Wayne Kramer – Death Tongue (1991)

FrontCover1As one component of the legendary MC5, guitarist Wayne Kramer helped create the soundtrack for a revolution that never came — but not for lack of trying. With its proto-metal-cum-free-jazz-scree rock’n’roll, the Five gave voice to the dope, guns and fucking in the streets discourse that exploded from Detroit, homebase of the radical White Panther organization for which they served as de facto house band. When the MC5 sank into a morass of drug abuse and lethargy after adviser John Sinclair was sent to prison on drug possession charges (a predicament that befell the guitarist a decade or so later), Kramer went into semi-retirement.

The counter-counterculture agitator re-emerged around 1980 to join Johnny Thunders in Gang War, a dead-end partnership documented only on a ten-years-after album of live tracks and studio scraps. Collaboration with writer/ex-Deviant Mick Farren proved far more successful. Following a mid-’80s live album as the resurrected Deviants, the pair created “an R&B musical,” Who Shot You Dutch?, which flourished in live performance in New York for a good while; musically, the songs documented on the 12-inch hold up today.


With Farren and New York scene vet John Collins (guitar/vocals) billed and pictured on the cover, Death Tongue is a literal continuation of that project. “Who Shot You Dutch?” appears on the ten-track CD, along with a ludicrous put-on version of “MacArthur Park” and originals written by various permutations of the trio. Cheap production and dime-store drumming keep Death Tongue in the margins, but the down-in-the-mouth rockers (“Spend the Rent”), resistible come-ons (“Take Your Clothes Off”), angry missives (“Negative Girls”), poignant reflection (“The Scars Never Show”) and the cheery MC5-like riptide of “Fun in the Final Days” do limber Kramer up for his next major campaign. (Farren and Collins, meanwhile, continued on as Tijuana Bible.) (by Trouser Press)


John Collins (vocals, guitar)
Mick Farren (vocals)
Wayne Kramer (guitar, bass, vocals)
Sgt. Jeff McGowan (piano, synthesizer)
Ed Steinberg (drums)
Sgt. Herman Wright (saxophone)
background vocals:
Ellard Boles – Hank Bones – Sherryl Marshall

on “Who Shot You Dutch”:
Ellard Boles (bass)
Charlie Giordano (keyboards)
Wayne Kramer (guitar, vocals)
Dave Diario – Ellard Boles – Henry Beck – Ina May Wool – Sherryl Marshall


01. Take Your Clothes Off (Collins/Farren/Kramer) 3.26
02. Spike Heels (Collins/Farren/Kramer) 4.03
03.  Spend The Rent (Collins/Farren/Kramer) 4.43
04. Negative Girls (Kramer) 4.38
05. Death Tongue (Collins/Farren/Kramer) 5.13
06. Leatherskull (Farren/Kramer) 4.45
07. The Scars Never Show (Collins/Farren) 4.42
08. MacArthur Park (Webb) 5.16
09. Fun In The Final Days (Collins/Farren/Kramer) 3.31
10. Who Shot You Dutch (Farren/Kramer) 6.21



Wayne Kramer

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