“My name is Wayne Kramer, and
I’m mostly known as a guitar player, but
for a few years I was known as 00180I90
when I was in the custody of the Federal
Bureau of Prisons.”
|Kramer—with signature U.S. Flag Stratocaster—leads the band’s final bow at Lancaster.
Seconds later, the MC5 founder—and
one of Rolling Stone’s top 100 guitarists of
all time—kicked off a jail yard concert for
600 inmates in the California State Prison
at Lancaster. Kramer’s band also included
Gilby Clarke, Matt Sorum, Corey Parks, Carl
Restivo, Corby Gallegos, Eric Gardner, Jill
Sobule, Phil Ranelin, and Mellow Man Ace.
The Lancaster event was sponsored
by the non-profit organization, Jail Guitar
Doors—named after the Clash song about
Kramer’s incarceration for selling cocaine in
the ’70s—which donates guitars to prison
music programs. British alt-folk musician
Billy Bragg launched Jail Guitar Doors in
the U.K. to honor his late friend, Joe Strummer,
and teamed up with Kramer and his
wife in 2009 to open the U.S. branch. Collectively,
they have donated hundreds of
guitars (largely Fender and Taylor acoustics)
for prisoner rehabilitation all around
|Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke takes heed of the rules.
“Being able to play music was crucial
to my own rehabilitation,” said Kramer.
“It’s a way to process your problems.”
At Lancaster, the Kramers donated
12 Fender acoustic-guitar packages. The
prisoners who get the privilege of playing
these guitars earn that right by signing
an agreement with the prison to abstain
from drugs, alcohol, violence, racism, and
gangs for two years or more. For more on
Jail Guitar Doors, visit jailguitardoors.org.