For years now, New Jersey guitar hero Steve Marion has been recording adventurous, giddily fun, mostly instrumental music under the name Delicate Steve. But he can also straight-up rock. His last album, This Is Steve, found him wading into slightly more traditional waters, and beyond his career as a solo artist, he’s lent his guitar-slinging talents to everyone from Dirty Projectors to Mac DeMarco to Paul Simon to, most recently, Amen Dunes. And now he’s collaborating with another big name: Wayne Kramer, founding guitarist and leader of the legendary protopunk band MC5.
Marion and Kramer have teamed up to cover one of Kramer’s own songs, “The American Ruse,” which originally appeared on MC5’s 1970 album Back In The USA. The song, with its lyrics about things like policy brutality in America, is as timely as ever — just check the MAGA hat-referencing cover art. And Marion and Kramer’s hard-rocking update — now just called “American Ruse” — plays things pretty straight. There are only a couple of slight lyrical changes: “Sixty-nine America in terminal stasis” is now “modern-day America,” and of course, “Rock ‘em back, Sonic!” becomes “Rock ‘em back, Steve!” Listen below.