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July 19, 1978 - Image 34

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-19

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Page 6-Wednesday, July 19, 1978-The Michigan Daily
The Ramones
By R. J. SMITH dummy who won't admit he's
Hey, you know, there are puzzles,
bizarre, twisted goings-on out there - THE RAMONES are a grow
and I don't mean of the Loch Ness sort "punk group," please - who
- that are scary, yet fascinating. New York. What they look lil
Every year, it is estimated over 15 to describe; something like
million women are beaten by the men thugs you might see around t
they are living with; since 1976 more of William and State Street, v
than 32,000 men and women have been night. And if there were a m
jailed, kidnapped, or shot by the indicating individual levels of
military junta in Argentina; in they would ring all the bells.
Rhodesia, the infant mortality rate for For instance, take the lyr
blacks is 300 per 1,000, fifteen times the song "Teenage Lobotomy." N
rate for whites. with the sentiment express
" Freddie Silverman and John older song entitled "Gimm
Davidson prosper in Hollywood Hills, Shock Treatment," the boys s
while Anatoly Shcharansky receives 13 Slugs and snails are after m
years hard labor asa political prisoner. DDT keeps me happy
" America 2-Night gets cancelled, NowIguess I'll have to tell
while Three's Company gets media That Igot no cerebellum.
coverage fit for a king. Gonna get my Ph.D.

up - not a
hail from
ke is hard
a gang of
the corner
ery late at
achine for
ics to the
Fot content
sed in an
e Gimme

ock East
at Dooley's in East Lansing (a place
much nicer than Ann Arbor's). Two
things became obvious after watching
the performance: the "punks" in East
Lansing don't know how to pogo; new
drummer and all, the Ramones are as
much fun, and almost certainly as ex-
citing, as any group currently touring.
ONSTAGE, THEY are breathtaking.
In their sets they run straight through a
half dozen numbers with only enough

I'm a teenage lobotomy.
SIGH. MUST I go on? "Bad time in-between for Johnny Ramone to
craziness" is everywhere on the globe, IN A WAVE of what is sometimes shout "1-2-3-4!" And considering the
in classrooms, offices, apartments, and labeled rock minimalism (although feeble dancing on the dance floor, with
within your cranium. they asked what minimalism meant on die-bards lasting maybe three songs,
Myself, I'm an optimist. Everybody their last album), the Ramones create the fact that Joey Ramone wore his
means well, and basically we all just stunning murk, and seem to shuck leather jacket throughout the show is
want to have a real good time. Thus, I pretension effortlessly. And since it is truly remarkable. (Almost as
think positively - we're not cruel, it's pretension which obscures underlying remarkable a feat as one of the roadies
just that everybody's stupid. This is not corruption (for our purposes, identical sticking his head into a speaker to listen
by choice, mind you, but by necessity - with dumbness), the Ramones are the for distortion. If one were deaf, he could
if we are doomed to chase after those smartest dopes around. At the very feel a concert by the Ramones through
ideals of "ethics" and "progress" least, they aren't the smug cretins that the floor.)
passed on to us, then a lot of truly one generally hears on the radio. Visually everybody has their
comical things like violence and mad- Monday evening, backed by Ann Ar- favorite Ramone to watch, and my
ness are bound to blossom. This is bor's own Destroy All Monsters (which favorite is Joey, the singer. As the show
dumbness as social by-product - and is generally a mixed blessing), the mop wears on, he virtually hangs onto the
the only thing truly bone-chilling is the tops played before an excitable crowd microphone, lest his stamina fail and

the band sonically knock him off the
stage. With his eyes clamped shut and
his fist clenched tightly around the
microphone, Joey is both a
phenomenon and a freak of rock deter-
mination. One can marvel at his
strength and stamina, but I don't think
there are too many who would want to
be that crazy.
BEHIND JOEY is the newest
Ramone, an un-named drummer filling
in for the departed Tommy (perhaps it
should be noted that although they all
claim Ramone as a surname, it is un-
certain if they are siblings). Looking
like a coneheaded Donald Fagen, he
delivered an ultra-simple, rock-steady
backbeat that occasionally was lost in
the shuffle, as in the temporarily
arhythmic "Teenage Lobotomy."
In a way, to see the Ramones play
for, say, ten minutes is to have ex-
perienced their entire show. There are
no surprises, and one can only take so
much pulverization from a guitar. But,
ultimately, they are somehow hypnotic,
perhaps not tranquilizing, but purging.
And no matter how many times Johnny
calls out "1-2-3-4!", it's still more than
enough to make you want to jump.
In rapid-fire, the group plowed
through most of their popular tunes,
giving such songs as "Sheena is a Punk
Rocker," "Gimme Gimme Shock
Treatment" (one of the best of the
evening - with Joey banging on his
skull for emphasis), and "I'm Gonna
Be a Good Boy Now" a faster-than-ever
treatment. There were also a few new
songs, although it was difficult to tell
because they virtually never in-
troduced them. One in particular, en-
titled "I Don't Want You," was grand.
AND OF COURSE, there was the
smattering of oldies, including versions
of "Surfin' Bird" and "Do You Want To
Dance." It is the whole idea of recor-
ding "Surfin' Bird" that encapsulates
the conceptual aura of the Ramones.
"Bird" is a truly absurd song:
lyrically, it is "Well, everybody's heard
about the bird/bird bird bird/bird is the
word/don't you know about the
bird/well everybody knows that the
bird is the word," seasoned at the end
with some meaningful "papa-ooo-mau-
mau's. And yet it is played with as much
stupid frenzy and emotion as anything
else they play - to them, this is
The Ramones are serious about a
whole lot of things. They sing about pin-
heads, head-bangers, glue sniffers,
junkies and similar funstuff, all with an
incredibly involving kinetic fury. And
within their music is a destruction of
values and morals, along with a com-
parable trashing of the rock tradition of
growing musical complexity.
The Ramones, at their best, do songs
that are outrageous, simply
hilarious .. . and yet frightening as
hell, for their reality.
We're a happy family
Me mom and daddy
Sitting here in Queens
Eating refried beans
Gulpin'down thorazines
We're in all the magazines
We ain't got no friends
Our troubles never end
No Christmas cards to send
Daddy likes men.

It generally worries me that the
Ramones rock so fiercely, because
their lyrics sometimes slide by. On the
other hand, if that's the case, nobody
was complaining Monday evening in
Lansing. Either it's a massive case of
'Teenage Lobotomy," or . .. well, I'll
The Ramones were in East Lansing Monday night, where they played to a semi-appreciati edience at Doo ss leave that up to. somebodylwho thinks
- -. hes'no dumamy.

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