Like so many other kids, the first time I heard the Ramones it felt like I had woken up for the first time. When I was 13, I wrote a 20-page research paper about the band. I read Ramones: An American Band from cover to cover. Ate, slept and dreamt about the Ramones. They were so cool and they were MINE. We had a magazine project at the end of the year. Mine had a cover with Johnny Ramone on the front and included little articles written by my school friends about bands we loved. I was voted best writer (still my greatest accomplishment).
It’s Johnny Ramone’s birthday today.
Every kid wants to belong. Granted, some grow up a little more strange than others, but I suppose that’s why so many hide away in the skirts of music. At 13 I understood I was weird. But the Ramones were weird, right? And they had friends – they had each other. I thought that maybe one day I’d find my own “bruddahs.”
Eventually I did end up with two of the best friends I ever could ask for. Nine years together as best friends and I still love them to death, but I probably couldn’t have survived those few years in-between without music. It’s really the most powerful and lovely thing we could have in our lives.
So even though the Ramones weren’t even speaking to each other at the last half of their career, I can’t help but think they still embody that rebellious “us vs. them,” let’s go sniff some glue attitude. Thank god they’re still inspiring kids decades after. Everyone needs a place to be where they belong.
Thanks, Johnny. We couldn’t have done it without you.
PS: James and Haras? If you’re reading this, sorry if it’s embarrassing. Actually, I’m not sorry at all.