Legends of Rock: The Ramones

16 Jul



The Ramones are one of the most influential bands in my life and this past friday Tommy Ramone who was the last surviving member passed away!

Their legacy is known for pioneering the punk movement and by creating a following at the CBGB which was then a hole in the wall New York music venue.

I’m deeply saddened that all of them are now gone  R.I.P:

Joey Ramone, lead singer  (1951-2001),

Dee Dee Ramone, bassist  (1952-2002)

Johnny Ramone, lead guitarist  (1948-2004)

Tommy Ramone, drummer  (1949-2014).

Even the bands spokesman and designer, Arturo Vega who  designed the bands awesome presidential seal logo passed away in 2005.

Nothing has ever impressed me more than some loud and fast Ramones. Their music means so much to me and I hope I can put enough words together to express my appreciation for them.

My attraction to The Ramones started when they released their last studio album ¡Adiós Amigos! (1995). At that time I was 14 years old and only familiar with their well-known hits like Blitzkrieg Bop and I Wanna be Sedated. The radio played I Don’t Want To Grow Up and I loved the song and that opened me up to their music.

The Ramones mania and genius of their simplicity didn’t sink in until I joined a comedy/punk/new wave band in 2002.

The band I joined carried a sound heavy in drum machines and keyboards. I was supposed to play guitar but ended up playin’ bass keys instead. I found it was tough trying to merge our sound and play in the same style but The Ramones were a mutual influence to all of us. Ramones songs all have simple chord progressions that are easy to love.

We practiced covering Beat On The Brat from their (1976) debut self titled album even though we never did play it live.

I bought music books  about The Ramones to learn and study them, I recall reading in one of those books that they had issues with playing and singing at the same time. I related to this as I also found it tough to sing background vocals while keeping up with a beat.

However, The Ramones took their limitations and turned it around making it work for them instead of against them.

They gave rock ‘n’ roll meaning by creating one ingenious system that first cut out all the image based bullshit. They formed a brotherhood with all of them taking the surname Ramone and wore  black leather jackets, torn jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. The songs had  loud and fast simple beats, three chord guitar riffs and less serious more cynical lyrics.

I love the first four Ramones albums from their debut: Ramones (1976), Leave Home (1977), Rocket To Russia (1977) and Road To Ruin (1978).

Rocket To Russia is my favorite album: Cretin Hop, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Teenage Lobotomy and We’re a Happy Family, are all gems to me.

The Ramones never got big enough commercially during their two decades as a band but they live on to inspire.

In 2002 the band got inducted into the rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame; they also earned a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2011.

Left to carry on the brotherhood legacy is Marky Ramone and Richie Ramone, former drummers after Tommy Ramone left in 1977 and CJ Ramone who took over on bass after Dee Dee left in the late 80s.

I have formed a special collection of Ramones shirts. For over the past 10 years these shirts have become a weird part of my casual wardrobe, as I like to billboard the Ramones.

**Below is a short paragraph that I had written in 2002 about The Ramones live performance scene from the 1979 movie Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. I wrote it intending for it to go under the influences section for a Yahoo GeoCities page that was for the band I was in. I never posted it to the band page but it’s one of those writing blurbs that I hung on to and it describes how I felt about The Ramones music during that time in my life.

The Ramones live performance segment in that 70s Rock `n` Roll High School flick blew me away.  The leaflet inside the movie stated that the Ramones played a 22-hour marathon set in Hollywood to get the right sequences for the movie. That makes them warriors in my book.   My arm is sore after playing guitar for 20 minutes. I am so influenced by watching that entire concert scene; I mean my desire to make it in a band just skyrocketed. In the movie you could see that The Ramones are normal guys who are not dressed to impress. Nobody seemed like they got tired of being on stage. Joey Ramone was confident and you can see that he put everything into his performance.  He stood lanky and humble with his hair dangling in his face. The Ramones were true rock stars. 

I have shared a link to a clip from the movie from Josteopal’s You Tube channel.



























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