Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, Punk Rock Edition, where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Punk rock started in 1976 on New York’s Bowery, when four cretins from Queens came up with a mutant strain of blitzkrieg bubblegum. The revolution they inspired split the history of rock & roll in half. But even if punk rock began as a kind of negation — a call to stark, brutal simplicity — its musical variety and transforming emotional power was immediate and remains staggering.

The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens in 1974. They are often cited as the first true punk rock group. Despite achieving only limited commercial success initially, the band was highly influential in the United States, South America, and the United Kingdom.

Onstage, they were the personification of unity – even family. The four men dressed the same –in leather motorcycle jackets, weathered jeans, sneakers – had the same dark hair color, shared the same last name. They seemed to think the same thoughts and breathe the same energy. They often didn’t stop between songs, not even as bassist Dee Dee Ramone barked out the mad “1-2-3- 4” time signature that dictated the tempo for their next number. Guitarist Johnny Ramone and drummer Tommy Ramone would slam into breakneck unison with a power that could make audience members lean back, as if they’d been slammed in the chest. Johnny and Dee Dee played with legs astride, looking unconquerable. Between them stood lead singer Joey Ramone – gangly, with dark glasses and a hair mess that fell over his eyes, protecting him from a world that had too often been unkind – proclaiming the band’s hilarious, disturbing tales of misplacement and heartbreak. There was a pleasure and spirit, a palpable commonality, in what the Ramones were doing onstage together.

Founded in New York City in 1974, the Ramones cultivated a simple three-chord sound that became the foundation of punk rock. Played at a blistering tempo, frequently lasting little more than two minutes, and with catchy, often willfully inane lyrics (so stupid they were smart, according to some critics), Ramones songs such as “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” and “I Wanna Be Sedated” contrasted sharply with the complex, carefully orchestrated mainstream rock of the era. In ripped jeans and black leather jackets, the Ramones made their reputation with almost-nonstop touring and energetic live performances, notably at New York City’s CBGB club. Their tour of England in 1976 proved a major inspiration for the punk movement in Britain, where they enjoyed greater commercial success than at home. Influenced by the rebelliousness of their contemporaries the New York Dollsand by 1960s pop music (especially bubblegum and surf music), the Ramones brought their back-to-basics approach to such albums as their eponymous debut (1976) and Rocket to Russia (1977). With a shifting lineup, they continued to record and perform into the 1990s, disbanding in 1996. In 2002 the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2011 they received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

The Ramones “I Wanna Be Sedated”

Joey Ramone came up with the idea for this song after he burned himself with hot water and had to be treated at a hospital. Ramone would inhale steam from a kettle before concerts to help clear his nasal passages.

The chorus, where Ramone sings about “Nothing to do” and “Nowhere to go,” was inspired by their 1977-78 tour when they ended up in London around Christmas. It was their first time in the city, but it was pretty much shut down. Joey and Dee Dee stayed in their hotel and watched movies.

For Johnny Ramone’s guitar solo, he plays the same note 65 times in a row. Very punk.

This was the first song that Marky Ramone recorded with the band (he took over on drums for Tommy Ramone, who stayed on as a producer). He says the song was completed very quickly in the studio, and his part took just two takes. Regarding the musical inspiration for the song, he explained in an interview: “We always loved the ’60s groups: The Kinks, The Who, The Beatles, The Stones, Dave Clark Five, etcetera. And we loved what was done by The Searchers, a band from the ’60s from part of that British Invasion. So we attempted to do our way of doing it, our style, which came out great.”

The song has been used in a number of movies and TV shows. They include:

Movies:
Carpool (1996)
Detroit Rock City (1999)
Daddy Day Care (2003)
Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003)
The Lather Effect (2006)
Terminator Genisys (2015)

TV Shows:
Gilmore Girls (2002 – “Application Anxiety”)
The West Wing (2003 – “The Long Goodbye”)
Cold Case (2005 – “Blank Generation”)
South Park (2007 – “Guitar Queer-o”)
ER (2007 – “Blackout”)
Constantine (2014 – “The Devil’s Vinyl”)

Ten years after this song was first released, the Ramones made a video for it. Directed by Bill Fishman, it’s one continuous shot of the band sitting at a table while various characters try to distract them. Fishman would later direct the group’s video for “Pet Sematary.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Punk rock as we know it was officially born in 1976 when New York City’s very own Ramones dropped their debut album, Ramones, on an unsuspecting public. Life would never be the same! I remember first seeing the album cover advertised in Circus magazine and being drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Stark, uncompromising attitude in a black and white photograph, the cover looked simultaneously intimidating and inviting. These guys looked as much like a gang as a rock and roll band, and it excited me. It made me want to hear what they sounded like, and when I finally did, I became a fan for life. Ramones stripped away all the excess elements of rock music and distilled it to its raucous core…a handful of basic chords, melodic hooks that stuck in your brain, and crazy lyrics which covered topics mostly unexplored by anyone at that time. All four members of the band took the last name Ramone, cementing the gang/family connection, making it easy to remember Joey (vocals), Johnny (guitar), Dee Dee (bass), and Tommy (drums). A handful of songs from this landmark release remain punk rock classics for all eternity; Beat On The Brat, Judy Is A Punk, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, 53rd And 3rd, and the immortal Blitzkrieg Bop. For the most part, the songs are delivered at breakneck speed (the entire record clocked in at 28 minutes) and are free of guitar solos or any other self indulgent forms of technique. Ramones is pure. Ramones is fun. Ramones is immortal. Hey Ho, Let’s Go!

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind