joey ramone, rip

I own no Ramones albums on cd.

When I heard the news about Joey, my first thought was to dive for the albums. I was lazy and didn’t want to clean off the turntable… R… What? No Ramones? Not even the compilation? Obviously not. There seems to be a certain justice in that.

I remember first hearing about the Ramones and not believing it at first. This can’t be real, right? It’s got to be a joke. It didn’t seem like something that the record industry would let us get away with. I do remember seeing that first album in the R bin at Sounds down on St. Marks ’ Place and my eyes opening really really wide, ohmygod this was real, they dressed just like we did (or the way we would if our parents would have let us get away with it), ripped jeans and tshirts, and suddenly your Converse all-stars were a helluva lot more glamorous, weren’t they?

The Ramones were rock and roll. In a time where everyone you knew was listening to pretentious crap like Jon-Luc Ponty play an acrylic violin and Yes were putting out 5 LP sets and Emerson Lake and Palmer were releasing this dreadful bombastic shit and it seemed like owning a copy of Hotel California, Rumours and that Kansas album with “Carry On My Wayward son” on it was mandatory, oh my god! The Ramones. Guitars, lots of guitars, songs you could come pretty close to playing yourself on the piece of crap acoustic guitar your parents bought you for Christmas one year, tired of hearing you whine about wanting a guitar.

The Ramones were for all of us, and they united all of us, kids from Connecticut and New Jersey and Long Island and Brooklyn and Queens, they were our band, they sang about places we knew about, not stupid places with palm trees and margaritas and pickup trucks and aughhhhhhh! They sang about New York, they were as New York as Bruce Springsteen was New Jersey. They were bridge & tunnel, as uncool as we were, taking mom’s car and lying about where you were going so you could take your fake ID and sneak into the city on a Saturday night.

There was something oddly comforting about a 1:50 pop song with three chords and a dozen lyrics. We didn’t care that you’d see 10 songs in 20 minutes or that the songs sounded “the same”. We wanted them to sound the same – that was the whole fucking point!!!

The Ramones were Everypunk. They were legends the first time they walked out on a stage. They should have gotten their own cartoon show. No matter how old Iam, I will always be 15 years old when I listen to the Ramones, and in that teenager’s mind, no one ever dies. Every other band we loved from that time broke up, and the Ramones were still there, still going, and still just as great. They weren’t supposed to break up, and they sure as hell weren’t supposed to die!

A little bit of my world has ended today.