While his '95 album The Hard Stuff
pulled me back into the maelstrom of Dee-troit ramalama as surely as berfday boy Lou Reed's '89 New York
pulled me back into rock in general, I kinda lost the Wayne Kramer
thread after his 2002 album Adult World
. Imagine my surprise seeing the recent vid of him on the capital steps in Wisconsin, singing "This Land Is Your Land" alongside his spiritual heir, poli sci Ph.D. and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. Turns out that besides embarking on a career as a soundtrack composer, Wayne's also been raising his voice as an advocate for alcohol and narcotics addicts, prison inmates, and at-risk kids -- all folks with whom he can empathize from experience. Bless him.
I'd forgotten about this track, a setting of Dorothy Law Nolte's poem "Children Learn What They Live" by, um, Wayne's ex-Gang War bandmate Johnny Thunders, which Wayne recorded for a 1996 Thunders tribute album, I Only Wrote This Song For You
. What with new grandchildren in my life and all the political games being played with public education this season, I found it particularly affecting when I stumbled on it online this morning. Maybe you will, too.