Other Blog Posts

Saturday, July 12 2014

RIP Tommy Ramone

Yesterday, July 11 2014, the last surviving member of the Ramones, Tommy, died of cancer.

I hate things that feel like the end of an era. I hate the final closure on anything great, and like them or hate them, the Ramones were great. They helped to define an entire style of music, redefining rock for a new generation. I will admit that when I was a kid, I really didn't appreciate the Ramones, or the songs they wrote and performed.  I was falling in love with jazz at the time, and the simplicity and visceral power of punk—not to mention the anger and passion of it—were lost on me.

It was only years later that the music started to make any real sort of sense, and by that time, Johnny was dead, and the band had long since stopped performing or producing anything new.

It's often said that Punk is the music of rebellion, that it taps into and expresses a vein of anger and frustration with the status quo. When punk bands spat on their audiences, or engaged in any number of antics that parents at the time found vile and horrific, they were really lashing out at a system of authority, rules and unwritten codes that chained them up, constrained them, told them that they were unacceptable. They were inviting their audiences to join with them in flipping off the Establishment.

…which reminds me of a joke:
Q:  How many punk rock fans does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  F**K YOU!!!!!

This attitude is, I think, a familiar one to many of us these days. Between our own government spying on us, surveillance drones flying overhead, Google selling our personal information off to the highest bidder, it feels in many ways like Society is closing in around us, erasing the spaces in which we can feel free to be freaks, to be weird, to be whatever it is that curls up inside us and recoils from the harsh glare of the status quo.

The Ramones led the way toward a musical genre that embodied that sentiment, and so it is a sadness to see the last of one group of pioneers leave us. It happens this way, sometimes: Percival watches Arthur's body carried off to Avalon; the last surviving Corleone gets old and dies; Legolas and Gimli depart over the sea, an end to the Fellowship in Middle Earth.

I hate things that feel like the end of an era, but it is out of such endings that new beginnings are made.

Gabba gabba hey.

Add comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.