Requiem for Joey R. (April 17, 2001)

At 49 he was a bit too old to be a Late Boomer himself, but I think we’re all feeling a bit older in the wake of the death of Joey Ramone last Sunday from lymphatic cancer. I first heard the Ramones when I borrowed their second LP, ‘Leave Home,’ from the Shelter Rock Public Library on Long Island (along with ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’; someone working at that library must have had good taste). I think it’s the only time I can accurately describe myself as being ‘blown away’ by a record, as when I heard ‘Leave Home’ I recognized a sound I’d been waiting my whole life to hear, even though until that very moment I hadn’t known I was missing that vital component. (It took me a while longer to warm up to the Pistols.)

In the coming years I saw the Ramones in concert many times, and I’ll just add this: it was impossible to be in a bad mood during one of their shows. I know the band ran its course a while back, and one might be tempted to ask if punk is now really dead, to which I’d have to answer: Nah. No way. So raise a glass of beer or Fresca or Tab or Diet Coke or even a protein shake to Joey (I’d stay away from that Carbona, though) and toast him with one of those eternal, profound verses: Gabba Gabba Hey, or LO-BO-TO-MY, or Hey Ho Let’s Go. (I’m waiting for the memorial statue at the corner of 53rd and 3rd.)

Seems like we’re losing a lot of the good ones too early, especially lately…(sigh)

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