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Dennis Thompson, last remaining member of MC5, dies at age 75

Flowers on a casket. (Unsplash)

DETROIT — Dennis Thompson, the MC5 drummer known as “Machine Gun” because of his aggressive style of drumming, died Thursday at a long-term care facility in Taylor, according to his family. He was 75.

Thompson was the last remaining member of powerhouse Detroit rock outfit MC5, who were announced as inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in April. The deeply influential rock act, known for its counterculture politics and its rollicking anthem “Kick Out the Jams,” had been nominated for induction six times but had never made the cut. The band was awarded entry this year as part of the Rock Hall’s Musical Excellence honorariums, and is set to be inducted at a ceremony in Cleveland on Oct. 19.

Thompson’s death follows the death of MC5 singer Wayne Kramer, who died in February at age 75, and former MC5 manager John Sinclair, who died last month at age 82.

Thompson grew up in Lincoln Park and joined the MC5 in 1965, when he was still in high school. His father worked two jobs and his dream was that his son graduate with an engineering degree from Wayne State University. Fate, it seems, had other plans.

“If my parents ever thought I would wind up on a high performance search and destroy team as the MC5, I think my drums might have magically disappeared one night,” Thompson wrote in a 2018 post on his website.

Thompson also played drums in the MC5 revival act, DKT/MC5, from 2003 to 2012.

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