It is a rare occasion indeed when a rock columnist can bury the hatchet-pen, and unequivocally sing the praises of a rising group with the potential for world-beating success. I sing today specifically of the Ramones, a neat, clean-cut group of young men--none could be more than 19--who hail from Forest Hills, New York. Forest Hills has spawned a great number of talented rock performers in its day--among them Sam the Sham and two of his Pharoahs, and two of the Four Seasons--but few of those people could boast the unique combination of sex appeal (good looks) and truly brilliant lyrics that these boys provide.
"Beat on the brat, beat on the brat, beat on the brat with a baseball bat, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah," the boys sing, and they really mean it, too.
Their legal names may be different things (Smith, Jones, Davidowitz, to wit) like yours and mine in real life; but in public, they all call themselves the Ramones, "because it's convenient," their manager told me. (I forgot to tell you--I interviewed them last week. Hot stuff, huh?)
One or another of the Ramones said the following to me or Laura during the interview last week:
1. "We decided to bring back rock and roll."
2. Some people go out and join the army, but we write violent lyrics instead."
3. "Maybe later we'll make films, but for now we'll just keep doing records."
4. "Our third album and our fifth will be greatest hits, to give the band a rest."
5. "Our lyrics are a bit violent and sick--we're engaged to writing sick songs."
Oh, enough of these interview transcripts. Let the boys sing for themselves, in a couple of excerpts from their songs:
1. "Now I wanna sniff some glue, now I wanna have something to do..."
2. "I'm a Nazi schatze, y'know I fight for fatherland..."
These Ramones, their manager informed me, were the recipients of this year's English "Rock Poet of the Year" and "Lyricist of the Year" awards. This is what he told me.
The Ramones were in town last week, performing at the Rathskeller to enthusiastic crowds (of people), many of whom looked as if they had been blown off in the shop. Blown off in the shop.
Don't hold your breath, but they'll be back...After their Eurasian tour. And the Midwest.
As for me, I think I'm going to take a few weeks off. Before my tour of New Zealand, you know. Diana Ross is at the Music Hall until the 14th of this month. At night. Nights work if you can get it. (See display ad on p. 13).
John Lincoln Wright and the Sour Mash Boys--9 pm tonight at the Rexicana Ballroom in Marshfield. The same place I told you to go to last time. Go there again.
Dan Fogelberg, Bonnie Raitt, Marshall Tucker, and Bruce Springsteen. All will be in town soon. Sit by the bulletin board at Out of Town News until you freeze for all I care.
No more of this "later" stuff, --Bernie from Bayonne the new Rock columnist