MC5 have shared details of ‘Heavy Lifting’ – their first new studio album in over five decades. Check out the lead single ‘Boys Who Play With Matches’ below.

Announced today (June 6), the project will feature both guitar and vocals from the founding member Wayne Kramer, as well as a number of special guest appearances.

Framer was prolific for his work with the band over the past five decades, and the last remaining active member of the line-up. He died in February, aged 75, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Before his death, he co-wrote 12 of the 13 songs that feature on the upcoming album alongside Oakland singer-songwriter Brad Brooks.

Drummer Dennis ‘Machine Gun’ Thompson also contributed to the forthcoming LP shortly before his death in May. It will be his final studio recording.

Advertisement

Set to arrive on October 18, it is the first full album to be shared by MC5 since they dropped ‘High Time’ 53 years ago.

“It’s very heavy,” producer Bob Ezrin said. “It has a revolutionary message but also a good sense of humour. There’s a little bit of heavy metal. There’s quite a bit of funk. But it is a heavy record, and it’s a guitar record left, right and centre.”

Recommended

“Just a wall of guitars most of the time, and mostly driven by Wayne and his ethos,” he added. “It’s a snapshot of a guitar man at the height of his powers. We all feel a responsibility to make sure that his work is heard, and he is celebrated. We poured our hearts into the project.”

Listen to the lead single ‘Boys Who Play With Matches’ above.

Kramer opened up about the project last November in an interview with Uncut. “Live long and stay creative. This is my attitude. And this album continues from where ‘High Time’ left off. In that, I think it’s an artist’s responsibility to reflect the times they’re going through,” he told the outlet at the time. “And I think that we made an album that is in sync with where we’re at today and the challenges that we’re facing, and that carries a positive message.”

The new album has been teased by MC5 since 2022, when the band took to Instagram to share old footage of the punk veterans and a snippet of the title track ‘Heavy Lifting’.

Advertisement

Now, it has been confirmed that the LP will feature guest appearances from the likes of Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello, Slash, William Duvall (Alice In Chains), Tim McIllrath (Rise Against) and more.

A bonus edition of the album, featuring previously unreleased live recordings and appearances from Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, and frontman Marcus Durant (Zen Guerrilla), will also be available. Pre-order the album here and find the tracklist below.

MC5 ‘Heavy Lifting’ album artwork. CREDIT: Press

The ‘Heavy Lifting’ tracklist is:

1. ‘Heavy Lifting’ (feat. Tom Morello)
2. ‘Barbarians At The Gate’
3. ‘Change, No Change’
4. ‘The Edge Of The Switchblade’ (feat.William Duvall & Slash)
5. ‘Black Boots’ (feat. Tim McIIrath)
6. ‘I Am The Fun’ (The Phoney)
7. ‘Twenty-Five Miles’
8. ‘Because Of Your Car’
9. ‘Boys Who Play With Matches’
10. ‘Blind Eye’ (feat. Dennis Thompson)
11. ‘Can’t Be Found’ (feat. Vernon Reid & Dennis Thompson)
12. ‘Blessed Release’
13. ‘Hit It Hard’ (feat. Joe Berry)

Additional Tracklisting (2CD/2LP):
1. ‘Ramblin’ Rose’
2. ‘Kick Out The Jams’
3. ‘Come Together’
4. ‘Motor City Is Burning’
5. ‘Borderline’
6. ‘Gotta Keep Movin”
7. ‘Future/Now’
8. ‘Poison’
9. ‘Shakin’ Street’
10. ‘Sister Anne’

The October 18 release date is also one day before the band will be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame class of 2024, alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Cher, Dave Matthews Band, A Tribe Called Quest, Peter Frampton, Foreigner, Kool & The Gang and Mary J. Blige.

As well as the loss of both Kramer and Thompson, this April also saw the unexpected death of the band’s former manager John Sinclair.

His representative, Matt Lee, confirmed the passing of the 82-year-old poet and political activist at Detroit Receiving Hospital following congestive heart failure.

Sinclair was an influential activist who was best known for his fight toward legalising marijuana in the US and for his role in MC5. The Davison native was also a champion of civil rights and co-founder of the radical anti-racist group the White Panther Party.

The late activist also helped launch Iggy Pop And The Stooges. Pop was one of the first to pay tribute to Sinclair following his passing.

5580