First New MC5 Album in 53 Years, 'Heavy Lifting,' Set for Release

The band lost its final surviving members in recent months, with the Detroit proto-punks set for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction this year

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jun 6, 2024

Detroit proto-punk innovators MC5 are set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year — news drummer Dennis Thompson received just weeks before his death. Thompson was the last surviving member of the band after guitarist Wayne Kramer died in February.

Kramer had been spearheading efforts on a new MC5 album — their first in over 50 years — with Canadian producer Bob Ezrin, which was announced back in 2022. Now, it's finally going to see the light of day: Heavy Lifting is set for release on October 18 (the same day as the Rock Hall induction ceremony) via earMUSIC, marking the first new record from the band since 1971's High Time.

"It has a revolutionary message but also a good sense of humour," Ezrin said of Heavy Lifting. "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. 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."

The title track, featuring Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, was shared alongside first word of the LP over two years ago. Full tracklist details reveal additional featured appearances from Slash, Alice in Chains' William Duvall, Living Colour's Vernon Reid, Rise Against's Tim McIllrath, and Joe Berry, as well as performances behind the kit by Thompson on two songs.

Today, you can hear new single "Boys Who Play with Matches." Find that and the full tracklist below.

Heavy Lifting:

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)

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