Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tommy Ramone (1949-2014) & Show # 519

On July 11th, 2014 Tommy Ramone (real name Thomas Erdeyi) passed away due to complications with bile duct cancer, he was 65. Best known as the drummer of the influential punk band the Ramones from 1974-1978, Tommy helped to define the band’s early sound that has since become vastly influential on music. Prior to playing in Ramones, Tommy played guitar in a high school garage rock band in 1966 with John Cummings (later known as Johnny Ramone). The band was known as The Tangerine Puppets and Tommy actually played guitar in the group, Johnny played bass. The group split up in 1967. Tommy reconnected with Johnny during the embryotic stages of the Ramones. Starting as a three-piece band, with Joey Ramone on drums, Dee Dee Ramone bass/vocals and Johnny Ramone on guitar, Tommy was initially supposed to manage the group.  After Joey put down his drumsticks to take up vocals, Tommy Ramone stepped in to become the group’s drummer. Tommy played drums on Ramones first three albums (Ramones, Leave Home and Rocket To Russia) and would also serve as co-producer on those albums. He assisted in producing 1978’s Road To Ruin, the first album to feature Marky Ramone on drums. He also has production credits for the band's live album, It's Alive and 1984’s Too Tough To Die. It's Alive was recorded in 1977, but not released until 1979.

Tommy left the Ramones to focus more on his interest in music production. He apparently first worked as an assistant engineer at the age of 18 on Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies album in 1970. Tommy would also produce The Replacements 1985 album Tim, Neurotica by Red Kross in 1987 and a few others such as Talking Heads “Love --> Building On Fire” single in 1977. Tommy also released an album as Uncle Monk a blue grass country group in 2006, featuring Claudia Tienan a guitarist, bassist and vocalist that was formerly in The Simplistics. While he has been involved in music production, he is still known as one of the four founding members of the Ramones, all of which now have unfortunately passed away. Tommy’s drum style mixed with the Ramones brand of music that would later be called punk music, but the music also featured strong melodies and can be traced back to influences of 60s pop music, surf music and 70s proto punk.

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1975, Tommy described the band’s sound, which was drastically differed during a period of over indulgent mainstream music: "Our music is an answer to the early Seventies when artsy people with big egos would do vocal harmonies and play long guitar, solos and get called geniuses. That was bullshit. We play rock & roll. We don't do solos. Our only harmonics are in the overtones from the guitar chords." Although the Ramones did not receive mainstream commercial success during their time, the effects of their loud, fast and abrasive songs that are attached with catchy melodies are still heard throughout music today.

Saturday Night Play List:

1. The Gears - Don’t Be Afraid To Pogo
2. The Kids - Do You Wanna Know
3. Zig Zags - The Fog
4. C’mon - Easier Said Than Done
5. Mark Lofgren - Pocketful Of Bliss
6. Vibrant Fiasco - Lizard LIps
7. The Walkabouts - Got No Chains
8. Anagram - Evil
9. Le Butcherettes - Tonight
10. Fakes - Sabrina
11. Walrus - Glam Returns
12. The Bell Peppers - Campfire Waltz
13. The Specials - Do Nothing
14. The English Beat - Click Click
15. Holy Wave - Surfin’ MTA
16. Sixpence - In The Building
17. Inexpensive Handmade Look - What Good Is Up?
18. The Pretty Things - You Don’t Believe Me
19. The Flaming Lips - Can’t Let It Go
20. Indian Wars - Bullfrog
21. The Standells - Try It
22. Ugly Ducklings - Just In Case You Wonder
23. Light Bulb Alley - Eye In The Sky
24. Lost Patrol - Sellin’ My Mind
25. Elvis Costello - I'm Not Angry
26. Undertones - I Told You So
27. Protex - Listening In
28. Nirvana - Sappy
29. Ramones - Swallow My Pride
30. Ramones - Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
31. Ramones - Teenage Lobotomy

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 26. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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