Dedicated to Jennette and the great Tommy Ramone!
Jennette- Darlington Classics 2
She Was The Girl- The Wellingtons Keeping Up With The Wellingtons
Talkin' 'Bout Summer- The Britannicas High Tea
(I Feel Like A) Dictionary- The Trend Yellow Pills Prefill
No Excuse- Bracket Hold Your Applause
Going In Circles- Warm Soda Young Reckless Hearts
Vengeance- The Nips Gabrielle 7"
I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You- The Hold Steady Teeth Dreams
^I Don't Like Mondays- The Boomtown Rats The Fine Art Of Surfacing
Shook Down Softly- The Bye Bye Blackbirds We Need The Rain
Nobody Loves Me- The Letters Nobody Loves Me 7"
Where There's A Will There's A Way- The Jeremy Band All Over The World
My Street Stinks- 999 999
Come Down and Rock- Librarians The Pathetic Aesthetic
*Sunday Gurl- Silver Sun Dad's Weird Dream
*Monday Morning- The Rooks Encore Echoes
*Groovy Tuesday- The Smithereens Especially For You
*Every Wednesday Night At Eight- The Innocents One Way Love 7"
*Thursday Night- Chixdiggit! Double Diggits!
*Friday Night- The Click Five Greetings From Imrie House
*Saturday Every Day- The Soda Pop Kids Teen Bop Dream
Take a Take a Me- The Muffs Whoop Dee Doo
Still Smiling Today- The Mod Frames Hit Records Single
Dream City- Free Energy Stuck On Nothing
>Pleasant Valley Sunday- The Monkees Listen To The Band
Lonely Boys Brigade- The Dahlmanns All Dahled Up
I Can Be- The Misstakes National Pastime
In the Back- Buzzcocks The Way
Take My Chances- The Laughing Dogs Meet Their Makers
Every Day's A Holiday, Every Day's A Party- The Saints Prehistoric Sounds
^Power Pop Peak: #73 Billboard Hot 100 2/2/80
*SacroSet: Days of the Week
>Power Pop Prototype: 1967
With my Michigan trip in July and all the earthquake hoopla
|Tommy in (rare) color|
In the early days of The Ramones Tommy was the glue that held the band together (the metaphorical glue rather than the "Now I Wanna Sniff Some..." kind). Born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Hungary, his family emigrated to the U.S. when Tommy was four. During his high school years in Forest Hills, Queens Tommy was in a band called Tangerine Puppets with bass player John Cummings, the future Johnny Ramone. Picking up live sound and studio work wherever he could, at the age of 21 Tommy worked as an assistant engineer on the Jimi Hendrix
|Tangerine Puppets (Tommy far left, Johnny far right)|
As band manager, Tommy completely restructured the
|Tommy's early 70's Marc Bolan phase|
"eight-notes across, with the 'one' on the bass and the 'two' on the snare, fast and consistent."
As is often the case with genius, this style of drumming is very simple. Yet, after auditioning a ton of drummers who were either unwilling or unable to lay off the rolls and fills, Tommy himself ended up behind the drum kit. He had never played drums in a band but like all his decisions regarding The Ramones, Tommy once again made the right call.
On debut album The Ramones Tommy wrote "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and the anthem "Blitzkreig Bop," originally titled "Animal Hop" until Dee Dee got his hands on the song and, like he so often did, gave it a German spin (Dee Dee grew up in Berlin). Here's what Craig Leon who produced that first album, had to say about Tommy in a recent interview in LA Record:
|Dee Dee, Joey, Tommy, Johnny|
Rock critic Robert Christgau agrees:
"Although Tommy may have faded from view, becoming the least vivid of the four Queens weirdos who invented punk rock, it was he who conceptualized them most clearly."
Tommy himself has said pretty much the same thing:
"It wasn't just music in The Ramones: it was an idea. It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music -- it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different."
|Tommy also won every belly-showing contest|
After four years and three brilliant albums, all of which he co-produced, Tommy quit The
|Johnny and Tommy|
The Ramones had an enormous impact on budding musicians all over the world. I loved Kiss, Rush and AC/DC but in a million years I could never hope to play guitar that well. Listening to The Ramones, on the other hand, was a huge inspiration. As I've mentioned in this blog before, the first Ramones album separated Dee Dee's bass on the left and Johnny's guitar on the right (I like to think this was Tommy's idea). When I learned to play fifths (the precursor to bar chords) I would turn down the right channel and figure out how to play the song. Within about fifteen minutes I was playing along with Tommy, Dee Dee and Joey. Talk about empowering- it was AWESOME!
|Tommy back in the day and earlier this year|
Stream/download this week's show here (Right click and "Save Link As:")