Legendary MC5 drummer Dennis Thompson passes away at age 75 – a rock icon gone too soon.

Dennis Thompson, the last remaining original member of the MC5, passed away at the age of 75. The news was confirmed by the Detroit Free Press, revealing that Thompson died at a care facility in Taylor, MI, after battling various health issues, including a recent heart attack. The announcement was further validated by a heartfelt social media post from Chris McNulty, Thompson’s son, who connected with his biological father just two years prior through an ancestry website. McNulty expressed his deep sorrow at the loss of his father while reminiscing about the valuable time they spent together discussing music, life, sports, and worldly matters.

Thompson’s departure comes shortly after the deaths of fellow MC5 founder and guitarist Wayne Kramer, and the band’s manager John Sinclair. Born as Dennis Tomich in Highland Park, MI, in 1948, Thompson’s fascination with percussion began at a young age when he experimented with his brother’s bongos. His unique rhythmic style earned him the nickname “Machine Gun” and became pivotal in delivering MC5 classics like Kick Out The Jams, Sister Anne, and Skunk (Sonicly Speaking).

In his musical journey, Thompson collaborated with Ron Ashton of the Stooges in the supergroup New Order and later formed New Race with members of Radio Birdman. Despite not releasing a studio album, Thompson’s legacy extended to reuniting with original MC5 members Kramer and bassist Michael Davis for the DKT/MC5 tour in 2004. Their creative synergy continued as Thompson contributed to two tracks on the anticipated fourth MC5 album titled Heavy Lifting, produced by Bob Ezrin and featuring renowned musicians like Slash, Tom Morello, Vernon Reid, William DuVall, Kesha, and others.

The long-awaited induction of MC5 into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame finally materialized recently, bringing joy to Thompson, as reported by Rob Tyner’s widow, Becky Tyner. Reflecting on the band’s cultural significance, Thompson commemorated the struggles faced during the Vietnam War era, standing up against injustice and advocating for the pursuit of one’s passions and beliefs. Fifty years later, Thompson acknowledged the progress made while emphasizing the enduring message of “Kick Out The Jams”—a call to give your best, follow your passions, and persevere in the face of adversity.

In 2015, MC5 received the keys to Lincoln Park, marking the band’s 50th anniversary and celebrating their musical legacy in their hometown. The event held at Kennedy Memorial Park, where the band began performing as teenagers, allowed Thompson to reflect on their tumultuous journey and the evolution of societal norms over the years.

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