Punk hasn’t and will not ever die. There will never ever be a style of Music that is as influential and as great as Punk. There will never ever be a band as great and as influential as the Ramones. You can keep your Beatles, and your Led Zeppelins. I’m aware it means something to others, but to me they meant nothing. Their songs and sounds didn’t speak to me. Ramones however, they did more than just speak to me. They were the backbone to a genre of Music that I simply can’t do without, and could never imagine not listening to.
Sure you get people who claim that Punk is just noise. But they probably listened to one song and that was it. Until recently I pretty much turned my nose up at the Sex Pistols. I thought I didn’t get it, but I sat and listened to them for a view hours and loved how obnoxious young Johnny Rotten sounded. In my heart of hearts though, it is New York that is the REAL home of Punk and I fail to see how anyone could question that.
At only 62 years old, Tommy Ramone, the last original member of the Ramones has died. He was probably the finest drummer my ears have ever been exposed to. He kept up the fast and furious pace of the signature Ramones sound. He made it look so effortless, he made you want to pick up some drumsticks and drum your itty bitty heart out.
I’ve got a copy of Leave Home on vinyl, and when I play it when I visit my family I find myself staring at the cover. Taking in their poses and how all they did was done with purpose. No doubt it was done with a lot of blood, sweat and arguments but nothing good comes easy. If you aren’t willing to struggle, then just give up. Ramones taught me to not give up. I’ve read Mickey Leigh’s book about his brother Joey (I Slept With Joey Ramone) many times to know that for me, Joey is my hero. Tommy added something to the Ramones that the others didn’t, and they knew it. He added a form of stability that kept them together. When he left the band in 78, he went on to produce a few more of their records so the real sound of the Ramones was always there. He was a brilliant drummer and producer.
If it wasn’t for the Ramones, most of the bands that I listen to and love wouldn’t have formed. They wouldn’t have wanted to make their own scene, their own noise. Ramones made it easier for me to feel alright in the skin I’m in. It’s perfectly fine to not think like others, it’s alright to have your own interests and to hang out by yourself. It’s normal to get angry at what you see happening in the world. It’s alright to just be how you are. The minute you change for someone, you stop being yourself.
62 is no age, and cancer is a bastard.
Although there are no more original members of the Ramones around, we will always have the music. That will never go, and all they stood for is around in your favourite band. When your favourite singer towers over the mic stand, that’s Joey Ramone coming through. When your favourite drummer goes nuts and just blows your mind with how fast they play, that’s their Tommy Ramone inside of them. When you see your favourite bassist yelling out “1-2-3-4” and the music kicks in, that’s their Dee Dee Ramone coming out. And when your favourite guitarist stands playing with a wealth of fury yet looking effortlessly cool, that’s their inner Johnny Ramone shining.
Ramones placed something in their fans that they will always carry round with them, and that’s why Punk won’t ever die. It just goes some place else.