Wayne Kramer Accepts “Key to Freedom” for JGD

Washington — “Brothers and sisters, the time has come for each and every one of you to decide whether you are going to be the problem or whether you are going to be the solution.” Fifty years ago these words kicked off one of the most influential rock albums of a generation, and today these words kicked off an intro to the world tour of super group MC50 at DC’s 9:30 Club. Guitarist Wayne Kramer decided to be part of the solution by co-founding Jail Guitar Doors (JGD), and Fret About This founder, Matt Schaub became part of the solution too, by donating a piece he created for JGD.

JGD works toward a more fair and just America. They are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing musical instruments and mentorship to help rehabilitate prisoners through the transformative power of music. They implement prison programs and produce concert events; advance new solutions to diminish prison violence and recidivism; and support organizations that engage in policy reform efforts and partner with social service groups to help people in prison successfully rejoin the outside world.

In 1978, The Clash released the song, “Jail Guitar Doors,” telling the story of the imprisonment of their fellow musician Wayne Kramer. In 2007, to honor the life of Clash founder, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg launched an initiative to provide musical equipment used to rehabilitate inmates serving time in Her Majesty’s Prisons in the UK. His initiative is named for that very same song, “Jail Guitar Doors.” In 2009, Wayne Kramer partnered with Billy Bragg to found Jail Guitar Doors USA. Together, their combined effort continues the mission for prisoners in America.

Inspired by Wayne’s story, Schaub created a key shaped guitar to capture the power of music and the effects of incarceration in one piece. “Societal and policy failures have given the land of the free the highest concentration of prisoners in the world,” said Schaub, “I wanted to do something to help combat recidivism.” Halfway through the build, MC50 announced their first show would be in DC which created an amazing opportunity to make the donation and meet some of the greatest living musicians.