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music from the vault: the ramones

Today we are going back. Back to the first exposure you had to a classic punk rock album. An album that if you dig deep enough into your record collection, you will find it. Reeking like cigarettes and beer. Something that makes you smile when you put it on. The memories when you first heard it. What was your first feeling when you heard this album? Where were you at? What were you doing? Hopefully this will become a regular feature and you guys can add your first feelings. - T

Todays album is the self titled debut of the Ramones. Have fun guys and girls cause we did.

ramones.jpg

"The Ramones. The Ramones. The Ramones! You gotta hear the Ramones! You gotta hear the Ramones!" A battle cry I heard in the backlot of some ash covered street. Someone telling me how good they were. Someone twice my age telling me they were the greatest band in the world. How punk rock was shit now and how they started it all.

Well ok. First of all fuck you and don't steal my beer, and second of all, I'll get a copy of it in the morning.

You have to understand, I was a kid. I was into early 80's California punk rock. Shit that was mean and angry and didn't really give a fuck about anything although they always tried to sound like they cared about some cause. Well, maybe they didn't but who knows. I was a kid. Californina songs were about beer and hating "Bob," who ever Bob was at moment, were pretty common. But theses songs, the ones I grew up on, the early Califonia punk songs, were fast, mean and lean. Hell, even G.B.H. was a little slow for my style. I needed shit like D.R.I. to make me breathe and bring life me into after waking up on a curb in the morning.

I went out anyway and bought the first album and put it on. My friend and I looked at each other in shock. Turned the wax up to 78 rpm cause we thought it was broken. Like they recorded too slow. Or it was a joke. Or I bought the wrong album. I sat thinking "This is what all the hype is about? This is why they are so big? This kinda sucks, dude."

Remember I was a kid. But as the years grew on I realized that without this album, no one would be where they are today.

I still have this album and cd. This is album I listen to when I just want to rock and think about nothing. What I missed then, I understand now. This album was the blueprint for punk rock.

Plus 53rd and 3rd fucking rocks.

-T

You ever get so excited about something, some new discovery, that you want to share it with everyone you know and so you do and when you shove it in their faces all wild-eyed and stammering with the sheer joy of your find, they look at you like you’ve lost your fucking mind and slowly back away from you?

That’s what happened when I discovered the Ramones. Summer, 1976 ,thank you WNEW-FM. I had been mired in KISS’s Destroyer and Blue Oyster Cult’s Agents of Fortune at that point, and I was about to embark upon a one person war against disco, using the hardest rock I could find as weaponry. No, I had no idea how I was going to wage this war, I just knew that somehow, someway, Thin Lizzy would figure into the death of Donna Summer. Someone had to kill her.

And then I heard the Ramones. And I knew. My satanic, devil worshiping heavy metal was not going to destroy disco. Joey Ramone was. From the first riff of the first Ramones song I heard (Beat on the Brat), the music hooked me in. There was something about it, something raw and exciting and...different. So different. The vocals, the chords, the energy, the sparseness of the music, the simplicity of it all. It made me want to jump around my bedroom. It made me want to play guitar. It made me want to buy a black leather jacket and cut my hair and stick a safety pin in my ear. Hey, I was 14. Leather jackets were cool and so were the Ramones.

I grabbed a handful of dollar bills out of my allowance jar. I was saving for a new stereo system, but this need, this feeling that I had to have this music in my hands needed to be appeased. So I walked the mile to Modell’s to buy the album. I spent the entire walk home cradling that album in my arms as if it was going to change my world. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn't. But it changed me. And that’s all that mattered.

I spent the next few days holed up in my bedroom spinning this record over and over again. 53rd and 3rd, Blitzkrieg Bop, holy shit, this was the most amazing thing I’d ever heard. It wasn’t great music, I recognized that. You weren’t going to get into a discussion about the complexity of time changes. You couldn’t sit around and get stoned with your friends and analyze the lyrics like we did with Pink Floyd. You just listened to it, for the sake of listening. Just enjoyed it. It gave me a feeling like there was something more out there, something beyond the layered nuances of Led Zeppelin songs that were really nothing more than Lord of the Rings fanfic. Something so simple, yet so enormous.

I fell in love with this album, fell in love with Joey Ramone, fell hard in love with punk rock. And I had to go it alone because, my friends? They sucked, man. It wasn’t until about five or six years later that they finally figured out that the Ramones weren’t some fad band, that they changed the face of music, but by then, my sorry friends had become pussified by too much Bruce Springsteen and not enough four chord rock and roll. But what can you do? We were just kids. And some kids are just stupid when it comes to good music.

-M

Beat on the Brat
Blitzkreig Bop
I Don't Wanna Go in the Basement
53rd and 3rd

[thanks to tesco for saving the day with the mp3s today]

Comments

it was 7th or 8th grade. i was listening to black flag and suicidal because i'd heard it at the half pipe.
there was this geek in my class who was scrawling "the doors" all over his notebook. (this was '84ish and NO ONE listened to the doors)
he made some joke about "do you wanna dance." i was clueless. he said "you're all punk rock and you've never heard the ramones? i was duly offended and ran out to buy the album the next day.
at first listen i couldn't hear anything punk rock about it. i mean, my mom said it was "catchy" -- the KiSs of DeAtH! but then i heard the words...
and then i heard 53rd and 3rd.

Ah... what memories.

And you are so right: you could analyze Pink Floyd and love The Ramones...

I grew up in twig-ville and aside from staying up late to listen to 'Metal-Shop' on Saturday nights, I had access to nothing but mainstream radio that played nothing but Bon Jovi and Poison all day. Ick.

I did not really hear the Ramones for the 1st time until the late 80s when I went to college and I started at the school radio station. Thank god for that college radio station... The shit I would have missed out on if not for that place is unfathomable.

Oh,the memories of the Ramones...First met them in like 77 at a record store in Milwaukee,they did an in-store appearance and I was the asst mgr,I was in hog heaven.I remember them being really tall and really skinny, they did a show that night,triple bill of them,the Runaways and Elvis Costello.
Then in like 86 did a play at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago in the theater on the third floor,Joz.The night we filmed it the Ramones were playing below us,got to share a dressing room ,and the tape has them playing throughout the whole play ( "SIck Fun") and it was perfect.
They so rule.

I don't remember if this is the actual first time I heard them, but I do remember my brother playing Pinhead and that I thought it was awesome. That wlould've been in 1978 or so. After that he started playing thier first albums all the time, creating a fan out of me.

I'd Blitzkrieg Bop on WXRT (Chicago's Fine Rock) and HAD TO HAVE THE ALBUM. Went over to Morse Ave. and picked it up, couldn't wait to get home so I ducked into Paul's basement/party room and blasted it.

Nothing had ever sounded that simple, that fun, or that good.

Although I loved Springsteen for years...up until Nebraska and then...not so much since then.

Michelle:

I have to disagree: 53rd and 3rd does not rock! Not even close! It's funny to listen to, but rock?... it does not.

But the Ramones? They rock as an instutution! And the first time I heard them - 1990 or so for me - was an awakening! Blitzkrieg Bop smacks "Stars and Stripes of Corruption" anyday.

A couple of years ago I heard the Donnas for the first time on WNHU (New Haven, best college radio anywhere!) and basically their first album is 70s Ramones-reincarnated. It brought me back to the original and a new appreciation for the "forefathers." "Everybody's Smoking Cheeba" is like 3 or 4 Ramones songs mixed together... You can almost hear Joey singing half of their songs...

I have to disagree: 53rd and 3rd does not rock! Not even close! It's funny to listen to, but rock?... it does not.

that was me who wrote that.

That song on that album was the only thing that kept me a fan and kept me coming back.

so i like it alot

There's not a single Ramones song that doesn't rock. To say otherwise is fightin' words!!

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