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Gabba gabba hey!
September 15, 2004 9:37 PM   Subscribe

Hey, ho! He's...gone. Today Johnny Ramone joins Joey and Dee Dee at the great Blitzkrieg Bop in the sky (though admittedly he might not have much to say to either of them). This comes just days after a benefit/tribute concert in L.A. commemorating the 30th anniversary of the first Ramones gig. Catch the new documentary End of the Century in the meantime. Then again, maybe you'll just wanna be sedated.
posted by scody (45 comments total)

 
Wow, they're all dying SO young...
posted by jonson at 9:43 PM on September 15, 2004


Danny says we gotta go
Gotta go to Idaho
But we can't go surfin'
'Cause it's 20 below

Sound check's at 5:02
Record stores and interviews
Oh, but I can't wait
To be with you tomorrow

Baby

[truckdriver key change]

Oho-ho-ho, we got nowhere to go
And it may sound funny, but it's true
Hangin' out in 100 B
Watching Get Smart on TV
Thinkin' about
You and me and you and me

Hangin' out in L.A.
And there's nowhere to go
It ain't Christmas if there ain't no snow
Listening to Sheena on the radio
Oh-ho oh-ho


RIP you inspirational bozos.
posted by mwhybark at 9:49 PM on September 15, 2004


My god, 3/4 of them are gone now.

Johnny's one-note guitar solo on "Sedated" is pure brilliance.

.
posted by Vidiot at 10:01 PM on September 15, 2004


Damn, man, that sucks.

*digs out "Road to Ruin", cranks headphones*
posted by arto at 10:05 PM on September 15, 2004


awwwww dammit! :(

i know this was expected, but jeez, the last few years have been taking a massive toll on my musical heroes.

adios johnny.
posted by hulette at 10:35 PM on September 15, 2004


...
posted by black8 at 1:58 AM on September 16, 2004


...
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:00 AM on September 16, 2004


geez.

...
posted by litlnemo at 2:32 AM on September 16, 2004


...


this past few years have been indeed terrible, too much brilliant artists died.
posted by Sijeka at 3:21 AM on September 16, 2004


I think the Ramones got the worst end of the deal for the whole New Wave. The stress and disappointment took its toll. By being there right at the start, I'm sure they got swept up in the hype the they were going to be the next generation of superstars. You can tell that more than anything, they wanted a hit single. It never happened, but it happen to some of their peers, like Blondie and the T Heads. Still, they slogged on, and remained consistent, and in doing so, proved that they never thought of their approach as a "novelty act". Even their weakest albums have worthwhile tracks. But they lived like rockstars, but without the compensations that might help with longevity (island-owning, detox, acoustic tributes to their Yogi, the solvency to pay tuition for Swiss boarding schools.)

Later generations of punks got to look at the Ramones and temper their ambitions- they could slip back into the workforce, or grad school or junkiedom confident that if the Ramones couldn't make it, no one could.

I think the late nineties provided the final humiliation that pushed these three guys into the abyss: the exact sound of the Ramones conquered the American charts, it the form of pop-punk that is so genuinely braindead and uniform that is really is bubblegum. In recent years, it's hard for me to enjoy buzzsaw punk with la-la-la choruses, 'cause it just reminds me of Frito commercials. America has finally digested the Ramones, and is shitting out those first bitter bites. Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny, you poor fuckers. You were right all along. That counts for something. Sorry it wrecked you.
posted by bendybendy at 4:07 AM on September 16, 2004 [2 favorites]


I feel old. And sad.

Gabba gabba hey.
posted by damnitkage at 4:12 AM on September 16, 2004


Tommy better watch his fucking back.

Those guys lived hard & played fast. They're paying the price for everything they've done over the past 30 years. I think it's appropriate that many of the original punkers are dying relatively young (remember Joe Strummer). They put everything they had into their music and rock n' roll lifestyles, only to see their genre be mutilated by a bunch of crappy bands with big record deals and fancy PRS guitars. I might give up the fight too.

RIP Johnny.
posted by password at 5:54 AM on September 16, 2004


I feel old. And sad.

Gabba gabba hey.


ditto that
posted by a3matrix at 6:08 AM on September 16, 2004


...
posted by jonmc at 6:25 AM on September 16, 2004


*sigh
posted by dhoyt at 6:33 AM on September 16, 2004


Can't wait for the VMA "tribute"
posted by Pollomacho at 6:33 AM on September 16, 2004


...
posted by hackly_fracture at 6:34 AM on September 16, 2004


Linked from the benefit concert story: Johnny Ramone Is Not Dying, His Doctor Says: "He's in the hospital, but he's not in ICU. And I think he may be leaving by tomorrow."
posted by zsazsa at 6:39 AM on September 16, 2004


...
posted by Fenriss at 6:39 AM on September 16, 2004


Billie Joe of Green Day could've been flattened by a truck, Tim Armstrong of Rancid could've been mauled by timberwolves, Good Charlotte's plane could've crashed into a volcano, the sum of Sum 41 could've fallen into a giant novelty-sized sausage grinder--and everything would still be ok.......



But no.


It had to be a Ramone.

Johnny.


Damn it.


And F___ you, God.
posted by dhoyt at 7:06 AM on September 16, 2004 [1 favorite]


...
posted by psmealey at 7:18 AM on September 16, 2004


How does someone who's 'punk' end up being a right-winger?
posted by stonerose at 7:21 AM on September 16, 2004


Gabba gabba... huh?

In the late 70s while at Penn State, I had an 8-track "boombox", as they would eventually be known. My favorite tape for blasting in public was "It's Alive", and I still consider that one of the classic concert albums.

stonerose: ever hear of skinheads? ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:28 AM on September 16, 2004


Johnny was a right-winger??
posted by dhoyt at 7:30 AM on September 16, 2004


Sigh. Reminds me of Jews for Jesus.
posted by stonerose at 7:36 AM on September 16, 2004


Yep. But he was from Queens, so it isn't surprising, eh Jonmc?
posted by dame at 7:36 AM on September 16, 2004


How does someone who's 'punk' end up being a right-winger?


Good music and good politics have very little to do with eachother.

dame: the Ramones were from Forest Hills, the same neighborhood as Simon & Garfunkel. Weird place.
posted by jonmc at 7:39 AM on September 16, 2004


Wow, you saw my beacon! But I feel like most right-wingers are either from far-out Queens or Staten Island. However, this is totally uninformed, and as such was a half-joke.

Maybe he was one of those old white ethnics that the right wing has done a good job of appealing to. In the film, he does talk about how he was a Nixon kid.
posted by dame at 7:44 AM on September 16, 2004


jonmc, that might be the case, but I thought punk was avowedly political: anti-establishment, etc.
posted by stonerose at 7:44 AM on September 16, 2004


I thought the Ramones were about popping the bubble of seventies excess and the glories of three (or two) chords.

Besides, some people see the right-wing as anti-establishment. (See: Thomas Frank's interview in the Be---er. No link.)
posted by dame at 7:49 AM on September 16, 2004


dot
posted by adampsyche at 8:08 AM on September 16, 2004


I thought the Ramones were about popping the bubble of seventies excess and the glories of three (or two) chords.

Well put. Punk was a reaction to excess in music first and a reaction to politics second. Even The Clash, which was the most overtly political of the first-wave punk bands, was Joe Strummer and three guys who didn't really give a shit. And their first drummer, Terry Chimes (nee Tory Crimes) was a Conservative.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:22 AM on September 16, 2004


jonmc, that might be the case, but I thought punk was avowedly political: anti-establishment, etc.

A lot of it is, but the Ramones were more about returning to old-school rock verities: 3 minute songs about 7-11's, girls, and beating up children. Besides the politics didn't make it into their tunes much. Even songs like "Commando" were more absurdist comic book goofs than anything else.

And Joey was somewhat leftish. DeeDee was too stoned to care. And Johnny was always a conservative. His dad was a war veteran and a construction worker who sent his son to military acadamies so he probably picked it up there.

Besides, what truly resonated about the Ramones is summed up perfectly in this quote from critic Tom Carson:

"Punks in the original sense of the word, were the sort of people who were such hopeless losers that they couldn't even be convincing as outlaws; far from romanticizing that status, the Ramones glorified their own inadequacy....and yet they were genuinely sexy,too; in spite of everything they were cool."

As one of those "sort of people" I have to agree and thank the Ramones and all the rest for singing our song. When my 9 year old self saw them on my neighbors cable, I knew I was home.
posted by jonmc at 8:29 AM on September 16, 2004


Also, the best political lyrics the Ramones ever wrote:

i don't like politics i don't like communists i don't like games and fun i don't like anyone well i'm against it i'm against it i don't like jesus freaks i don't like circus geeks i don't like summer and spring i don't like anything i don't like sex and drugs i don't like waterbugs i don't care about poverty all i care about is me i don't like playing ping pong i don't like the viet cong i don't like burger king i don't like anything and i'm against it
posted by jonmc at 8:54 AM on September 16, 2004


Mayor Curley: Somehow, I always had Crass pegged as the most political of the 70's punk bands, rather than the Clash.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 9:29 AM on September 16, 2004


News said he died after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer.

If you a guy over 30, go get checked every couple of years. Prostate cancer is one of the easiest forms of cancer to treat if caught early on, but one of the most difficult to beat if allowed to grow.

Sorry for the Public Service Announcement.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:33 AM on September 16, 2004


And Johnny was always a conservative. His dad was a war veteran and a construction worker who sent his son to military acadamies so he probably picked it up there.

Yeah; it's unthinkable that someone could willingly decide to be a conservative, right?
posted by Ayn Marx at 9:34 AM on September 16, 2004


Ayn Marx, cool yer jets.

Our opinions are at least somewhat shaped by our enviornments and experiences. Just floating a theory on Johnny's.
posted by jonmc at 9:37 AM on September 16, 2004


Sorry for the Public Service Announcement.

with guitaaaars!
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:00 AM on September 16, 2004


Also, don't judge the UK punk scene and the American punk scene as being one thing: the West Coast American (and Canadian) scene was always politicized, the East Coast less so. The UK scene was partly political-- and yes, Crass were in the vanguard there, but it's worth noting that they were of an older generation than The Clash. Crass were hippies who took on the mood of the times (and I don't mean that as an insult of any kind-- just that they were political actvists and committed counter-culturalists before punk, not after). The main political current in UK punk was anti-racism, though with Thatcher that broadened.

The Ramones never took any political positions, as far as I recall. They seemed to be all about living in your parent's basement and trying to score dope and aimless teenage hanging around.
posted by jokeefe at 3:00 PM on September 16, 2004


While it's true the Ramones would never be confused with the Dead Kennedys, say, in terms of their politics, at least one song -- "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" -- was certainly quite overtly scathing towards Reagan. It appears that Johnny didn't want to do it (not surprisingly), but he was outvoted by the other three. And they did play at least a few liberal/left rallies over the years -- there's a scene in the new documentary where Joey is reading a political statement to the crowd from the stage, with Johnny glowering in the background. (Well, glowering more than usual, that is.)
posted by scody at 4:25 PM on September 16, 2004


scody, it's not that I dismiss political rock. The MC5 are one of my favorite bands, along with other politically oriented acts like Springsteen, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and the Clash. It's just that topical music tends to sound dated very quickly. Whereas stuff about eternal human topics remains resonant.

Also, you can share all my political views, but if your music is lousy, I still ain't buying your record.
posted by jonmc at 4:35 PM on September 16, 2004


um, jon, that's cool... I was actually just responding directly to jokeefe's statement "The Ramones never took any political positions, as far as I recall" just to make mention of the fact that while certainly no one would ever confuse the Ramones with an overtly political band (such as the Dead Kennedys), they did take an explicit political position in at least one song. I didn't mean to make it sound like I thought you were rejecting political music out-of-hand.
posted by scody at 5:01 PM on September 16, 2004


Johnny's guitar solo from "I Wanna Be Sedated":

E-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0
B------------------|------------------|------------------|----------------
G------------------|------------------|------------------|----------------
D------------------|------------------|------------------|----------------
A------------------|------------------|------------------|----------------
E------------------|------------------|------------------|----------------



Now that was rock and roll [via]!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:25 PM on September 16, 2004


I feel old. And sad.

Gabba gabba hey.


Yep. Me too.
posted by dejah420 at 6:34 PM on September 16, 2004


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