Wednesday, May 18, 2016

10 Things You Should Know About the Ramones, At Bare Minimum

I was never a super huge Ramones fan, although I did play their End of the Century LP pretty routinely as a kid. There's no denying that much of their material sounds very three-chord samey. The good news is that those samey songs are so darn catchy.

Rolling Stone Magazine recently has a cover feature by my favorite contemporary rock biographer, Mikal Gilmore. Here are the most interesting things the article told us about one of New York's finest, up there with the likes of the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, The Strokes, Television, De La Soul, Gumball, Steely Dan, Kiss, Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, Public Enemy, Simon and Garfunkel, Madonna, Talking Heads, and Vampire Weekend.
  1. All four original members are dead, and guitarist Johnny Ramone rarely ever talked with singer Joey Ramone over the course of the band's 22-year history.
  2. Joey was diagnosed as schizophrenic in his teens and told he would be a vegetable, but he claims rock totally saved him. Cool.
  3. Their name originated from Paul McCartney, who used to call himself Paul Ramon when checking into hotels to keep from being detected.
  4. The reason they sounded so poppy was because they were way more influenced by bands like the Beach Boys and Bay City Rollers than other punkers like the Stooges and MC5.
  5. Phil Spector produced End of the Century, insisting that the band stay at his mansion during the  sessions, and once pulling a gun on Dee Dee Ramone for attempting to leave.
  6. Johnny's dying wish was that someone would de-Spectorize End of the Century.
  7. Johnny took Joey's girlfriend away and married her.
  8. Rolling Stone named the Ramones' 1976 self-titled album the best punk record ever.
  9. Joey suffered from OCD and, already suffering from lymphoma, had to go retrace his steps one night and in the process fell and broke his hip. That caused his cancer treatments to be cancelled temporarily and it basically killed him at age 49 in 2001. Marky Ramone was the only band mate to come visit him at the hospital.
  10. In 2002, Dee Dee died of a heroin overdose and in 2004, Johnny died of prostate cancer. Tommy died in 2015, also of cancer.