Ramones and Dolly Party in the same sentence

Well, it’s about time! The Ramones are set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys in February. Other recipients include Dolly Party, Julie Andrews, and The Kingston Trio.

The Ramones changed everything. They were the godfathers of American punk rock who made CBGBs in New York famous. Johnny Ramone’s buzzsaw guitar sound developed the three or four power chord style that other punk rock bands still emulate to this day. Furthermore, the band stripped rock ‘n roll to its bare bones, took out all of the fat, long-winded guitar solos, and slick production and produced tracks no longer than two or three minutes.

This band is also a reoccurring name in my poetry chapbook, Front Man. In fact, the first poem of the book is about hearing The Ramones for the first time.

The First Listen

Opening chords blast,

 rattling pictures on my wall.

Snare and booming bass echo

louder than gunfire.

The singer shouts,

Hey Ho! Let’s Go!

I ball my fist,

dream I mosh and slam,

shred my jeans,

wear a black motorcycle jacket,

like the four Ramones

posed on that first album cover.

I see myself at Café Roach,

hanging with people father calls freaks, burnouts,

hair red, green or blue,

safety pins poking through clothes.

Johnny Ramone’s power

chord formula could be a map

to the stage, where I’d rise up,

spray the crowd

with machine gun speed riffs.

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