MC5 to Release New Album ‘Heavy Lifting,’ First LP in 53 Years

Proto-punk legends MC5 will release their first album in over 53 years this October, with Heavy Lifting arriving just months after the deaths of guitarist Wayne Kramer and drummer Dennis Thompson, MC5’s last surviving original members.

Back in 2022, Kramer first revealed that the band, along with producer Bob Ezrin, were working on an all-star album that would serve as the first MC5 LP since their High Time was released in 1971.

Many of those guests ended up on Heavy Lifting, including Slash, Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, Alice in Chains’ William Duvall, Rise Against’s Tim McIIrath, Don Was, and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, who appears on the album’s title track and opening number.

Ahead of Heavy Lifting’s October 18 release — timed to the band’s posthumous induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — MC5 have shared their first single, “Boys Who Play With Matches”:

Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2022, Kramer — who died in February 2024 at the age of 75 — talked about collaborating with singer/songwriter Brad Brooks (the pair co-wrote 12 of the album’s 13 tracks) and working with the impressive guest list, which Kramer said was “just an outgrowth of the band’s core ideology.

“We are all part of the same mindset, living in the same world, and we all want to make a difference,” Kramer told Rolling Stone at the time. “Each collaborator to a person has helped me to relay that message. Also, my songwriting with Brad Brooks has really been a therapeutic process … for both of us. And then to layer Bob Ezrin on top added a whole new layer of complexity that then widened my scope and my ideas even further.”

Heavy Lifting, available to preorder now, also features MC5 drummer Dennis Thompson, who died in May at the age of 75, on a pair of tracks, “Blind Eye” and “Can’t Be Found,” which also mark Thompson’s last-ever recordings.


Ezrin added of Heavy Lifting in a statement, “It has a revolutionary message but also a good sense of humor. 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 center. Just a wall of guitars most of the time, and mostly driven by Wayne and his ethos. 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.”

Heavy Lifting Track List
“Heavy Lifting (Feat. Tom Morello)”
“Barbarians At The Gate”
“Change, No Change”
“The Edge Of The Switchblade (Feat. William Duvall + Slash)”
“Black Boots (Feat. Tim McIIrath)”
“I Am The Fun (The Phoney)”
“Twenty-Five Miles”
“Because Of Your Car”
“Boys Who Play With Matches”
“Blind Eye (Feat. Dennis Thompson)”
“Can’t Be Found (Feat. Vernon Reid + Dennis Thompson)”
“Blessed Release”
“Hit It Hard (Feat. Joe Berry)”

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