It was in high school, Ninety-one,
Word of their slurs was first conferred,
My lust for girls had just begun,
Yet failure dogged me, sex deterred.
I turned to drugs in lieu of chicks
And smoked hash in a buddy’s van,
one Al McKee, we got our fix
Thrice daily through that four-year span.
A fan he’d been since Eighty-five,
Of those Ramones I’d not yet known,
For six long years his love’d survived,
Right ’till those days when we’d get stoned.
His older brother’d first passed on
His stack of tapes to young McKee,
Since they no longer turned him on;
He’d switched to Judas Priest, you see.
And so he gave the tapes a home,
Until he knew the songs entire;
Years later, as we fried our domes,
My first taste of those tunes transpired.
He threw the tape into the slat,
Cranked up the volume, knocked me flat,
To “beat on the brat, beat on the brat,
Beat on the brat with a baseball bat.”
I must admit, my first impression
Wasn’t kind, to say the least.
“This shit is just four-chord aggression,”
said I, the musical aesthete.
“If you want music, here’s the score,”
I said, and popped in Zeppelin Four
And cranked the Battle of Evermore;
Ungracious whore, he mimed a snore.
“Robert Plant sounds like a chick,”
he said. “This music’s got no balls;
I like lead singers who don’t suck dicks.”
I was appalled, the debate stonewalled.
In turn I offered sound defense,
That Robert Plant, while slightly gay,
At least sang lyrics that made sense,
And didn’t grunt in retard brays.
I sealed the deal by pulling out
My mimicked voice of Joe Ramone;
Though I overdid the drooling bouts,
I think it helped my point drive home.
An impasse reached, we struck a deal:
That since in fact he owned the van,
We’d listen to the damn Ramones,
Or else outside he’d make me stand.
And so it went for four long years,
While dimebags piled in the backseat trash,
And love for pot soon turned to beers,
And part-time jobs allowed more cash,
I sat, and smoked, and — yes — complained,
Every time he played his tapes;
“Rocket to Russia? Christ. Again?”
He drank the wine of my sour grapes.
“I’m telling you,” I’d always say,
“This four-chord shit’s a waste of time;
The sun rises and sets on Jimmy Page!
Your hatred of Zep is a two-victim crime!”
Judy is a Punk, Blitzkrieg Bop,
Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue,
Rock N’ Roll Beach, and Cretin Hop,
Until I was a Teenage Lobotomy too.
Then after four years straight of this,
One fateful day inside the van
Magee threw in a different disk;
(CDs’d replaced the tapes by then.)
“He’s Marilyn Manson,” Magee decried,
“He makes cursing at God a full-time career.”
“This guy sounds cool,” I then replied,
As Beautiful People assaulted my ears.
The Ramones tapes found their way, in time,
To the back of the van, where they nested unheard,
Those long one-note solos and crisp four-four times,
Abandoned like cadence in Joe Ramone’s slurs.
And soon it was college, and college rock crap,
Like Goo Goo Dolls, Blur, and gay Semisonic,
Here Robert Plant had taken the rap,
When clearly, for gayness, these guys were all on it.
But occasionally, listening to classic rock stations,
I’d hear the Ramones, and try to recall,
My past teenage angst, and sexual frustration,
And I realized the Ramones’d been there through it all.
And the radio’d blast a four-chord offensive,
Gabba gabba hey, sedate me right now.
And yes, with some distance and proper perspective,
The Ramones were far cooler than I’d once allowed.
Yes it was simple, and stupid as well,
With retarded lyrics about sniffing glue,
But nothing could change that these guys rocked like hell,
These four stupid horsemen, the clueless, the few.
Joey Ramone is, sadly, now gone,
With him the Ramones are also no more,
But while he was here, I’m glad that he taught me,
You dont need ten chords when you can do it with four.
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