MC5 Drummer Dennis Thompson Passes Away at 75

MC5 Drummer Dennis Thompson Passes Away at 75, Last Surviving Original Member

MC5 drummer Dennis Thompson, the last surviving original member of the iconic band, passed away Thursday morning at MediLodge of Taylor at the age of 75. He had been undergoing rehabilitation after suffering a heart attack in April.

Thompson’s death comes just over three months after fellow MC5 cofounder Wayne Kramer’s passing. Other pivotal figures in the band’s history, all deceased, included singer Rob Tyner, guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and guitarist Kramer. The group’s former manager, John Sinclair, also passed away on April 2.

Earlier this year, the MC5 was posthumously voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is scheduled for October in Cleveland.

Following his time with the MC5, Thompson continued performing locally with various Detroit bands and participated in reunion projects with Kramer during the 2000s.

Formed in 1965, the MC5 credited their rise to their blue-collar work ethic and dedication. The band was signed to Elektra Records, but after a dispute with Detroit department store Hudson’s, Elektra dropped them despite their album’s success. The MC5 then signed with Atlantic and released two more albums, “Back in the USA” (1970) and “High Time” (1971), before their farewell show at the Grande Ballroom on December 31, 1972.

Reflecting on the band’s journey, Thompson told the Detroit Free Press, “We thought we were a good band and were on our way. The band liked to rehearse — everybody loved to play. We loved what we were doing. It was fast cars, hanging out at the drag strip. It was the best way to break away from the system where you went straight to a factory if you didn’t go to college.”

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Pooja Chauhan

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