Dennis Thompson, Drummer & Last Member of MC5, Dies at 75

Dennis Thompson, the high energy drummer for influential Detroit band MC5, died on Thursday (May 9). He was 75 years old.

The rocker died at MediLodge of Taylor in Michigan, where he had been recovering following a heart attack in April, according to local news station Detroit Free Press. Thompson was the last surviving member of the band, who are set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this fall in the musical excellence category. Thompson was preceded in death by singer Rob Tyner, guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith, bassist Michael Davis and guitarist Wayne Kramer, the last of which died in February of this year.

Thompson joined MC5 in 1965. While the band had little commercial success initially and its core lineup did not last beyond the early 1970s, but its legacy endured, both for its sound and for its fusing of music to political action. During their time as a band, they released three studio albums, 1969’s Kick Out the Jams, 1970’s Back in the USA and 1971’s High Time.

In 2022, two years before his own death, Kramer announced that two new singles, an album and a national tour are on the horizon for We Are All MC5, Kramer’s reimagination of the band that started it all. However, due to the deaths of the remaining band members, no album arrived. “We’ve just barely survived four catastrophic years of a failed presidency and a devastating pandemic,” Kramer said in a statement at the time. “It had become so polarized and depressing that bringing in other writers was like a hope injection. Tom Morello, Jill Sobule, Tim McIlrath, Kesha and Alejandro Escovedo helped me expand the work using the most powerful weapon in existence: our creativity.”

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