Let me tell you something… If someone tells you that Ramones music is easy to play, they are lying. The simplest-appearing things are the most deceiving. All those downstrokes (though easier on bass than guitar) are hard on the wrist, and the constant fast 16th notes on the drums are an arm workout. i was pretty much just doing power chords too (i didn’t focus on the barre chords, so don’t beat me up too much!)
i got into a whole bunch of bands at the same time. i saw no problem being into both (the) Ramones and Metallica, and also groups like De La Soul. The first person to introduce me to (the) Ramones was the dude named Anthony. While my sister hung out with the popular kids in high school, i hung out with mostly the misfits, punks and metalheads. Anthony was the biggest Ramones fan i knew at the time. He was absolutely obsessed with them. i think he played drums and went to band class.
i ended up getting their albums on cassette and bringing them to school, when people asked me if Howard Stern was in a band (If you don’t know what Howard Stern OR Joey Ramone look like, go look them up now, then come back to this). Interestingly (or not) (the) Ramones were a massive staple on Stern’s show throughout the 80s and 90s. So yeah, while i KNEW of them, saw them on the tv and movies and even heard their music over the years, i never was FAMILIAR with them until i met Anthony.
So thanks guy, wherever you are.
(The) Ramones are a strange one. They absolutely (very publicly) hated each other. They were famous, on major labels and sold out stadiums, yet remained underground at the same time. They were on total opposite ends of the political spectrum.
22 years may not seem like a long time in comparison to other bands celebrating their 30th and 40th years together… But that’s a long time for a band like (the) Ramones.
(i’ve met two out of four of the OG Ramones- Joey and Dee Dee. Interesting times…)
My favorite Ramones song of all time is ‘I Don’t Want You’. i know people tend to gravitate towards the faster, classic, ‘edgier’ songs, but the Joey-leaning (and penned) songs are among my favorites. The bridge always breaks my heart: “I want you, I want you to stay/But I guess it just can’t be that way…”
i am doing everything here: guitar, bass, drums and ‘attempted vocals’ (shout out to a Mr. Kirk Hammett).
My other favorite song of theirs is ‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’. This version posted here was recorded either 2014 or 2015. i think when i recorded it, i think i remember the mics being hot, and i totally forgot to check.
‘Chasing The Night’ is another Joey penned song (along with Dee Dee and funk/rock bassist Busta Jones). This is another one of those ‘deep cuts’ that tends to get skipped over. There’s a version floating around where drummer Richie sings; however, i’m drumming to the album version.
One of my favorite things about (the) Ramones is that the bass tends to be higher in the mix- especially in the earlier recordings. You started hearing less of that, from Road To Ruin (perhaps my favorite Ramones album, and also the inspiration for my favorite punk/hardcore band, Bad Brains) on. In many guitar-centered bands, the bass is usually buried. Whenever i record i do my best to mix things as evenly as possible, so nothing is prominent over another thing. That said, ‘Go Mental’ has a bass line that needs to stand out. So it is a little higher in the mix here, than it is on the album. Their lyrics are much darker than a cursory listen lets on.
i’m just playing bass here.
Leave Home is probably my second favorite Ramones album, and i wanted to open the final song with a little ‘easter egg’ before we got into the actual song, ‘Chain Saw’! i DID NOT attempt vocals in this one, so you got the original here. i did however, play drums, guitar and bass.
i am no Joey, Tommy, Dee Dee, Marky, Richie, CJ, Johnny (or Clem Burke). But i hope you enjoy!
(This one’s dedicated to Derek, the biggest Ramones fan i currently know.)