Rob Tyner

12 December 1944 – 17 September 1991

Rob Tyner at the Detroit Love-In, April 30, 1967

Rob Tyner at the Detroit Love-In, April 30 1967

Rob Tyner: (December 12, 1944 – September 17, 1991) Musican, poet, artist; “Let me be who I am.” 

“He was a rock and roll intellectual. When he was in high school, he was the school beatnik, weirdo. He was a teenage who took the name of Coltrane’s piano player as a stage name- that should give you some idea of the kind of guy he was… He gave the MC5 direction. He was the intellectual leader of the band, writing the words and shaping the songs with Wayne into what they thought it should be. He grew all the time as an artist and a performer, just as the band did. He was a guy who had a lot of great ideas and put ’em into action.” –John Sinclair

Source: Jason Gross, Perfect Sound Forever: Rob Tyner Four part Tribute

Tyner redefined himself as the ultimate front-man, the Shaman at the center of the chaos, the tribal leader intent on “resensifying the People” through song, dance, expanded consciousness, and ecstatic union (the White Panther’s “Total Assault on the culture through Rock ‘n’ Roll, Dope and Fucking in the Streets,” man!) Rob Tyner sure looked like one baaad motherfucker. As his hair “grew out” so too did the music of the MC5 “grow out” – from predictible British Invasion-inspired covers to awe-inspiring Avant Rock, incendiary proto-Punk, and a slinky form of pre-Metal rarely recreated since. –David Thomas,

“My relationship with Rob was kind of orginally defined by the fact that I didn’t have a father. He was kind of a mentor for me…Rob in fact invented Wayne Kramer. I was born into this world as Wayne Kambes. When we were all reinventing ourselves, he said ‘your name should be Wayne Kramer.’ It sounded good, like an American product, like Kramer Brand American Cheese. He invented Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, Dennis ‘Machine Gun’ Thompson. These were all products of Rob’s fertile imagination…. He was a singing motherfucker. He sang with great passion and great soul. He was just a DYNAMIC live performer- there was nobody like him. He was really was the hardest working singer in show business. A lot of the MC5’s energy came from his approach to his job- this is about sweat and energy. He’s the archetype rock singer in his moves, his demeanor, his expression.” –Wayne Kramer

“Any sound you hear can be made better. Remember that, man, because this depth and range of human musical ability is endless. Totally endless, man. You can do anything – ANYTHING – you can make the most fantastically gorgeous, soul-stirring, beautiful, phantasmagorical music, or you can make bullshit. You know!” –Rob Tyner

Interview: Lead Singer Rob Tyner MC-5 (Ann Arbor Sun, April 1967)

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