After 17 years, the Ramones continue to influence many a band

April 05, 1991|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,Sun Pop Music Critic

The Ramones

When: April 6, 8 p.m.

Where: Hammerjacks, 1102 S. Howard St.

Tickets: $8.50

Call: 659-7625

Over the years, a lot of bands have paid homage to the Ramones. On occasion it arrives as direct tribute -- a song dedication, a lyrical reference, a cover version -- but usually it's just a simple acknowledgement of the fact that the Ramones invented punk rock.

Put that way, it may seem a fairly narrow debt. After all, only punks were influenced by punk rock, right?

Wrong. Because the group reinvented the whole notion of harder-faster-louder rock and roll, the Ramones changed the lives of hundreds of rock stars, from Billy Idol to Nikki Sixx.

Which is why singer Joey Ramone feels that "all the hot bands are influenced by the Ramones, whether they be Metallica or Faith No More or Jane's Addiction or Guns N' Roses. Because we were originators of a style that everybody's copied."

Even so, Joey -- who, like bandmates Johnny, C. Jay and Marky, has assumed "Ramone" as a last name -- was pleased beyond words when he heard that Motorhead had recorded a song called "Ramones." As he puts it, "That's like the highest honor. When I heard about the song, to me it was almost as if John Lennon had written a song about the Ramones, you know?"

How so? "Because I'm a really big Motorhead fan, and I really respect those guys," he says. "They were always true to themselves, and true to their roots. And [Motorhead singer] Lemmy is one of the coolest people I've ever met. He's a unique individual, a real character and real colorful. And he really is what rock and roll is all about -- uniqueness and innovativeness and originality and color, you know? I mean, nowadays, everybody's a businessman."

Not the Ramones, though. After 17 years, things keep getting "better and better" for the band. "And we don't really try to do anything to [change], you know what I mean?" says Joey. "We're just how we are naturally.

"I think that's basically what it's all about," he adds. "The idea is to have a vision -- not try to be trendy or hip, but to be unique. And people see it, 'cause we're in our third generation now of audience and fans. It's great! To me, the Ramones is the best therapy in the world."

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