Rodney. It was Red who taught Wayne how to read music and together the two formed a prison band.  Then in the 1980s in New York City, Wayne teamed up with the infamous Johnny Thunders for a short-lived, headline grabbing, punk rock group Gang War. Soon after release, Wayne co-wrote the acclaimed R&B musical The Last Words of Dutch Schultz with Mick Farren, then joined Don Was’ revolutionary acid funk band Was (Not Was) as the group’s original guitarist. Ironically, he helped define the band’s sound through, of all things, a dance hit entitled “Wheel Me Out”.
            
In 1994, Wayne moved to Los Angeles and signed with Epitaph Records. He recorded four records in as many years. He also produced and co-wrote the album Full Circle with John Sinclair and produced a retrospective collection for Rhino Records entitled The Big Bang and a punk compilation Beyond Cyberpunk.
 
Wayne is currently scoring the third season of HBO’s East Bound & Down and the feature thriller Concrete Blondes and the acclaimed “zeitgeist” doc Let Fury Have The Hour. Wayne scored the comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby for Sony Pictures, where his song “Edge of the Switchblade” also runs at the film’s end title credits. Wayne composed the score for HBO’s controversial feature length documentary Hacking Democracy, which also utilized “Something Broken in the Promised Land” as its title track. He wrote additional underscore for the feature film Daydreamer and he will compose the score for Nelson Algren, a documentary about the legendary Chicago writer, in 2012.
            
While completing score and narration for the PBS documentary The Narcotic Farm about America’s decades-long failed drug war — as well as its accompanying free jazz soundtrack album entitled LexingtonWayne was featured on the release of Activision’s video game Guitar Hero: World Tour. Recent playing is featured on Marianne Faithfull’s new album, the television series Why Not? With Shania Twain for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and a Nickelodeon series theme The Troop for ‘tweens.
           
On television, Wayne’s title theme for the Fox Sports program 5-4-3-2-1 was a bona fide hit and he now has many themes running on Fox including, Spotlight, In My Own Words and Under the Lights. Wayne composed the theme for E!’s hit series Split Ends as well as the “Unlabeled” commercial for Jim Beam. His songs have been featured in a wide array of TV shows and feature films Jackass, Judging Amy, Millenium, Almost Famous, Rock ’n’ Roll High School, I Shot Andy Warhol and Pump Up the Volume. His cues are heard in NFL, NBA and MLB Playoff events and Food Network productions. He has written over 1000 cues for network production music catalogs, including Fox, TelePictures, PostHaste and Bravo’s 2010 series Kell on Earth, among others.
            
Wayne launched MuscleTone Records in 2001. Its flagship release was his album Adult World. In 2003, he music-directed a performance for the DVD Sonic Revolution: A Celebration of the MC5. That 30-minute documentary and 60-minute concert ran as broadcast staples for BBC-4 (UK) and Trio Networks (USA).
            
Wayne is recognized nearly as often as a vigorous social activist. Along with legendary British singer Billy Bragg, Wayne founded Jail Guitar Doors USA, a Los Angeles based 501(c)3 non-profit group that provides guitars for use in prisoner rehabilitation. Known as “the loudest charity on planet earth,” Jail Guitar Doors USA launched at Sing Sing Prison with in New York. Shepard Fairey donated the charity’s logo and board member Adam McKay’s company Funny or Die donated the design and programming of its interactive site. JGD-USA is currently building its Board of Directors

Biography

Wayne Kramer is a songwriter whose reputation writing music for film and television risks supplanting his legend as one of the world’s stellar guitarists. Rolling Stone lists him as one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. Wayne was the teenage founder and leader of the MC5, widely recognized as the prototype for punk rock, but he was also the first to incorporate a nod to free jazz. In 1969, the MC5 released the incendiary album Kick Out The Jams on Elektra Records, which included the hit of the same name. After being dropped from Elektra due to “radical antics”, they released two albums on Atlantic Records: Back In The USA, produced by Bruce Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau; and the critically hailed High Time. Between world tours, Wayne scored Gold and The Living Theatre’s film production of Paradise Now.
            
Wayne spent 1976-1978 in Lexington Federal Penitentiary where he was tutored by fellow inmate legendary Charlie Parker Quintet jazz trumpeter Red Rodney. It was Red who taught Wayne how to read music and together the two formed a prison band.  Then in the 1980s in New York City, Wayne teamed up with the infamous Johnny Thunders for a short-lived, headline grabbing, punk rock group Gang War. Soon after release, Wayne co-wrote the acclaimed R&B musical The Last Words of Dutch Schultz with Mick Farren, then joined Don Was’ revolutionary acid funk band Was (Not Was) as the group’s original guitarist. Ironically, he helped define the band’s sound through, of all things, a dance hit entitled “Wheel Me Out”.
            
In 1994, Wayne moved to Los Angeles and signed with Epitaph Records. He recorded four records in as many years. He also produced and co-wrote the album Full Circle with John Sinclair and produced a retrospective collection for Rhino Records entitled The Big Bang and a punk compilation Beyond Cyberpunk.
 
Wayne is currently scoring the third season of HBO’s East Bound & Down and the feature thriller Concrete Blondes and the acclaimed “zeitgeist” doc Let Fury Have The Hour. Wayne scored the comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby for Sony Pictures, where his song “Edge of the Switchblade” also runs at the film’s end title credits. Wayne composed the score for HBO’s controversial feature length documentary Hacking Democracy, which also utilized “Something Broken in the Promised Land” as its title track. He wrote additional underscore for the feature film Daydreamer and he will compose the score for Nelson Algren, a documentary about the legendary Chicago writer, in 2012.
            
While completing score and narration for the PBS documentary The Narcotic Farm about America’s decades-long failed drug war — as well as its accompanying free jazz soundtrack album entitled LexingtonWayne was featured on the release of Activision’s video game Guitar Hero: World Tour. Recent playing is featured on Marianne Faithfull’s new album, the television series Why Not? With Shania Twain for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and a Nickelodeon series theme The Troop for ‘tweens.
           
On television, Wayne’s title theme for the Fox Sports program 5-4-3-2-1 was a bona fide hit and he now has many themes running on Fox including, Spotlight, In My Own Words and Under the Lights. Wayne composed the theme for E!’s hit series Split Ends as well as the “Unlabeled” commercial for Jim Beam. His songs have been featured in a wide array of TV shows and feature films Jackass, Judging Amy, Millenium, Almost Famous, Rock ’n’ Roll High School, I Shot Andy Warhol and Pump Up the Volume. His cues are heard in NFL, NBA and MLB Playoff events and Food Network productions. He has written over 1000 cues for network production music catalogs, including Fox, TelePictures, PostHaste and Bravo’s 2010 series Kell on Earth, among others.
            
Wayne launched MuscleTone Records in 2001. Its flagship release was his album Adult World. In 2003, he music-directed a performance for the DVD Sonic Revolution: A Celebration of the MC5. That 30-minute documentary and 60-minute concert ran as broadcast staples for BBC-4 (UK) and Trio Networks (USA).
            
Wayne is recognized nearly as often as a vigorous social activist. Along with legendary British singer Billy Bragg, Wayne founded Jail Guitar Doors USA, a Los Angeles based 501(c)3 non-profit group that provides guitars for use in prisoner rehabilitation. Known as “the loudest charity on planet earth,” Jail Guitar Doors USA launched at Sing Sing Prison with in New York. Shepard Fairey donated the charity’s logo and board member Adam McKay’s company Funny or Die donated the design and programming of its interactive site. JGD-USA is currently building its Board of Directors

Gallery

Images


Discography

  • Gang War!
  • Kick Out the Jams
  • Back In the USA
  • Live 1969/70
  • The Big Bang! - Best of the MC5