...busting up my brains for the words

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Ramones live on

I was lucky enough to have this evening free to attend the screening tonight of a documentary film on the Ramones at the Suburban World theater. It's called Ramones: End Of The Century.
I'd had a chance to see this movie once before, but I was tired or wasn't in the mood. But it's copped some buzz and tonight I made a point of catching it. Imagine my surprise when I learned that admission was free due to a sponsorship from Toyota Motors, and they had a keg of cold ale on tap gratis, as well.
Lemme get this straight. It's 98 frickin' degrees outside. And this documentary on the greatest punk rock band of all time is free and free beer is provided and it's all in an air-conditioned theater just two blocks from my house? I'd have to be nuts to not be there!

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It brought me back to my youth and reminded me who I was then and who I still am today. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud at this screening. Looking around, I was one of the very, very few who actually lived through the Ramones in the 1970's. That was a bit of a surprise to me. I fully expected to run into some old faces from those days. Nope. Guess they didn't know there was free beer.

The movie is competently made. I learned a thing or two I didn't know before. Such as, DeeDee's girlfriend, Connie. I didn't know squat about her, and the movie told of what an awful person she was. But there was nada about Johnny's innovative amplifier setup which made his guitar sound so big. That was a key element of the Ramones and the film was clueless about it. During a Q&A session after the screening, I brought up the issue and the filmmaker did not know what I was talking about.

It's sadly ironic that only the drummers of this band survive to this day. Tommy left the band after the 3rd album, Rocket To Russia.
Even in their formation, the Ramones had difficulty finding someone to play the drums. That's how Tommy got enlisted. He was their "advisor" at the time and the drummer who was to audition that day didn't show up. So Tommy played. After Tommy left the sticks, the band took up Marky and Richie.

Now the drummers are the only survivors of the band. In case you don't know already, I love the Ramones. They were the Beatles to me. They showed me that simplicity is powerful, that heart goes further than technical ability and most of all, they showed me that individuality and confidence in one's self are things to embrace.

Update: Oh yes, and they taught me another thing. Brevity.


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