It is nearly 2 A.M. I am sitting in a hotel room in Nashville, Tennessee and Tommy Ramone is dead. It’s a strange feeling, one I can’t quite place. I don’t want to say I’m terribly sad, even though I probably am, because it doesn’t necessarily feel that way. In fact, the feeling I have the most is one like when you finish reading a book. You come to the last page, read the final words printed there, turn it and there is nothing else. Just blank pages. Emptiness.
The final member of the original Ramones line-up is gone. Admittedly, Tommy didn’t even play on my favorite Ramones album. But that is so far besides the point. Tommy played in and was instrumental in forming one of the most important bands not just in punk or rock and roll history, but music history. The Ramones had as much of an impact on music as The Beatles did (don’t even try to argue that), they were just never properly recognized for it. And Tommy Ramone played a huge part in that. The three records he did play on, Ramones, Leave Home, and Rocket to Russia are easily three of the most important records of the past century, if not of all time.
A musical landscape had The Ramones not existed would be a frightening, dystopian thing. The Ramones changed music forever. That’s a term thrown around often and attributed to a number of artists, but in reference to The Ramones, it is more than true.
The Ramones changed my life. The Ramones are a major contributing factor into what has shaped me into the person I am today. When I was first introduced to The Ramones when I was 11 years old, my life was immediately shifted down a new set of tracks. To this day they remain one of my favorite bands and are dearly important to me. The impact they’ve had on my life is immeasurable and nearly indescribable.
And now with Tommy gone, even though his stint in playing with the band wasn’t exceptionally long, it feels like a piece of myself is lost. A band that has influenced me for the past 11 years has lost all its original members, and with them I have lost something, too. What that something is, I don’t know. I’m not trying to build up to some emotional expose where I reveal why I’m feeling this way, because I honestly don’t know.
Something just feels like it’s missing. There’s a strange emptiness lingering inside me. A fragment of who I was and am has been chipped away, yet somehow, at the same time, reinforced and made stronger.
Four men that altered the course of music forever are now gone. And that hurts. It hurts a lot.
R.I.P. Dee Dee
And yeah, R.I.P. Johnny, too.
R.I.P. The Ramones
Thanks for everything.