With the recent passing of Tommy Ramone, the original quartet is gone – a sad reminder that life is oh, so fleeting.
I saw The Ramones twice back in the day, both times at the old Cleveland Agora, circa 1978-80, in essentially, a packed room. This was the ‘Marky’ era, as Tommy had moved on to concentrate on production etc.
I had the distinct pleasure of being crammed up against the left side of the stage staring up at Johnny Ramone slashing away on his Mosrite guitar, and to his left, the impossibly tall Joey at center stage, Dee Dee throttling the bass, and Marky in the back on drums.
Yeah, it was loud.
I’ve seen a lot of bands over the years – in just about every musical genre – and The Ramones were, to put it mildly, stunning to watch and listen to.
There was punk before The Ramones – much like there’s a sketch before a painting.
But punk as we know it – in all it’s distorted, DIY power-chord glory, came into crystal clear focus with The Ramones’ first album in 1976.
They’re in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a damn good reason.
In my illustration work, I occasionally do caricatures, and in recent years, I’ve gravitated toward a more stylized approach – graphic and simple, emphasizing shapes and what I refer to as ‘essence’, rather than specificity. Here’s a recent piece of one of my favorite bands, The Black Keys. I have quite a few more coming and I’ll share as they get completed.