Gabba Gabba Hey! There are just a few more days to check out the excellent Ramones exhibit at The Grammy Museum in downtown L.A..
The Ramones ruled my life in high school. It wasn’t just the loud, fast, no-guitar-solo appeal, it was something else. They were so focused, so dedicated, so committed to their sound and their look. They didn’t mess around with stage banter – they were working. They knew who they were and never apologized. They were hard as nails, but then pierced their own armor with thoughtful lyrics – even mushy, romantic lyrics. They were everything I longed to be – authentic, fearless, relentlessly cool.
So it was essential to check out The Grammy Museum’s exhibit Ramones & The Birth of Punk with Richard and Violet. Richard’s a huge fan too, but considers Road to Ruin a ‘later album’ so we were coming from slightly different perspectives.
This hand-typed band bio was one of my favorite items. Half the first paragraph is dedicated to saying what the Ramones are not. Awesome. Also, Dee Dee is the “acknowledged handsome one in the group.” Ha!
A full sized movie theater played an early Ramones concert good and loud, which was a really nice touch. It made me miss them in concert so much. Somewhere around three songs in, Violet asked us, “Is this the same song as the last one?” Ha ha.
The original Zippy the Pinhead costume! We accept you, we accept you – one of us!
This photo by Roberta Bayley is an outtake from their first album cover photo shoot – and look – they’re SMILING! Thank you so much for sharing this Ms. Bayley. It’s like getting in on a secret I desperately wanted to hear thirty years ago.
I had also never seen this photo by Danny Fields, their longtime manager who was baffled that they never broke out with commercial success.
Another incredible gem – Dee Dee Ramone – humungous musical icon and punk rock hero – got a 40% in Music in high school. Never listen to anyone.
There are so many glorious little nuggets to enjoy here, including a vocal booth where you can go in and sing Blitzkrieg Bop into a microphone with the music blaring. Fun! This is a must-see exhibit for Ramones fans. Go!
I also need to say that rest of The Grammy Museum is very cool as well. They have dozens of exhibits about recorded music through the decades with headphones everywhere to tune into rap, rock, samba, jazz, blues, country, pop – you name it, they’ve got it in their beautifully displayed archives.
They also have an interactive stage and recording area where Violet was mesmerized for a long time at the sample booth where she was creating a song by pressing all the preset buttons.
Once I came home from school and my dad was listening to one of my Ramones albums. I had recently borrowed his car to see them in New York again, and I guess he finally got curious. He said, “Hey, it’s like my 50s music – but just pared down and sped up.” He’s right, of course. I grew up with my dad’s 50s music and still love it.
But The Ramones weren’t only about high-speed heartbreak (She’s The One, I Remember You). They also wrote about dysfunctional families (We’re A Happy Family), boredom (I Just Wanna Have Something To Do, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue) rebellion (I Don’t Care, I’m Against It) – everything that was urgently important to me as a teenager dealing with divorce, bullying and growing up way too fast. I only hope Violet can find a musical inspiration for her hormone-driven teen years that speaks as loudly, and gives her as much solace.
Wanna read more? My friend Claire blogged about this show too : )