How do you cleanse your musical palette from the syrupy taste of ‘Yacht Rock’?
You go the other way and talk about the legends of Punk Rock, The Ramones!
Hailing from the streets of Forest Hills, NY, the group of four who weren’t actually brothers, nor really named Ramone, this group came to define, if not invent the fledgling genre of rock n’ roll called ‘punk’. Taking New York club CBGB by storm in 1975 the group combined their love of bubble gum pop, fast playing, short songs and a cracked worldview to come up with a brand of songwriting that was both unique, fun and a cathartic release for young people particularly, who didn’t want to listen to the milquetoast fare that was coming across on AM radio.
While the Sex Pistols and The Clash may have taken punk to the mainstream, it was the Ramones who inspired both of them. Donning matching leather jackets, an abrasive, uniform-looking manner and more chutzpah than most could stand, they came out to the world at large at 1976 with their self-titled debut ‘The Ramones’ and in under a half-hour of time turned the youth culture on both coasts completely upside down with their debut LP.
As for the band itself it was comprised of the goofy-looking giant Joey Ramone on lead vocals, the type-A drill sergeant Jonny Ramone on guitar, the wild-card Dee Dee Ramone on bass and the steady, professional Tommy Ramone manning the drum kit (at least on the first 3 records). As time went by they’d have a few other members (Marky and C.J. Ramone, respectively) but those original four would always be the true lineup for most fans.
Two parts mescaline and one part a drop of acid, the group loved to play fast and loud (even faster and louder than they were on record even, which is insane) and were America’s Big Night Out for over two decades. They wrote songs about weirdos and outsiders like they were, broken homes, labotomies and even would let their guard down to swallow their pride occasionally and then tell you they wanted to be your boyfriend if the situation called for it.
While never breaking through to the mainstream (none of their records has gone platinum somehow), these guys are revered by their peers and every generation that has followed for great reason. With their art directed by lifelong friend Arturo Vega, these guys have merchandise and an image that is peerless, perfect and unmistakable.
For Dan and Randy, this is a group both can agree is one they always have admired and been a fan of. Dan got into the Ramones by hearing his hero Slash gush about them. For Randy, he found them by older kids talking reverently about them and buying ‘Mondo Bizarro’ on cassette to listen on his walks to-and-from drivers education training.
Both of us have a blast talking about this great band and we hope you enjoy our Ramones discussion in Part 1 followed by our Baker’s Dozen favorite Ramones songs on Part 2. Viva the Ramones! Long live the Ramones!