I miss the Ramones, Kings of American Punk
Sadly, in July 2014, Tommy Ramone passed away. He was the last original member of the Ramones. He follows band mates Joey, Dee Dee, and Johnny. However, as their story comes to an end, their music still lives on, as great music will. I feel a sincere sadness as I lose a piece of my youth.
The Ramones rose from a middle-class neighborhood in the borough of Queens, NY. From this modest beginning, they went on to influence punk rock and generations of music fans to follow. The Ramones are renowned worldwide, but they were never a commercial success. As Henry Rollins explains it, they were “for the countless young, pissed off, alienated outsiders-for-life, the Ramones spoke the language of missed dances, bad dates and no friends.” I loved the Ramones for this. I also liked them for their two-minute, non-bloated, hard-hitting songs. There’s no vanity filled guitar solos or egotistical lead singer strutting. They hit the stage and with a quick count of “1,2,3,4”, the music rocketed toward the crowd. They showed how straightforward and pure rock is once you strip away all the unnecessary bullshit.
Growing up in the south in the small town of Hicksville, in the state of Nowhere, it was difficult finding music on the radio. Our choices were not much more than whiny country, overplayed classic rock, and cavity creating bubble gum pop. When I first heard “blitzkrieg bop” at a local record shop, I knew I’d heard something new and different. I had to have their album. I hand over my money, and a lifelong friendship begins. They spoke to my angst, made me feel a little less lonely. They introduced me to their cool friends, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedy’s, the Buzzcocks, Black Flag and so much more. Today when in the proper mood, I still listen to the Ramones. Their music takes me back to a time when we were both young and very much alive. Sadly they have left us, but their music continues to inspire.