Three Chords and the Truth: The Ramones, the Sex Pistols and the Clash Ask most punk fans to name their top ten punk songs or bands and. This week in , two monumental albums arrived: The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols and Ramones' Rocket to. A Chuck Berry interview to the punk fanzine Jet Lag in reveals his views on the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Ramones.
The Ramones. Their first album was pretty damn perfect. Add anything, remove anything, change anything and it would become worse. Every song, every word,. Three Chords and the Truth: The Ramones, the Sex Pistols and the Clash Ask most punk fans to name their top ten punk songs or bands and. A Chuck Berry interview to the punk fanzine Jet Lag in reveals his views on the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Ramones.
the Ramones recorded their debut album, bands from the Sex Pistols to We felt more of an affinity with them than we did Talking Heads or. The Ramones. Their first album was pretty damn perfect. Add anything, remove anything, change anything and it would become worse. Every song, every word,. sinope.info › /03 › read-chuck-berrys-reviews-of-the-clash-.
Their sounds collided in a rivalry that would escalate among fans into a decades-long, trans-Atlantic debate over which band pistols wore the ramones crown. But together, the Sex Pistols and Ramones would change the fundamental shape, ramones and style of pop culture. And on sex road, the Ramones spread that gospel from venue to venue—and those in the U. Around that time, the Pistols. Punk rock pistols born in the U. There was a lot to inspire the music on both sides of the pond.
Both nations and their iconic major cities were in a tough economic situation, and the Cold War was in full ramones and not going particularly well for the traditional Allies—the Vietnam War had ended just a few years earlier, with helicopters in full retreat from the U. The unemployment rate in England skyrocketed, and the Big Apple was impoverished and neglected after decades of mismanagement, rife with arson, blackouts, looting, drugs and the Son of Sam serial killings.
And its sound was invigorating and liberating. It was banned by the BBC -- what better press than that? It was a high-water mark. So, yes, it was all downhill from there. It sex and continues to influence generations of musicians and pistols and artists. Sex Biz premium subscriber content has sex to Billboard. To simplify subscriber access, we ramones temporarily disabled the password requirement. Don't show again.
But we actually rehearsed in January and began recording in February. We were trying to emulate their live sound, but also enhance it. It was more like the later Beatles albums where they started to use studio technology.
They sounded primitive and raw, but we used sophisticated techniques to achieve that. Richard Hell , Television, the Voidoids bass, vocals. Dee Dee Ramone was one of the people who showed up. They were really ramshackle. But they were already completely themselves. They were like The Three Stooges : always getting angry with each other, but in a funny way. You had to love them. They were completely uncompromising.
The songs were irresistible, even if they were about sniffing glue. It was all calculated, but at the same time they were total clowns.
Joey was really animated. You think of frontmen as these perfect specimens, but he was built like a preying mantis. Tommy was the conceptualist. Dee Dee wrote outrageous, timeless compositions. Johnny came up with that driving, monotonous guitar. And Joey had the sweet voice and that whole mutant vibe. The album was a revelation. You could see in them a desire to be a really big group.
Many of us believed that, because the music was so catchy, it would become the pop music of our era. Also, coming from New York was seen as very exotic. It gave us a mystical glamour. People thought the Ramones were stupid, but they were dazzlingly smart.
But I heard the songs everywhere. They were funny, smart and sassy. Their lyrics were so minimal yet pertinent. Punk was a time when it was OK not to have a boyfriend, to stomp the streets as a girl, fearless and full of life and creativity. Those songs were anthems. Joey was the perfect frontman: gangly, vulnerable, cartoon-like. Much later I met Dee Dee when I was making a video for a solo project of his.
It was very sweet hanging out with him. The songs were pure pop. The immediacy, simplicity and raucousness were like an injection of energy into those dull and oppressive times.
We saw them at local gigs and they seemed more approachable. But these bands were, in turn, influenced by Ramones. How many other people subsequently did photoshoots in front of a brick wall? How many T-shirts with their logo have been worn?
And what about knee-splits in jeans? There was a lot of respect between the Dictators and the Ramones. He listened to girl groups, surf bands — everything. Then they added their own weird thing. We cut our teeth in a club called the Coventry in Queens. We opened up for the New York Dolls there. Not long after, the Ramones formed, and we hit it off right away. We had that snotty, know-it-all attitude, this insane bunch of teenagers, thinking we were the coolest motherfuckers in the world.
We were connected to the Ramones in the same way that the Yardbirds were to Led Zeppelin. We influenced each other. We wrote words that were outrageous and pushed the envelope but were dumb in a smart way, just like the Ramones. They were the smartest dumb band you ever heard. Those July Ramones gigs were mesmerising. It was an assault on the senses. Joey and Dee Dee were really nice blokes.
Tommy was quiet. We got a copy of their album early on. This is good! We played it to death. We thought it would be a nice finger up to the Beatles. TW : They sounded better through a wall.
Up close, the noise was too overwhelming for the brain. Dee Dee was one of the most consummate artists I ever met: he was the main songwriter, wrote 20 songs for every one by Joey, and he was the most fun to hang out with because he always had a lot of ideas, some of them outrageous. So Chris Frantz, Dee Dee and I came back to the hotel, where we had these packets of dry-cleaning spot remover.
He poured the contents into a handkerchief and proceeded to sniff it like it was something delicious. We were appalled. He used to do these giant paintings of vegetables. I had to wipe down my drumkit after each gig because of the gobbing. I can remember looking from the side of the stage during their set and it was like a snowstorm — the British kids had these pints of lager and were spewing gob after gob on to the stage. We loved to watch the Ramones, but nobody wanted to follow them: the audience would be spent.
Touring was fun. But Johnny stayed on the bus. They were a little cleaner than us. It kicked off punk rock and started the whole thing—as well as us" p. As heard live, the album's 14 tracks featured their familiar down-strum distortion-soaked guitar sound over a bare-boned backbeat of rudimentary drum beats and driving bass. More decipherable and discernible for those unable to find nuance within the "blast of noise" of the live sound, though, was Joey—his deadpan vocal high in the mix—delivering succinct tales of teen tedium and disaffection.
McNeil had picked up on the "sarcastic" aspects of the band live, but few realized how hilarious their street slob gestures were in lyrical form p. Also attentive to the wit and wallop of the Ramones were the would-be punks of London, many of whom had attended the band's gig at The Roundhouse in Martin's, p. The Clash, the Buzzcocks, the Vibrators, the Adverts, Generation X, and the Lurkers are just some of the first-wave British punk bands that crafted "their" sound by listening closely to that album.
To MOJO, the debut Ramones release established "the whole blueprint for punk", one that "would soon be much aped" p. Even the Sex Pistols, whose songs were stylistically slower, were clearly inspired by the Ramones' lyrical parodies of youth boredom and negativity.
The band even made the Stooges' "No Fun" a staple of their live set. As much as Rotten has since tried to deny ever listening to or paying attention to the Ramones or to US punk in general , their influence—based on the musical evidence—is within earshot. Yet, whereas the Ramones address alienation and negation in a playful, almost child-like way, no such "light" creeps into the Pistols' humor.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in "God Save the Queen", the band's second and most successful single. Arriving on the eve of the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in , at a time when most citizens were content to withdraw into a time-warped delusion about when Britain was "Great", the Pistols slapped the nation back into facing up to the reality that its youth had been deposited in the "dustbin".
Highlighting the generational divide like no performer has since Bob Dylan in the early '60s, Rotten establishes an "us versus them" dichotomy, calling on his fellow youths to transcend the national "dreaming" that keeps them as "moron[s]" with "no future". Critics have often reasonably charged the band with nihilism, noting the song's closing "no future" mantra, but they ignore the "don't be told" sections of the song that call for action, dissent, and resistance.
It's very constructive because we're offering an alternative" Rotten , Picador, , p. This "alternative" was, as critic Greil Marcus observes, "Refusing the future society has planned for you" Wells, p.
And this refusal took myriad forms, both musical and social in nature. All of these successors share the Clash's lyrical approach, too, which starts with the question, "what's going on? On The Clash , released in April , are 14 songs of tower block rock, each containing "concrete" images of observation, each revolving around slogan-titles like "Garageland", "I'm So Bored with the U. But unlike on the Ramones and Sex Pistols debuts, where distorted guitar overdubs offer a full, fat sound, the instruments on The Clash are more subordinate to the singing, allowing the lyrics and ragged voices to be fore-fronted.
The guitars have more treble and less distortion, while the drums merely shuffle in the background. Some have criticized this production, finding the overall sound weak and limp compared to their peers'; but arguably by sounding less produced, cracks are not papered over by wall-of-sound guitars and an authentic amateur quality shines through, "a rough, rushed feel" of urgency, according to critic Stephen Wells p. A few exceptions aside, the punk groups that immediately followed the Ramones, Pistols, and Clash mostly offered variations on the songwriting principles and methods laid down by these three bands.
Moreover, even these three trailblazers produced little thereafter with the kind of tectonic shifts created by their groundbreaking debuts. The Ramones had their sound, style, and vision fully formed before they even entered a recording studio, and their releases and performances over the next 22 years reflect little willingness or desire to depart from that original model. A stronger case can be made for the Clash in regard to transcending punk in ; yet, despite the qualities of 's London Calling , it can hardly be called transformational.
Like the Sex Pistols in and then again in and , many punk bands have reformed in recent years, introducing new generations to that old school sound. Dismissive shouts of "sell out" and "flogging a dead horse" have met many of these efforts, but they also reflect a yearning that still exists for the kind of energy, force, and humanity too often lacking in contemporary rock and pop music.
If nothing else, these revival tours remind us of what punk proper both introduced and drove out. Critic Jon Savage pinpoints the keys to its legacy, arguing that "its original, gleeful negation remains a beacon.
History is made by those who say 'No' and punk's utopian heresies remain its gift to the world" p. Just as significant is the spirit of independence that punk set off, such that by , much of the most original and provocative music was being released on independent labels. Trapped on majors, the Sex Pistols and the Clash may not have walked that walk, but their songwriting assaults on their corporate bosses "EMI", "Complete Control" were still inspirational to their successors who vowed not to make the same mistakes.
That legacy of independence was far-reaching, too, as punk introduced a DIY mentality, not only to music making but to management, media, merchandizing, and image-making. In subsequent years and decades these ostracized constituencies have come to dominate and determine many of the detours punk has made both within and beyond music.
That social and artistic legacy is quite an achievement, considering its origins reside in a musical philosophy and practice that promised little more than three chords and the truth.
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