In Loving Memory Of TOMMY RAMONE
I said R I P Tommy before I went to bed
Then I woke up with a whole bigger, more intense feeling.
I knew Tommy since the beginning of the Ramones-Dictators friendship,
Which was a great one.
We were contemporaries, fans of each other’s bands.
Tons of love and respect. Musically, cut out of a very similar piece of cloth.
Tommy was a very quiet man. We were complete opposites. REALLY!
A few years back, at the YIVO Institute of Yiddish culture in Manhattan, Tommy, myself, Chris Stein, and Lenny Kaye shared a stage, discussing Punk Rock and the Jewish connection. 240 people showed up to hear us Punk Jews opinionatin’ n’ shit.
In all the years I have known the Ramones, Tommy and Joey are the ones I felt closest with. Joey was a real pal, who I hung with. DD a pal from a distance. Depending which DD showed up that day, we were close or not.
Johnny, I always got along with. His surly rep, and vibe of wanting to be left alone and controlling his environment always kept me at arms length. That was ok.I KNEW we had YANKEE love in common. I always depended on THAT as a conversation opener. Again, much mutual respect.
I never had a lot of communication with Tommy. I did not know him well, as in being real close, good friends. But since day one, back in ‘76 or so, every single time I ran into Tommy, or shared some Punk Rock stage with him, there was never anything but good vibes. We were glad to see each other, with the silent acknowledgment that he and I shared something special on this planet (besides our January 29th birthdays)
I actually (Jeez, I hope THIS don’t make me MORE enemies!) always thought of Tommy as “The Normal Ramone”…Quiet, not involved in the bullshit, got out IN TIME..I could be wrong about this summation, but it’s how I thought of him anyway.
A coupla’ tree years ago, my family rented a house near Woodstock, NY…On a day we were to drive back to the city so I could record my radio program, we were gonna stop in the town of Phoenicia first, to see Tommy and his woman do their bluegrass thing.
The skies opened up with rain, never letting up, and we opted for a straight ride to the city. I never got to see Tommy’s bluegrass band.
Tommy died in a manner I think was true to his quietness, his private ways. I had no idea he was sick, or in a hospice.
The thing that got to me today, the thing I spoke of at the top of this writing, was bigger than Tommy. Bigger than the Dictators. Bigger than the Ramones.(But not bigger than the BEATLES!)
It is my/our mortality
There are a fixed amount of experiences we will all have in our lifetime.
As I grow older, I lose more and more of the people that were part of my experiences. In this case, one of the great experiences of my life. Music, Punk Rock, CBGB, The Ramones.
Four Original RAMONES. For my MONEY, THEE RAMONES. PERIOD.
A whole section of my life, GONE. Now a memory. Like all experiences, they turn into a memory.
But OH!, what a great memory it is.
Thank you for leaving the world the legacy, the JOY, known as THE RAMONES BODY OF MUSIC, Tommy me boy.
I’ll see ya’ up there, uh, wait, maybe down there….
REST IN PIECE my friend.
12 JULY 2014