Today, just like you, I woke up to the tragic news that Tommy Ramone, the last surviving original member of the Ramones, has passed away at age 62 following treatment for bile duct cancer. Tommy was behind the kit for the legendary band from 1974-1978, and helped create some of the most influential music that we all love still to this day. They were loud before we knew what loud was, they were fast before thrash, and it’s still mind blowing to think of what they accomplished during their time on the scene.
When I was a teenager skateboarding around Atlanta, I always had punk in my ears, and the Ramones were definitely in my playlist at all times. As I quickly grew into the metal head I am today, the appreciation for GOOD punk has never left, and the Ramones are to thank for that. Back then I had no idea the impact that they had on the scene, but am grateful to realize it now. No matter if you’re a die hard metal fan or punk fan, we have the Ramones to thank for influencing some of our greats today.
One of those heavily influenced and inspired by punk music in his life is Lamb Of God‘s Randy Blythe. From his interviews and documentaries, we know he grew up on punk and it helped mold him into the metal icon that he is today. He took to his Instagram this morning and left a moving statement about Tommy and the Ramones‘ impact on the scene, and just like all of his posts, he absolutely nails it.
Randy Blythe: “The last original Ramone, Tommy Ramone has died, & with him the last of one of the main roots of all modern punk/hc/and metal as we know it today. The importance of the Ramones in the history of underground music cannot be overstated- before the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Black Flag and waaaaaaay before any speed/thrash metal band, the Ramones were blowing minds with LOUD, FAST, AGGRESSIVE music. Although to the calloused ears of modern youth who have grown up listening to crust punk/grind core/speed & thrash metal/and even some of the more aggressive music on commercial radio, the Ramones might sound like fast pop, at the time they started playing out in NYC at CBGB/Max’s Kansas City (1974) they were something that had never ever been seen or heard before. The first time my band played CBGB, I was completely emotionally overwhelmed- “Man, the FREAKING RAMONES started out here!” I thought as I stood on stage- I almost started crying. Without that band, the tempo of underground music would have never reached the speed that it has today- there were a bunch of glam bands & hippies at that time, & (yeeeech) disco was big- the Ramones came along & blasted everyone straight out of the water. No Ramones= no lamb of god, or any of the other music most fans of my band listen to. Metal existed, but it was not until punk rock kicked it right square in the ass with a combat boot that things got FAST & AGGRESSIVE. Tommy passed away from cancer yesterday in Queens, NYC, at the age of 62. Rest in peace, bro, & thank you for helping to create the music that changed and saved my life. #BEATONTHEBRATBEATONTHEBRATBEATONTHEBRATWITHABASEBALLBAT!!!!OOOOOOOHYEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHH,OHOHOOHHHHH!!!!!!”