Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Guest Post: How To Like The Ramones

In response to my post yesterday, my friend "Pancho" sent me some helpful tips on how to like the Ramones. Here's what he wrote:

They are stupid, naive juvenile delinquents from the 50s who have a fast look and sound and are the four coolest guys on Planet Earth. Their leather jackets rule; their haircuts rule; their guitars rule. Their concerns are the most pressing on Planet Earth; hanging out at the beach, hanging out with girls, hanging out sniffing glue, hanging out getting shock treatment, hanging out in the park after dark, hanging out pretending to be Nazis, hanging out mythologizing themselves as this great rock gang with a legion of followers, and of course, not hanging out with you. Melodies? Forget about it. "Yummy Yummy Yummy" is the melody that may have inspired them the most. When you fuse this with the volume and aggression of Ron Asheton's guitar, well, it's fucked up and way hipper than thou, even though we're talking about four unemployed construction workers from Queens. Yes, the Ramones are a total art accident and thank god. They are indeed a gang, they are rock and roll, they are America, they are speed, they are poets, they are hopelessness, they are hopefulness, they are the best day you ever had, they are your insanity, they are the 50s, they are the 70s, they are the future, they are New York. They are dumb and brilliant. They are Phil Spector and Lou Reed. They are straight guys who hustle, Jewish Nazis, leftists and conservatives, united by Sha Na Na, the British Invasion, complete creepiness, desperation, sick humor, and hate. Most of all, they are worthless punks with naive hearts and bad bad brains. They bring you the profound in the simple--"chewing out a rhythm on my bubble gum/sun is out and i want some"--"met her at the Burger King/Fell in love by the soda machine," "gabba gabba we accept you/we accept you/one of us--and the darkness in your idyllic manicured world--"Get the glory/Like Charles Manson," "hey ro-me-o/I don't wanna go/down to the basement," "you're a loudmouth baby/you better shut it up/I'm gonna beat you up." Who are they? They are the Ramones. The key to enjoying the Ramones is to stop thinking and maybe even to stop listening. At least stop listening for music. They are about feeling good. They are about celebration. They celebrate being an outsider and an insider. They celebrate their awkwardness and anger at their awkwardness. They celebrate love and insanity most usually in the same song. They celebrate being cool but also being themselves. They are the sickest pop joke ever, catchy and anthemic, with rallying cries that no one got behind until 30 years later. They are self made but also made by Queens, made by CBGB's, made by the places they made. Melodies? I take that back-maybe. Songs? Oh yes. A template? To die for, impossible to duplicate. The Ramones are damn impressive. They are our rock treasure. But gabba gabba hey, don't listen to the Ramones to be impressed. Listen to the Ramones to love your life.

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