I loved this article in Rolling Stone about the Ramones. It reveals what we knew all along: it was never an act for the Ramones. They really were cretins, plagued with mental and physical ailments and limited intelligence. They were put on this earth to do one thing: Be the Ramones. They did that perfectly and then they all died.
My first Ramones album was the Phil Spector-produced End of the Century, which was an utterly bizarre intro to the band. “I guess this doo-wop shit is punk” I thought. Somehow I still became a fan.
I saw the Ramones two or three times in Miami in the late 80s. They were, of course, great.
But my biggest Ramones moment came during my junior or senior year of high school, when they did an in-store appearance at Yesterday & Today records. My friends and I raced to see them after school, expecting a long line. The place was empty. No one cared about the Ramones except us.
Joey, Johnny, Marky, and CJ (I think this was after Dee Dee quit) sat behind a table, looking pale and uncomfortable in their leather jackets under the glare of fluorescent lights. I nervously approached and asked them to sign the only slip of paper I had in my pocket—an admission slip from the school office; I’d been late that day.
All four Ramones looked over the slip and laughed. “He was tawdy! He was tawdy!” they said in their thick Queens accents. For a moment I felt like I’d joined their tribe of cretins.