Archive for February, 2013


#33: “Ramones” by the Ramones

Ramones

My first experience with the Ramones was when I was in high school marching band.  We never played any Ramones songs as a band, but the sousaphone section, especially Kissyfur and the Real American Hero, thought it was amusing to play “I Wanna Be Sedated” whenever there was a down moment in rehearsal.  Actually, “I Wanna Be Sedated” sounds pretty good on a sousaphone, and it kind of became a running joke throughout our senior year.  Good job, tuba players!

Anyhow, my next experience with the Ramones was about 10 years later, and it wasn’t really with the Ramones at all…instead it was with a local band called the Dead Schembechlers.  See, its kind of hard to explain the Dead Schembechlers…they are sort of a fake band, but not really.  And the whole thing is sort of an ongoing joke, but not really.  Basically, the Schembechlers are 4 die hard Ohio State football fans (2 from the local band Watershed, 1 from the band Twin Cam, and a radio DJ) who play one concert every couple of years on the night before the OSU/Michigan game.  They dress like Woody Hayes and play punk rock knock-offs with the lyrics changed to become either pro-OSU or anti-scUM anthems.  It’s a beautiful thing, but it only happens once every couple of years.  And to maintain the joke, the band members have created characters on stage (like the Ramones, they have all adopted some variation on the name Bo), and when on stage they never break character and in real life they never admit to being that character (for example, at Watershed shows Colin and Joe will sometimes refer to their “friends”, the legendary Dead Schembechlers).  Like I said, its a beautiful thing.

At any rate, despite the play on the name of the Dead Kennedys, the Ramones seem to be the Schembechler’s biggest influence.  Their symbol is a parody of the Ramone’s eagle symbol (the Schembechler’s is a skeletal eagle holding buckeye leaves) and two of their album titles have parodied the Ramones: “Rocket to Ann Arbor” instead of “Rocket to Russia” and “Rodriquez to Ruin” instead of “Road to Ruin” (the latter even parodies the cover replacing the cartoon images of the Ramones with cartoon images of the Schembechlers).  But most importantly, the Schembechler’s most recognizable song is a version of “Blitzkrieg Bop” changed to become “Buckeye Bop” with the “Hey ho, let’s go!” lyric altered to “Hey ho, fuck Bo!” (a direct assault on Ohio’s greatest traitor, Bo Schembechler).  I first heard the Schembechlers play this song along with the rest of their “hits” at a small show at Oldfield’s On High (now Kobo) in the fall of 2004.  The next year, they had become a local sensation and they played a much larger show at Little Brothers (now defunct).  The year after that, OSU was ranked #1 and scUM was ranked #2 and hype for the game was at an all time high.  The Schembechlers were scheduled to play a sold-out show at the Newport Music Hall when tragedy struck…Bo Schembechler was in Columbus for the game and he died the morning of the show.  That’s right…Bo Schembechler died on the day the Dead Schembechlers were scheduled to play their biggest show ever.  Well, the show must go on, and they played anyway, although they did soften the chorus of “Buckeye Bop” to “O-H-I-O” (try it…it fits) and they vowed to changed the band name to The Bastard Sons of Woody (they did for a little while, but it didn’t stick).  Oh yeah, and OSU beat scUM 42-39 the next day, and to this day I believe that much like the end of Return of the Jedi, the ghost of Bo Schembechler repented his ways and joined the ghost of Woody to bring prosperity to Columbus and blight to Ann Arbor (while we didn’t win a national title, OSU continued to win Big Ten titles for the next several years while scUM lost to Appalacian State and Toledo and  Lloyd Carr retired, which led to 3 dismal seasons under Rich Rodriquez).

Rocket to Ann ArborRodriquez to Ruin

But yeah, the Ramones.  Fun album.  The first copy I bought on Amazon had the wrong CD in the case, so the seller gave me a refund and I bought this copy for $7.97.  It’s a dreaded post-2000 remaster, but it sounds good.  I appreciate how simple these songs are, and I wouldn’t expect the birth of punk rock to be any other way.  And the lyrics are hilarious.  Good stuff.

Other lists: “Blitzkrieg Bop” is #92 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Johnny Ramone is #28 on the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists and the Ramones are #26 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.

My favorite track: “Blitzkrieg Bob”

Honorable mention: “Havana Affair”

Quote: “I used to make a living, man, pickin’ the banana.  Now I’m a guide for the CIA — Hooray for the USA!”

Let It Bleed

 

I think mi madre’s favorite response to me whenever I would as for something as a child was “You can’t always get what you want”.  I say as a child, but I think it continued into my teenage years, and maybe into my adult life as well.  At least it kept me from being spoiled…too badly.  At any rate, this is my second Rolling Stones album and I bought this older edition off of Amazon for $8.93 because I did not want to buy the most current remastered edition for $9.99 at Best Buy.  Like I’ve said before, I am not a fan of any post-mp3 era remasters, so I was happy to get this edition.

The only song I knew on this album other than “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was “Gimm[i]e Shelter”, as that song was featured in the original Rock Band game and I spent quite a bit of time trying to 5-star the drum track (dear Harmonix: why are your drum tracks always so hard?).  I guess I also knew “Country Honk”, but I knew it in its more popular single version, “Honky Tonk Women”.  And “Love In Vain” is a Robert Johnson song I had heard on “The Complete Recordings” boxset, but the Rolling Stone’s version sounds completely different.  But yeah, as always the Stones are a fun listen.  I was surprised at how graphic the lyrics were on the song “Let It Bleed” (“yeah, we all need someone we can cream on”), and I hear a lot of sounds that definitely shaped the direction one of my all-time favorite bands, Guns ‘N Roses, would take on the Illusion albums.  The Stones were the original bad boys of rock ‘n roll, and this record certainly shows it.

Other lists: “Gimm[i]e Shelter” is #38 and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is #101 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time.

My favourite track: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

Honourable mention: “Gimm[i]e Shelter”

Quote: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you just might find you get what you need”

Bringing It All Back Home

 

I remember seeing the video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues” when I was a kid and thinking it was funny.  I can’t remember if they actually showed it on MTV, or if it was on a video that mi madre had.  Either way, I liked it even at an early age, and for just about my entire life I have always noticed when the vandals have stolen the handles in public places.  And I always watch my pawking metaws too.  Anyhow, I was excited to see that song and “Maggie’s Farm”, a song mi madre would always quote when she was frustrated with her job, on this album when I found it for $3.99 (minus my 10% teacher discount) at the Half-Price Books on High Street (fitting, eh?) north of Clintonville.

 

So this was Dylan’s first electric album, and apparently there was a bit of controversy when Dylan first went electric?  Yeah, I know that’s an understatement…the man got booed at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 for playing electric.  It’s a shame if people missed out on this album back in the day because of the electric/acoustic controversy because this album has some of Dylan’s best stuff.  Lyrically, he is at times laugh out loud funny (“Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream”), witty (“Subterranean Homesick Blues”), defiant (“Maggie’s Farm”), tender (“Love Minus Zero/No Limit”), dismissive (“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”), and of course, political (“It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”).  And the first half is electric and the second half is acoustic, so everybody should be happy right?

Other lists: “Mr. Tambourine Man” is #107 (funny that the Byrd’s version ranks higher at #79) and “Subterranean Homesick Blues” is #340 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

My favorite track: “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (it might be my favorite Dylan song)

Honorable mention: “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” (only Dylan could write stuff like this and have it still make sense)

Quote: “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”