“Brothers and sisters, the time has come for each and every one of you to decide. Whether you are going to be the problem… or whether you are going to be the solution. You must choose. It takes five seconds. Five seconds of decision. Five seconds for you to realize your purpose here on the planet. It takes five seconds to realize it’s time to move. It’s time to get down with it! Brothers and sisters, it’s time to testify! Are you ready to testify?”
We lost artist, musician, activist, husband, father, and friend Wayne Kramer this past Friday. I first met Brother Wayne (and his wife Margaret) in 2003 as we launched Punkvoter.com & Rock Against Bush. It took me five seconds that day to realize I had met my mentor, collaborator, friend, and brother. We spent hundreds of hours conspiring…. discussing politics, current events, activism, and ways to build community. Brother Wayne taught me patience and organizing through kindness, love, and empathy instead of using the overused tactics of fear and urgency.
He always showed up and asked how he could be “put to work” and “be of service.” Just imagine more people showing up and asking these simple and essential questions.
Honor Wayne’s Legacy By Donating to JailGuitarDoors.org
Here are a few videos from rallies and events Catalyst Campaigns produced with Brother Wayne over the years.
ROCKING AGAINST WARS Operation Ceasefire, a 12-hour Free Music Festival, to reignite the anti-Iraq war movement back in 2005. Brother Wayne signed on board early and helped line up other artists such as Adam Eidenger, Robin Bell, and Eric Hilton (Thiervry Corp), and I got to planning. Check out this video from Robin Bell of Wayne playing Bomb Day in Paris and jamming with The Bellrays.
ROCKING FOR WORKERS RIGHTS. In 2010, Wayne worked with Scott Goodstein and then AFL-CIO’s Sec. Treas. Liz Shuler on ways to get more energy, culture, and music back into the Labor Movement. Watch these two videos of Wayne Kramer & The Street Dogs playing Kicking Out The Jams and Up The Union at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, DC.
Shortly after this event… Gov Scott Walker declared War on Workers, and Brother Wayne took our call and flew to Wisconsin. He was joined by Tom Morello, Street Dogs, Ike Rielly, Jackson Browne, Tim McIlrath (Rise Against),. and Chris Shifflett (Foo Fighters). Watch This Land is Your Land – and World Wide Rebel Song from the first Frost Bite & Freedom rallies of 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.
FEELING THE BERNI Watch Brother Wayne Kick Out The Jams in Davenport, Iowa, for Bernie Sanders in 2015. The all-star band included Wayne Kramer, Marshall Crenshaw, The Bellrays, Jill Sobule, William Duvall (Alice in Chains), Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits), Sean Kelly (The Samples), Ryan Miller (Guster), Eric Gardner (Street Sweeper Social Club), Brad Jones, Pinky Weitzman, Mathew Grimm & Brother Trucker. Here is a video of Wayne Kramer performing Jail Guitar Doors.
Wayne Kramer was a giant in the movement who sadly passed from pancreatic cancer. Please honor his legacy and commitment to justice reform by donating to JailGuitarDoors.Org.
Photo: 2012 Wayne Kramer, Jill Sobule & Scott Goodstein at Patuxent Correctional Facility, Jessup, MD.